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Politics

Bernie Sanders says he’ll scale back campaigning after heart attack

Bernie Sanders
In this image taken from video, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks with reporters Tuesday outside his home in Burlington, as his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, listens.
(Associated Press)

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that he plans to scale back his campaigning after suffering a heart attack last week in Las Vegas.

“I think we’re going to change the nature of the campaign a bit,” the Vermont senator told reporters outside his home in Burlington after a visit to a cardiologist. “I’ll make sure I have the strength to do what I have to do.”

Sanders, 78, said he would probably slow his pace of holding three or four rallies a day, at times in multiple states.

He acknowledged that voters will likely take his age and health into account when they vote.

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“Look, everything that happens every day weighs on how people feel about you,” he said. “You look at the totality of who a candidate is. You look at what that candidate stands for, the integrity of that candidate, the history of that candidate. I have been fighting for working families for my entire adult life.”

Sanders is the oldest of the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70.

After congressional elections in which Democrats in record numbers chose to elevate women, minority and gay candidates, casting ballots for diversity and youth in district after district, the list of presidential hopefuls most exciting to Democratic voters is a bit curious.

On Tuesday, Sanders said he’d always had a lot of energy, but was “dumb” to have stuck to a grueling campaign schedule over the last month or two despite feeling “more fatigued than I usually have been.”

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“I should have listened to those symptoms,” he said. “If there’s any message that I hope we can get out there, is that I want people to pay attention to their symptoms. When you’re hurting, when you’re fatigued, when you have pain in your chest, listen to it.”

Sanders was speaking to a room of supporters in Las Vegas one evening last week when he stopped the event and asked for a chair. He was taken to a hospital, where doctors discovered he’d had a heart attack. They inserted two stents to clear a blocked coronary artery. He spent three days in the hospital.

It’s not yet clear when Sanders will resume campaigning, but he plans to participate in a CNN debate on Oct. 15 in Ohio.


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