The auto industry bailout, fracking and job creation are some of the big issues the Democratic presidential candidates are battling over as they compete for votes in the Midwest primaries, including Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow talked to U.S. Senator and candidate Bernie Sanders about how he plans to win over Ohio voters.
Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders faces a tough battle in Ohio. His rival Hillary Clinton is surging in the delegate count, and polls show she could win the Ohio Democratic primary again, as she did in 2008, when she beat then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama.
But Sanders says his strategy to crackdown on trade deals that send jobs out of the country will resonate with Ohio voters.
“When you see factories shut down, communities decimated. You see people who used to make middle class wages now working at McDonald’s or Burger King for starvation wages -- yeah I do believe that will impact the people,” Sanders explained.
One way to create 13 million new, high-paying jobs, according to Sanders, is to invest in rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure.
Clinton hit Sanders during the last debate regarding his stance on the auto industry bailout. She accuses her rival of not voting for the bailout in 2008. Sanders say he voted against a larger bailout that did help the auto industry but was primarily crafted to help big banks.
Chow: “The devil’s advocate could say ‘well it seems like you were more against throwing money to Wall Street than adding money industry,’ what would you tell them.”
“No, no that’s not the case,” Sanders said. "I mean if you look at the record what the bailout was about was in fact bailing out Wall Street, there was very little discussion in that, at that point, about the automobile industry.”
Sanders adds that he did vote for a separate bailout that focused only on the auto industry, but that measure failed.
Another big issue raised in the debate was hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The oil and gas drilling method has helped create many jobs in Ohio.
Democrats and environmental groups have been fighting fracking for years. Some have called for strict regulations while others, including Sanders, want an all-out ban. I asked the U.S. senator what that would mean for the many jobs fracking has created in Ohio.
“You wanna talk about jobs, we can create millions of jobs by creating a sustainable energy system which is not polluting the environment and that’s what I intend to do."
Ohio’s primary will be held with four other states, including Illinois and Florida. While many delegates are up for grabs, Sanders says it won’t be a make-or-break day for his campaign and that he plans to continue the race no matter what.
Listen below to Andy Chow's full conversation with Bernie Sanders, discussing more issues such as veterans services, green energy jobs, climate change and the future of his campaign.