Vermonters Cheer Sanders' Photo Finish in Iowa | NECN
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Vermonters Cheer Sanders' Photo Finish in Iowa

After surmounting a huge gap in the polls and in name recognition, Bernie Sanders came within a hair's breadth of winning the Iowa Caucus

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016)

    A day after Bernie Sanders came within a hair's breadth of winning the Iowa Caucus over his better-known and better-funded opponent, Hillary Clinton, people in the senator's home district of Vermont were cheering his success.

    "Feel the Bern!" beamed Bo Muller-Moore of Montpelier, a t-shirt artist who has been selling so many Bernie 2016 apparel and mugs to buyers nationwide, he was able to leave his other job at a bakery to print shirts full-time. "He's shaken the whole system up. He's making people pay attention to some issues that a lot of us hold dear-- a lot of us working class people."

    Clinton defeated Sanders by less than three-tenths of 1 percent, the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history, the state party said. The Associated Press reported Sanders said his campaign was still reviewing the results and did not concede.

    In Keene, New Hampshire Tuesday, Sanders told more than 1,100 supporters at a rally that his campaign came back from a 50 percent point deficit in the polls and "began the political revolution not just in Iowa, not just in New Hampshire, but all over this country."

    At Capitol Grounds in Montpelier, coffee roaster Chris Pyatak said he has received enthusiastic communication from all over the country for his Bernie's Beans, coffee sold in bags bearing an illustration of Sanders.

    "It's great for a small business," Pyatak said of the boost in online sales for Bernie's Beans.

    Pyatak noted that pundits and many large media organizations initially wrote off Sanders' campaign as being only able to attract fringe support.

    But many Vermonters suspected all along it was unwise to underestimate the self-described democratic socialist in his White House run, because of the wide margins by which he won many of his Vermont elections, and because of his reputation for giving rousing speeches that captivate audiences.

    Capitol Grounds said it hopes buyers of Bernie's Beans see a reflection of the independent spirit Sanders and the city of Montpelier stand for when they drink the coffee described as being between light and medium roast.

    "You don't have to go big and corporate with everything," Pyatak said of a value the coffee roasters share with Bernie Sanders.

    Twenty percent of the sales of the $15 bags of coffee go to one of the candidates' favorite causes: the Vermont Veterans Fund, Pyatak said.

    In the Vermont Statehouse, Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, recalled in an interview with necn his days working for Sanders in the late 1990s.

    "Bernie's strength comes from being very up-front about his passion for the middle class and working families," Pearson observed.

    As for the photo finish with Hillary Clinton Monday night in Iowa, Pearson chalked it up in large part to Sanders' reputation for sincerity in prioritizing the middle class, the environment, and his threats to knock the most financially powerful off their perches.

    "I think if he had another week in Iowa, he probably would've beaten her by a point," Pearson speculated. "He campaigns harder than anyone I know. He leaves staffers half his age panting on the sidelines as he roars into another speech. He's a very impressive man."

    Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she has "some work to do" to attract young and first-time voters to her campaign for president.

    She said in an interview on CNN's "Situation Room" that she is pleased so many young people are participating this year in the Democratic nominating contest and recognizes that rival Bernie Sanders did well among that group in Monday's razor-thin Iowa caucuses.

    The AP reported Clinton said in next-up New Hampshire and beyond, she will be emphasizing her plans to help young people start their lives, including a proposal to make college more affordable.

    Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, has pledged his support to Clinton, and Tuesday called her a "pragmatic progressive who will work with people to get things done."

    Shumlin praised both Clinton's razor-thin victory in Iowa, and Sen. Sanders' success in energizing the electorate, especially young voters.

    "Let's remember, Hillary lost Iowa: she came in third there eight years ago," Shumlin told necn. "So for her to be able to turn that around and win Iowa is a big deal. And also, Bernie did much better than anyone would have thought months ago, so I really think this is an example where both came out very well."

    Shumlin and many observers are predicting a long road to the Democratic nomination, so it looks like Bo Muller-Moore is going to stay pretty busy with his squeegees and Bernie 2016 t-shirts.

    "I have had loads of fun with it," he said as he got back to work on his screen printing.

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