— -- MASON CITY – Actress and activist Susan Sarandon got teary as she introduced Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail Wednesday in front of an overflow crowd of 1100 people during a town hall in northern Iowa.
Sarandon, who has helped raise money for the Vermont Senator’s presidential bid praised Sanders for his political courage, specifically his vote against the Iraq war and record on gay rights.
“Gender is not what’s important,” she said. “Issues are what's important. I want a candidate who has the courage to stand to do the right thing when it is not popular.”
“It is one thing to be for gay rights and gay marriage once everybody else is for it,” she continued, taking another subtle jab at his primary opponent Hillary Clinton. Sarandon again referred to Clinton - without naming her – when she blasted another candidate’s unwillingness to take on the fight for a $15 minimum wage, as Sanders has.
“That is not pragmatic, that's just cynicism. That's giving up before you’ve even tried,” she said.
Later in the evening, the Democratic presidential hopeful blasted Clinton even more directly.
“I am delighted to be here with you tonight in Mason City,” he said. “My opponent is not in Iowa tonight, she is raising money from a Philadelphia investment firm. Frankly, I would rather be here with you.”
Clinton left the state earlier Wednesday to attend a fundraiser that was hosted by executives of Franklin Square Capital Partners investing firm in Philadelphia. In response to Sanders’ criticism, the Clinton campaign pointed out that she also met with African-American ministers in the city, prior to her fundraiser.
The former secretary of state has one more fundraiser scheduled tomorrow morning in New York City before she returns to Iowa for campaign events in the afternoon.
Less than a week before the voting begins, Sanders took a break from the Hawkeye State as well. He held two large rallies in Minnesota yesterday and then flew to Washington, DC for a meeting with President Obama in the oval office Thursday morning, before returning to Iowa for his evening rally.