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Bernie Sanders: I voted for the auto bailout

KalamazooBernie Sanders spent the day campaigning in Michigan, pushing back against Hillary Clinton's assertion that he did not support the auto bailout and trying to encourage supporters to vote in Tuesday's primary.

"Secretary Clinton went out of her way to mischaracterize my history as it relates to the 2008 auto industry bailout," he said to a crowd of 3,200 in Kalamazoo. He was referring to the debate in Flint, Michigan Sunday night when Clinton said that Sanders voted to oppose saving the auto industry and she voted for it.

"He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference," Clinton said during the debate. Sanders did vote against the $700 billion federal bailout program, which included money sent directly to the auto industry as well as the big banks, but he had been on the record in supporting funds that would help prop up the auto industry as a separate measure. He did support a $14 billion aid package which passed the House in December of 2008, but it was not able to pass in the Senate. Sanders referenced that vote.

"There was one vote in the United States Senate to support the automobile industry and, of course, I voted for it. To say otherwise is simply not telling the truth," he said.

The crowd responded positively when Sanders pressed his support of the auto bailout, but not everyone thought that he did a great job of explaining the issue Sunday night.

Democrats vie for Michigan delegates

"It was done in the wrong way. There should have been some more finesse to it," said Benjamin Byrd, an 18-year-old Sanders supporter. "He should have brought up specifics about how big the bill actually was."

During the debate, Sanders' denial of Clinton's assertion wasn't very clear. He later explained to reporters that he was surprised to hear someone say "something that is absolutely distorting the record." He said he was "taken aback" by the accusation.

"Sometimes somebody says something to you, and it is untrue, so it took me about 12 seconds or less than that, I figure, to try to understand what she was saying," Sanders explained.

Meanwhile, Sanders' campaign released a new radio ad in Michigan on Monday, hitting Clinton for being dishonest -- though the ad does not mention her by name. It says that "Washington has always had a funny relationship with truth. So it's no surprise that his opponent is... trying to distort the truth about Bernie's record."

Sanders has also been making the case that Clinton's support of trade has hurt American jobs -- especially in places like Michigan.

"She has supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements which have wreaked havoc," Sanders said on Monday. He argued that Sunday night she tried to deflect attention from her support for "almost every trade agreement."

Sanders also continued to make his pitch that high voter turnout will mean that he wins the state of Michigan. He is currently trails Clinton in the polls -- the latest CBS News Battleground Tracker has Clinton at 55 percent and Sanders at 44 percent.

Lori Brock, a 56-year-old Sanders supporter, has volunteered for the campaign for three days in the last week and she says "people were actually glad to hear from me. I liked that." She wished that she had been contacted earlier because, in her view, Sanders is the "revolutionary candidate that we need."

Does Brock think Sanders will win in Michigan?

"I want him to win," she said with longing eyes. If he does not win the nomination, she plans to write him into her ballot in November.

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