Bernie Sanders has one-on-one with KTVU, holds campaign rally in Richmond

Ahead of a rally in Richmond, Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with KTVU in a one on-on-one interview on Monday to discuss a range of issues including the housing crisis, his opponent Mike Bloomberg and the importance California holds in the Democratic primary race.

Sanders said that he believes housing is not only a crisis in the Bay Area, but is also a national issue. 

“Tonight, unbelievably, in the richest country in the history of the world, 500,000 Americans, including 30,000 veterans are sleeping out on the streets or emergency shelters,” Sanders said. "That is immoral and it’s wrong. And on top of that, you have 18 million families spending half of their income on housing.”

Sanders proposed building 10 million units of affordable and low-income housing as part of a solution. 

Sanders praised his “thousands and thousands” of volunteers who knock on a hundred thousand doors every week, which he said is unprecedented. He remarked that the candidate who wins California is in a very strong position to defeat President Donald Trump. 

Bernie Sanders introduces his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, as the future First Lady. Feb. 17, 2020

Bernie Sanders introduces his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, as the future First Lady. Feb. 17, 2020

When asked about purported attacks online from or about his supporters, Sanders said he condemned online attacks and that his campaign is one of “compassion, of decency, of justice” and that he does not support attacking people who disagree with his campaign.

Download the new and improved mobile news app

“Take a look at some of the attacks that have been made against me and my supporters,” Sanders said. “We have African American women on our campaign who have been insulted in the worst ways imaginable. Having said that, of course I do not condone—and reject—some of the very vicious stuff that’s coming out.”

After the interview, Sanders headed to the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, where he held a campain rally where nurses and a previously undocumented immigrant supported his run. A representative for Moms 4 Housing also spoke about the need for more housing. South Bay Assemblyman Ash Kalra was also there, endorsing Sanders for president. Organizers encouraged attendees to bring their vote-by-mail ballots with them to cast at the event. 

For voter Pauline Kahney, voting for Sanders is a no-brainer. "I've been a socialist all my life," she told KTVU.

For Fiona McCusker, a healthcare worker, the answer isn't so clear. She had supported Elizabeth Warren, but now that she's slipping she wanted to explore her options, and listening to Sanders might help her make her decision. 

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers, union officials, state leaders and party strategists agree that Sanders is a risky nominee to put up against President Donald Trump. There's less agreement about whether - and how - to stop him.

Critics of the Vermont senator, who has long identified as a democratic socialist, are further than they’ve ever been from unifying behind a moderate alternative. None of the viable centrists in the race is eager to exit the campaign to clear a path for a candidate to become a clear counter to Sanders. And Sanders is looking to Saturday's Nevada caucuses to post another win that would further his status as an early front-runner.

With fear and frustration rising in the party's establishment wing, a high-stakes math problem is emerging. It could be impossible to blunt Sanders as long as a trio of moderate candidates - former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar - stay in the race. And with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the swath of states that vote on Super Tuesday, March 3, the effort to stop Sanders will become even more challenging when the campaign goes national next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.