Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton Attend Same Black Church Service to Woo African-American Voters

bernie Sanders hillary clinton
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders answers a question as rival candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire December 19, 2015. |

Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke at the same predominantly African-American Baptist church in Las Vegas in attempts to win support of black voters ahead of Saturday's Nevada Democratic caucus.

As the two candidates sat on different sides of the packed Victory Missionary Baptist Church, the pastor told the congregation that he was thrilled to have both Democratic presidential candidates in attendance together.

"I'm excited they are here, and I am encouraged that they are willing to sit at the same church at the same service, at the same time," Rev. Robert Fowler Sr. told the congregation, according to the New York Times.

After Fowler challenged the candidates to tell the congregants why they should vote for them, Sanders, a self-proclaimed "Democratic socialist" senator from Vermont, was given the opportunity to speak first, since Clinton contacted the church after Sanders had already spoken to the church about attending.

Bernie Sanders
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders greets Oliver Lomas, who is dressed up as Sanders, at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, February 14, 2016. |

"Some of us believe that what God teaches us and what this world is about is that we do not turn our backs on our brothers and our sisters, that essentially we are in this together," Sanders said. "I have four beautiful kids and seven grandchildren. I want you to worry about my kids, and I have got to worry about your children and your grandchildren."

"That's what this church is about, and that's what our existence is about," the 74-year-old Sanders continued. "But there are people out there today who say what the world is about is me. 'I got to make as much money as I can. I've got to become a billionaire.'"

Sanders focused his speech on on income inequality, criminal justice reform, educational opportunity gaps, police accountability and regulating Wall Street.

"Over the last seven years in this country, we have made enormous progress under the leadership of President Obama and Vice President Biden," Sanders said, according to ABC News. "No state in America knows more about the impact of the greed and illegal behavior of Wall Street than the state of Nevada. This state was decimated. We have made great progress but much more needs to be done."

Clinton, who leads in the Nevada Democratic Primary polls by an average of 11.5 percentage points over Sanders, was introduced by Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

John Lewis, Hillary Clinton
U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) (L) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appear at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada February 14, 2016. |

After Lewis and others members of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Clinton last Thursday, he told the church that Clinton is "prepared" and "ready" to be the next president.

During her remarks, the former Secretary of State of accused Sanders of being a single-issue candidate and stated that "this is not a single-issue country."

"Because if we were to achieve everything about banks and money in politics, would that end racism? Would that make it automatically going to happen that people would be able to get the jobs they deserve, the housing they need, the education their children need to have?" Clinton asked.

"I am proud to stand here and tell you that I will work my heart out to build on that progress and go further," Clinton was also quoted as saying. "Yes we have work to do, my esteemed opponent and I agree. We can never let big banks wreck our economy. No bank is too big to fail. No executive is too big to jail."

The Times reports that Sanders also spoke to over 1,500 supporters at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas and again said he would focus on regulating Wall Street and fixing income inequality.

"If we win here in Nevada, we send a profound message to the entire country," Sanders said. "That message is that people in this country will no longer accept establishment politics and establishment economics."

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