After Bernie Sanders was projected to lose the first three of the five Mini Super Tuesday states to Hillary Clinton, he turned the focus to his own campaign in an hour-long speech to supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, tonight, saying his campaign has "defied all expectations."
"We started this campaign at 3 percent in the national polls," Sanders said to his supporters. "We have come a long way in 10 months. And the reason that we have done as well as we have, the reason that we have defied all expectations, is that we are doing something very radical in American politics -- we are telling the truth.
"And the truth is ... not always pleasant, is not always what we want to hear. But we cannot go forward unless we deal with the realities of American society today, and that is what we are going to do," he said.
"Democracy is not complicated -- it is one person one vote," said Sanders. "You want to vote for me, great. You don’t, that's okay. But what I do not want to see are billionaires spending unlimited sums of money buying elections and undermining the democracy which has made our country so great.
"This campaign is doing well because we are listening to the American people and not just wealthy campaign contributors. I am very proud that our campaign does not have a super PAC," he said.
"We have received over 5 million individual campaign contributions. Anyone know what the average contribution is? That's right -- $27.
"Now my opponent, my opponent raises money in a slightly different way. She has a super PAC, which among other special interests, has received $15 million from Wall Street," he said. "She has received money from the drug companies and the fossil fuel industry. She has given speeches on Wall Street for $225,000 a pop. Now in my mind, if you're going to give a speech for $225,000, it must be a really great speech. And if it's such a great speech, all of America should be able to read it."
Clinton was projected to win Florida, Ohio and North Carolina ahead of Sanders' speech. The results for Missouri and Illinois were not yet projected at the time of his speech.
"The American people will not accept a president who insults our veterans," he continued. "Or who several years ago lead the so called birther effort which was an ugly attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the presidency of Barack Obama."
Sanders noted that while Obama's father was born in Kenya and Sanders' father was born in Poland, "nobody asked me for my birth certificate."