Sanders: I Ran as a Democrat for 'Media Coverage' Hot mic picks up Clinton chatting about Trump By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Mar 15, 2016 4:33 AM CDT 108 comments Comments Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at the Family Arena on Monday in St. Charles, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Newser) – The day before vital Democratic primary votes, Bernie Sanders found himself defending his status as a recently added card-carrying member of the Democratic Party. At an MSNBC town hall in Ohio, Sanders, who has served as an independent in Congress for decades, explained that he decided to run for president as a Democrat to gain more media coverage. He said financial reasons were also behind his decision not to launch a presidential bid as an independent, the Hill reports. "If you're a billionaire, you can do that. I'm not a billionaire. So the structure of American politics today is such that I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party," said Sanders, who stressed that he has caucused with Democrats for 25 years and always opposed right-wing Republicans. At a town hall in Illinois, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton denounced Donald Trump for "inciting mob violence" and dealt with tough questions on trade deals and her vote in favor of invading Iraq. She said George W. Bush claimed that the vote for military authorization wouldn't really lead to war. "I believed George W. Bush when he said we're going to let the inspectors finish the job. 'This vote will give me the leverage,' he claimed, 'to make sure that happens,'" she said. The Washington Post reports that during a commercial break, microphones picked up her chat with host Chris Matthews about the race. She called Donald Trump "candy" that news networks can't stay away from and wondered about Chris Christie's support for the tycoon, asking "Did he have a debt?"