Storming past questions about his health, Bernie Sanders vowed that he's "more ready than ever" to fight a political revolution—with a little help from new friends—at a rally Saturday that drew an estimated 25,000 to a New York City park. The rally offered a pointed reminder to skeptics that the 78-year-old is still very much a force in the 2020 race. Sanders opened by apologizing that he secured a permit for only 20,000 people. "To put it bluntly, I am back," Sanders declared, sparking chants of, "Bernie is back" from the massive crowd. "I am happy to report to you that I am more than ready—more ready than ever—to carry on with you on the epic struggle that we face today," he added. The event marked Sanders' formal return to the trail less than three weeks after a heart attack threatened both his life and political future, notes the AP. Even before, he was in danger of falling out of the top-tier in the 2020 Democratic field, with polls suggesting he's lagging behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.
But the fiery Brooklyn native, backed by a slate of new endorsements and two new stents, appeared to be expanding his coalition on Saturday. Among those speaking, filmmaker Michael Moore told the cheering crowd that he was endorsing Sanders, shortly before Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Vermont senator. "Bernie Sanders fought for me," Ocasio-Cortez said, heaping praise on Sanders, though she did not explicitly endorse him. The Sanders campaign announced earlier in the week that she would. Almost all the speakers during Saturday's event played down health concerns. "The only heart attack we should be talking about is the one Wall Street is going to have when Bernie Sanders is president," said Moore. Nina Turner, one of Sanders' national co-chairs, said it "boggles my mind" that Sanders' critics have embraced "ageism." "Memo to the haters: hashtag Bernie Is Back," she added. "We never went anywhere, we just pushed pause for a minute."
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