Full speech: Bernie Sanders rallies at Baldwin Wallace University

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BEREA, Ohio -- The Ohio primary election isn't until mid-March, but already the focus is turning to the state and its winner-take-all primary on March 15.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Berea Thursday morning to boost his support. Sanders held a rally in the gymnasium at Baldwin Wallace University at 10:30 a.m. Doors opened at 7 a.m.

“We’re doing something very radical: We’re telling the American people the truth,” Sanders said. “We are listening to millions of workers in this country who are saying they cannot make it on $9 or $10 an hour.”

There were long lines filing into the building hours before his speech. A majority of the supporters were young people.

“A great country is not judged on how many billionaires or millionaires it has, but on how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us,” Sanders said.

The Senator covered a wide range of issues, including the need for affordable child care, equal pay for women and an educated work force. He urged students in the audience to consider becoming teachers and police officers.

“The vast majority of police officers are hard-working people, honest people trying to do a very difficult,” Sanders said. “If a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable.”

Sanders' stop here in NE Ohio comes one day after Baldwin Wallace University released a poll showing him with a slim lead over rival Hillary Clinton, 45 to 44 percent. A Quinnipiac poll put out this week, however, showed Clinton with a double-digit lead in Ohio. Sanders says his message is resonating with voters, and he's confident he can pull off a win.

The Baldwin Wallace University poll shows Sanders would beat Donald Trump with 43 percent of the vote. But he would lose by quite a large margin against John Kasich.

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Continuing coverage of You Decide 2016 here

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:21 am

The gym at Baldwin Wallace is filling up for Bernie Sanders

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:24 am

Creative signage at the rally today

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:35 am

Former Ohio Sen. Nina Turner speaking first. “I want you to know the cause is right and the time is now.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:37 am

“He is running against the status quo,” Turner says. She adds she’s excited to hear a presidential candidates talk about universal health care and tuition-free college.

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:39 am

“We need a champion who will tell it like it is,” Turner says. “Sen. Sanders is not progressive when it’s convenient.” Someone brought a drum and is playing it after each sentence.

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:40 am

“Black lives matter. Black prosperity matters,” Turner says. “He is a champion for what is right and social justice in this country.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:41 am

Former State Senator Turner says Sanders doesn’t use “I” because this country is about “We.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:42 am

Turner’s biggest cheers come as she talks to “her sisters” and women’s right to equal pay.

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:49 am

After a “Feel the Bern” chant, Sen. Sanders comes out and thanks Nina Turner. He calls it a beautiful morning, says that’s a joke.

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:50 am

“This campaign is about taking a hard look about where we are and where we want to go,” Sen. Sanders.

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:54 am

Sanders says what happens when young people, poor people, minorities don’t vote, “That political vacuum is filed by wealthy campaign contributors…”

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:57 am

“Over the last nine and half months, when we first began this campaign, a lot has changed,” Sanders says, “To run for president is this day in age you need a huge, and I mean huuuge, amount of money.” He says early on they decided they are not going to have a Super Pac. He says his campaign does not represent Wall Street, big corporations. 

Jen Steer February 25, 201610:59 am

Sanders says millions of people have donated to the campaign with an average contribution of $27, he says that means Americans are saying we want to stop billionaires from buying elections.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:00 am

The Senator says three national polls actually have him in the lead. Almost all of those polls have Sanders beating Trump, he says. He’s now onto the part of the speech where he addresses the political importance of Ohio and its upcoming March primary.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:02 am

“We’re doing something very radical: We’re telling the American people the truth,” Bernie Sanders says. He says we have to look at what is happening in this country, even if it’s unpleasant. “We are listening to millions of workers in this country who are saying they cannot make it on $9 or $10 an hour.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:05 am

“A great country is not judge on how many billionaires or millionaires it has, but on how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us,” Sanders says.He’s now speaking on how we need to do more for our elderly who need to pay for health care, prescription drugs, food and to heat their homes sometimes on just $12,000 a year. “I want you to worry about my kids and my grandchildren and in turn I will worry about your kids and your grandchildren.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:08 am

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “This campaign is listening to women, and women are asking us (cheers) ‘Why is it that we are making $.70 to every dollar?'” 

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:11 am

Sanders talks about the importance of the formative years and the need for high-quality, affordable child care. He appeals to students in the room to consider going into the education field. This comes back to his emphasis on an educated workforce.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:12 am

“The vast majority of police officers are hard-working people, honest people trying to do a very difficult,” Sanders says. Mentions anyone thinking about careers should consider becoming an officer. “If a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:13 am

Sanders says African-Americans are pulled over for traffic issues at a much higher rate as white people: “We have to take on this issue of institutional racism… We have to demilitarize these local police departments.” 

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:15 am

“We need to make police departments looks like the diverse communities they are serving… We need to rethink the war on drugs.” Bernie Sanders says marijuana is treated like heroin in the criminal justice system. “Heroin is a killer.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:16 am

Sanders calls the right to use marijuana should be a state issue, from a federal standpoint it should not be a crime.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:18 am

Sanders: “Are you ready for a radical idea? Together will need to invest in education and jobs, not jails and incarceration… We are spending $80 billion to lock up 2.2 million Americans.” Says it costs less to send young people to college than to send them to prison.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:20 am

Sanders says people are coming to this country for hope of a better life and, “What we are seeing is a horrendous amount of bigotry.” He brings up Donald Trump calling Mexicans rapists, but adds we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:22 am

Sen. Sanders says he have a “rigged economy.” Brings up the Walton family, owners of Walmart. He explains they pay so little that the rest of the middle class has to pay to help those employees. Adds Walmart needs to get off welfare.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:25 am

Now turning his attention to other social issues, Sanders says women have a right to make decisions about their own bodies and that same-sex couples should marry. Calls it hypocrisy that people who say they hate the government are are all for government preventing women from accessing certain health services.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:28 am

Sanders briefly spoke about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but has moved on to criticizing Hillary Clinton’s support of NAFTA.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:30 am

Sanders blasts Congress for bailing out big banks who “were too big to fail.” Says they are bigger than ever. 

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:31 am

Sanders: “Wall Street billionaires should not be able to buy elections in the United States of American. Together we are going to overturn citizens united.”

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:33 am

Back to education, Sanders says a college degree today is equal to a high school diploma was 50 years ago. He says anyone should be able to go to college tuition free, says those with student debt should be able to refinance for lower interest.

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:34 am

“Climate change is real,” the Senator says. “Climate change is caused by human activity… We need to have the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.” 

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:34 am

Sanders says he’s criticized all the time and someone shouts “I love you.” He laughs and replies “I love you too.” 

Jen Steer February 25, 201611:38 am

“They know the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” Sanders says. Asks if we have the courage to change that. Wraps up being reminding people of the March primary.