Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made his way to the Big Apple on Friday for an interview with Stephen Colbert, who recently took the helm of CBS’ “The Late Show” from longtime host David Letterman.
“He’s a self-described socialist,” Colbert said of the Democratic presidential candidate at the top of the hour, “which is awkward for me because tonight’s show is brought to you by capitalism.”
The audience cheered wildly when Colbert asked “Are you feeling the Bern?”
“He wants to give you universal health care so you can have that ‘Bern’ checked out,” Colbert joked.
“Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” the audience cheered again when Sanders walked onstage carrying a gift for Colbert: “Your very own ‘Feel the Bern’ mug,” the senator said.
During the interview, Sanders touched on several of his signature issues, including income inequality, universal health care, campaign financing and education.
Asked about comparisons to GOP front-runner Donald Trump and 2008 presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Sanders scoffed. “If you look at the polls,” he said, “we do almost as well … as Hillary Clinton … and that will only get better in the future.”
As to his campaign’s lack of super PAC funding, Sanders said, “I don’t want their money,” adding “That’s called a people’s campaign, not a billionaire’s campaign.”
Ahead of the show’s taping, approximately 150 Sanders supporters gathered across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theater in Midtown Manhattan to catch a glimpse of the presidential candidate, according to TheGuardian’s Adam Gabbatt.
Earlier Friday, the Sanders campaign announced endorsements from 128 actors, musicians, and cultural figures, including actor Will Ferrell and all four members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Last week, Colbert interviewed Vice President Joe Biden amid intense speculation over a potential White House run.
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and, number two, they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do this,’” Biden told Colbert. “And I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.”
On Friday, Colbert asked Sanders if he expected the success his campaign has seen so far. Sanders seemed unfazed: “I knew we had a message that would resonate with the American people,” he said.