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Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowd In First Chicago Stop As Presidential Candidate

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held his first Chicago event Monday night as the 73-year-old Democratic Socialist from Vermont raises money for his campaign.

There was a long line to get into the event at Park West. CBS 2's Jim Williams reports they came curious and committed.

"I'm here to listen and get educated," said Merle Rothschild, who says she hasn't made up her mind yet.

"I'm committed," said Jim Patnoudes. "I'm full on for Bernie. He's the best."

"We cannot bring about the change that we need unless millions of people are actively involved in the political process, unless millions of people stand up and say enough is enough," Sanders told a crowd of several hundred.

He continued his attack on the "millionaire class" and income disparity -- and called once again for immigration reform and a path toward citizenship for those living in the shadows.

Bernie Sanders Chicago
Bernie Sanders speaking ato supporters at Park West. (Credit: Mariam Sobh.)

Sanders has already attracted big crowds in other parts of the country, but increased popularity means greater scrutiny.

Black Lives Matter protestors interrupted a campaign event in Seattle. His supporters were angry and Sanders was frustrated.

"I wanted to talk about the issue of Black lives," Sanders said. "The fact that people are tired of seeing unharmed African-Americans shot and killed but there are other issues as well that we have to talk about."

Bernie Sanders Crowd Chicago
A line to see Bernie Sanders at Park West wraps around the block. (Credit: Mariam Sobh.)

Some black activists said Sanders lacked empathy.

Political consultant Delmarie Cobb advises the Hillary Clinton campaign.

"What we need is for you to acknowledge that what is happening to African-Americans is unique to African-Americans," Cobb said.

Still, Sanders has long supported civil rights and former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia says Sanders' populist message should be taken seriously.

"Bernie welcome to Chicago,'" Garcia said. "This is a working class city. People want to hear your ideas and they ought to be exposed to what you're saying you can do for America."

The Sanders campaign says it has more than 6,000 volunteers in Illinois.

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