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I could see the Bernie Sanders campaign was doomed when I met him in February

Blog | By Harry Mount | Apr 08, 2020


Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the Presidential race – and I can see why.

The numbers are against him – and it looks like Joe Biden is a shoo-in. So Bernie had to stand down.

But, when I met him in February (filmed in the clip above), in the Piccola Italia Ristorante, Manchester, New Hampshire, Bernie was riding high in the polls – and Biden was looking like the shaky, doddery outsider.

The strange thing about the Presidential race is that it's a battle of old men. Bernie is 78. Biden is 77. President Trump is 73. I suspect this gerontophilia is related to the American love of fame. All three men have been around for such a long time that they've become incredibly famous. Name recognition is no problem in all their cases.

When I met Bernie, he didn't just look old. He also behaved, understandably, like an exhausted, old man. It was freezing in New Hampshire. He was having dinner with a big entourage, including the TV director Michael Moore, in a short break from a relentless campaign, shuttling all over New Hampshire. He was about to embark on a huge nationwide tour in the build-up to Super Tuesday.

And he was frazzled. The Piccola Italia Ristorante was home turf for him, full of fans lining up for a selfie and a congratulatory back-slap. And yet Bernie wasn't really up to it. He was perfectly polite but seemed like a rabbit in the headlights, murmuring pleasantries to the fans. But - in a sympathetic way - he didn't have that raging ego which delights in the presence of praise, unlike Donald Trump.

He looked like he was longing to go home for a good, long sleep.