Bernie Sanders speaks in Birmingham to reported audience of 7k

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a concert hosted by his campaign, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hot off the heels of the Democratic debate in South Carolina, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Birmingham Monday.

“We began this campaign about 9 months ago and when we began we were 50 points behind the inevitable Democratic nominee. Well guess what? That inevitable candidate is not so inevitable today,” Sanders said to a packed house at the Boutwell Auditorium.

According to Sanders’ campaign leaders, about 7,000 people came to hear him speak in Birmingham.

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Buses started to roll in around 2:30 Monday afternoon, many of them packed with college students who traveled across the state to attend.

The crowd is diverse, but it was overwhelmingly young people who lined up to hear Sanders speak, and gauging from their reaction Monday evening, the were an enthusiastic audience.

“There must be some kind of mistake. I was told Alabama was a conservative state,” Sanders said to the crowd.

Sanders took the podium in front of a packed-in crowd at Boutwell. He laid out his plan for the presidency–including guaranteeing free public college tuition, pad family and medical leave, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“We are going to create an economy that works for the middle class, not for the billionaire class,” he said.

Sanders also tailored his message for his Birmingham audience.

“I want to say to the folks here in Alabama, I come from a statue that’s going to vote democratic, I go to Massachusetts, and they’re going to vote democratic. The challenge you face and I respect you so much, is the work you have got to do is more difficult than work in my state.”

There were some tense moments in the middle of Sanders’ speech. A woman in the crowd became sick, and medical personnel were called. That caused a delay of about 10 minutes. The woman will reportedly be okay.

The audience applauded Sanders for pausing the speech to make sure he got medical attention.

Copyright 2016 WIAT CBS 42

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