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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez officially announced her backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president on Saturday, calling him an inspiration for her own grassroots campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., lauded as a superstar among progressives, received a raucous reception from the crowd at Queensbridge Park, in Queens, N.Y., as she outlined her working-class upbringing and the effect of Sanders’s 2016 primary campaign. She decried the atmosphere in Congress, arguing that there is a push within its halls to get legislators to abandon the working class.
“It wasn't until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders,” said Ocasio-Cortez, talking about her previous job as a bartender, “that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education and a living wage.”
Ocasio-Cortez introduced Sanders as her “tio” (uncle in Spanish), and he emerged to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” The New York City legislator was the last in a long series of speakers tasked with giving their official stamp of approval to Sanders, who is recovering from a recent heart attack. Critics have called into question the vitality of his campaign, once again bringing the touchy question of age and fitness to the center of the primary debate. Yet supporters at the rally, who lined up in rows shaking “Bernie 2020” signs as singer-songwriter Max serenaded the crowd, remained unflinching to their candidate.
“I’m here to tell you Bernie’s back,” Sanders’s wife, Jane, said among “Bernie” chants from the crowd, "and he is healthy, and he’s more than ready to continue his lifelong struggle to fight for the working people of America.”
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