Sanders Draws Crowd Triple The Size Of Bill Clinton Rally

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Bill Clinton hosted events in Mason City, Iowa, Thursday night. More than 1,000 people packed into a town hall to hear Sanders, while about 325 went to see Clinton speak at a larger high school auditorium.

Despite the sub-freezing temperature, Iowans who couldn’t make it into the Music Man Square to hear Sanders speak stood outside peered through windows trying to catch a glimpse of the Vermont senator.

“The only way that change takes place is when millions of people become engaged and stand up and say loudly and clearly, this government of ours belongs to all of us, not just the 1 percent,” said Sanders to cheers, the Globe Gazette reports.

Clinton’s speech echoed recent attacks from his wife’s campaign. He played up his wife’s experience in an attempt to draw a contrast to Sanders’ idealism. “She is the only candidate who will be qualified on the very first day,” the former president said. (RELATED: Hillary Attacks Sanders In New Ads)

He was in Mason City serving as a surrogate for Hillary while she was at a Philadelphia gala fundraiser hosted by Franklin Square Capital Partners. Sanders, who has railed against the finance sector throughout his campaign, jumped on this fact. “She is raising money from a Philadelphia investment firm. Frankly, I’d rather be here with you,” he said.

Sanders was introduced by actress Sarah Sarandon, who joined in on attacking Hillary, saying, “It’s one thing to be for gay rights and gay marriage once everybody else is for it.”

Hillary Clinton was previously against same-sex marriage until 2013.

During Bill Clinton’s speech, he expressed puzzlement over the rise of populists Sanders and Trump, asking, “Why is all this rancor going on?”

One young supporter at his speech, 17-year-old Claire McAllister, told a reporter she found out that day at school why Clinton was impeached. By the end of the speech she was impressed by Willy, saying, “I want to ask him to prom!”

Another young Iowan, Jake Kallenbach, age 18, believed that the larger attendance at the Sanders rally was due to the fact he might actually be elected. He said, “Bill was in the past, and Bernie’s the future.”