Bernie Sanders is no spring chicken and he is now ready to admit it. Tuesday he announced to reporters that he will be making some concessions in campaigning after his recent heart attack.
Sanders returned to his home in Burlington, Vermont after his release from the hospital following his heart attack. At the time his campaign was busy brushing off questions from the press about the 78-year-old candidate’s health, though it took them three days to acknowledge that it was, in fact, a heart attack that he experienced. During this time of recovery, Team Bernie has been quiet while the inevitable questions begin about the candidate’s ability to continue on.
It was a bit of a surprise when Bernie admitted Tuesday that he will “change the nature of the campaign” after a visit to his cardiologist.
“I think we’re going to change the nature of the campaign a bit,” Mr. Sanders told reporters after a visit with a local cardiologist. “Make sure that I have the strength to do what I have to do.”
Mr. Sanders’s remarks stood in sharp contrast with comments in recent days from his campaign advisers, who have insisted that the Vermont senator was neither changing course nor easing his trademark intensity as a result of the heart attack.
Monday Sanders told staff that the revolution must go on. He told them that he felt “more strongly about the need for a political revolution today than I did when I began this campaign.” By Tuesday he was telling reporters that he would be slowing down. It appears that after a visit to his new cardiologist he is ready to admit he has to slow down.
Sanders spoke with reporters as he prepared to make his first visit to a cardiologist in Burlington. He admitted he didn’t have a doctor in Burlington because he lives in Washington, D.C., not Vermont. So, he visited a new doctor on Tuesday.
Sanders revealed that he never had a doctor in his Vermont hometown, “let alone a cardiologist,” because his primary physician is based in Washington, D.C.
“We’re going to meet him,” Sanders said moments before getting in a car with his wife, Jane, to attend the appointment with his new physician. “I understand he’s a very good cardiologist. Going to see him on a regular basis to get some checkups, and obviously, I’ll be on-and-off in Vermont and so we’re going to meet him today.”
He admitted he “was dumb” and didn’t pay attention to physical symptoms in the lead-up to his heart attack.
“I must confess, I was dumb,” the 2020 presidential candidate said outside his home in Burlington, Vt. “Thank God, I have a lot of energy during this campaign. I’ve been doing, in some cases, three or four rallies a day, going all over the state, Iowa, New Hampshire, wherever. And yet I, in the last month or two, just was more fatigued than I usually have been.”
“I should have listened to those symptoms,” the 78-year-old presidential hopeful said.
The cardiologist probably told Sanders that a 78-year-old man has no business keeping the campaign schedule that he keeps. Bernie was doing 4 or 5 events a day, often while crisscrossing whatever state he was in. That is enough to take a toll on anyone, much less someone his age. If successful (he won’t be) he would be the oldest person ever elected as president. Sanders says he wants to have the strength he needs to continue campaigning, so he has to cut back. The realization of the seriousness of the state of his health has set in.
Bernie’s campaign has hit a rough period. Elizabeth Warren is a viable alternative to Sanders and she younger (70) and by all appearances has tons of energy to see a campaign to the end. Bernie has the advantage of a full war chest, though. He reported raising $25.3 million in the third quarter, the most of any Democrat candidate. He can stay in the race for as long as he wants.
The health question will stick with him and it’s something he has to be prepared to answer. He plans to participate in this month’s Democrat debate and you know it will come up. Biden will have to answer the same question eventually but for now, the other candidates are busy rallying around Biden, mostly in hopes of securing the vice-presidential slot on a Biden ticket. In the meantime, Elizabeth Warren is rising in the polls and now beats both men according to Real Clear Politics.