The Latest: Sanders assessing big events in wake of outbreak

Posted at 9:29 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 22:29:43-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says his campaign is gauging when it may become necessary to cancel the large campaign rallies that public health experts say could be breeding grounds to spread the potentially deadly respiratory illness.

The Democratic presidential candidate says that public health “obviously” comes first so he remains in constant contact with public health officials about holding events.

Federal health authorities have been advising older people and those with medical conditions in particular to avoid crowded spaces.

But that so far hasn’t led President Donald Trump or his two remaining major Democratic presidential rivals to cut back on big campaign events. Trump is 73 years old, while Sanders is 78 and Joe Biden is 77.

Sanders says “in the best of all possible worlds” the three presidential candidates should probably limit their travel and avoid crowds, “but right now, we’re running as hard as we can.”


2:10 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says that without the racial barriers that Jesse Jackson tore down as a presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988, Barack Obama never would have been president.

The civil rights leader endorsed Sanders on Sunday and appeared with the Vermont senator at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Sanders introduced Jackson at the event and said Jackson “has broken down more barriers than others can even dream of” and that Jackson blazed a political trail that helped lead Obama to the White House.

Sanders said: “If there was no Jesse Jackson, in my view, there never would have been a President Barack Obama.”

Jackson told the crowd that he was standing with Sanders on Sunday "because he stood with me.”

Jackson shrugged off some voters’ uneasiness about Sanders’ avowed democratic socialist ideology. Jackson says democracy is the key part of Sanders’ views.

Sander is Jackson will give him a boost before the state’s 2020 primary on Tuesday.


12:20 p.m.

Joe Biden has worshipped at a predominantly African American church in Mississippi, two days before the state's presidential primary where black voters will play an important role.

While the former vice president was in Jackson, rival Bernie Sanders has scheduled events Sunday in Michigan, another of the six states that will vote on Tuesday.

Biden was welcomed by applause at New Hope Baptist Church. He was accompanied by the NAACP national president, Derrick Johnson, and a leading member of Congress, Bennie Thompson — both of whom are from Mississippi.

They sat in the front row, and Biden sang along with the congregation: “Oh, victory in Jesus, my savior forever.”


12 p.m.

A progressive group with close ties to Elizabeth Warren is urging its members to support Bernie Sanders in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday. But the group is stopping short of endorsing the Vermont senator.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has sent a message out to its nearly 16,000 members in Michigan. The group would like to see the primary campaign go on as long as possible to ensure that Sanders and Joe Biden, the two leading candidates, are sufficiently tested to face President Donald Trump in November.

The committee says that means voting "strategically" for Sanders.

It says it's “heartbroken” that Warren is out of the race. The group says if the goal is to beat Trump, then “you want to be super sure Bernie or Biden are tested and can go the distance” and that "a vote for Bernie is a vote to let the contest continue instead of prematurely coronating Biden.”

Warren suspended her presidential campaign on Thursday. The Massachusetts senator says she’s still deciding between endorsing Biden and Sanders. Politically, she's much more aligned with Sanders. But Warren criticized both Sanders and Biden in the final weeks of her campaign, meaning her choice may not be as obvious as it once seemed.