Interview: Bernie Sanders

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Byline: Samuel P. Jacobs

Vermont's socialist senator has been rocking the budget debate since his famous winter filibuster, the first in a generation.

Your filibuster lasted eight and a half hours. What's the first thing you did when you left the Senate floor?

I went to the bathroom.

In a 2007 interview you asked, "Did the people send me here to give long speeches, or did they send me here to get things done?" Did you change your mind?

I don't think I changed my mind. Getting things done was to stop a disastrous agreement between the president and the Republicans.

Will the new budget help to stop the decline of the middle class?

It's only going to make a very bad situation much worse. I think most people are not pleased to know that the top 400 families in this country own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent.

There is a huge gap between what the Democrats and the Republicans want to cut from the budget. Where will it end up?

That implies that the only way we can go forward is by cutting. Most Americans don't agree with that.

You propose a surtax on millionaires and the oil industry.

According to a recent poll, the proposal had the support of 81 percent of the American people. …