Once again, a Bernie Sanders rally was so popular it produced an overflow crowd. About 12,000 people RSVP-ed for his appearance at the University at Buffalo on Monday, surpassing the venue's capacity and leaving about 3,000 ardent fans standing in the rain. But, those who couldn’t fit inside didn’t totally miss out. Before his speech, Sanders spent a few minutes addressing his outdoor supporters.
The reporters at WBEN NewsRadio 930 were covering the event and noted how different a climate it was from when President Obama appeared at the school two years ago.
I “walked right in when the president was here,” noted newsman Brian Mazurowski.
The reporter had the same equipment as last time, except this go around security had dogs sniffing their belongings in addition to secret service searching through attendees’ bags.
“For a sitting president, you’d think the security would be tougher,” Mazurowski said.
The atmosphere, he said, was “as loud if not louder” as when President Obama was here and the line was longer.
Several people spoke in support of Sanders before he reached the stage, including a Black Lives Matter activist and a UB professor, which the WBEN journalist defined as "strange." So much for a "fair and balanced education," he noted.
Sanders' UB rally was also notable for who wasn't there: protesters.
A huge crowd inside and outside of Alumni Arena at UB. One thing I haven't found that's common at other rallies: protestors. @news4buffalo— Rachele Mongiovi (@4RacheleM) April 11, 2016
When Sanders did arrive, he spent much of his time criticizing Wall Street and Goldman Sachs.
"Wall Street’s goal is to make as much money as they can for themselves," the senator insisted.
The senator then skewered Goldman Sachs for its behavior during the financial crisis in 2008, when it pushed inferior mortgages on unknowing investors.
Sanders couldn't help noting how Clinton has given speeches to the corporation.
He also spent a few moments reacting to news that Verizon workers are planning to go on strike. He seemed fully supportive of it because it "reflects what corporate America is doing." The corporations, he said, are making employees pay more for health care while cutting other benefits and outsourcing jobs to the Philippines.
At some point, Sanders also called for a $15 hour national minimum wage.
The senator mentioned he was 70 points behind Hillary when he started his campaign and the audience booed. “There’s a good ending to that story," he said, jocosely trying to quiet his fans.
He took another swing at Clinton by contrasting his small money donations to Hillary’s big money campaign:
"If we have a large voter turnout next week, we are going to win New York state," he concluded.
Mazurowski noted that about 60 percent of Sanders' audience was college age. While the senator continues to have no problem courting the Millennial vote, Hillary Clinton is acknowledging her need to do a better job connecting with young men and women.
Her suggesting young people are being duped by Sanders' lofty campaign promises isn't helping.