TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Spectators began arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. By 1:30 p.m. the line, which started on Jefferson Avenue, wound it's way down Superior Street and stretched around Monroe Street almost to Summit Street. They were there to see what 'Feel the Bern' is all about.
Thousands packed the SeaGate Convention Centre just days before the March 15 Ohio Democratic Primary to see and hear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
The crowd was made up mostly of college students, but there was a strong union presence as well.
"I'm a union member. He's a fighter for labor and the middle class. He's what we need. What's wrong with Hillary? We like Hillary but we like Bernie. He's a better candidate for the labor movement," said one supporter.
The Vermont Senator was introduced to the crowd by U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who said, "I came here to introduce the next President of the United States."
WTOL asked Sanders about Kaptur's support in an interview before the rally. He said, "It is very important, I've known Marcy Kaptur for a very long time. I can't think of any member of congress who has been in the trenches with working people, who has stood up to these disastrous trade agreements, and I very, very much appreciate her support."
Sanders used his Toledo appearance to highlight three areas where he and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton disagree.
She supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and the Trade Relations Agreement with China. Sanders says the deals closed thousands of factories and cost the country millions of jobs.
"And I think history will record that my vote was the right vote. Her support of those trade agreements was wrong and devastating," said Sanders.
On campaign finances, Sanders slams Clinton for accepting money from superpacs.
His drive for the White House is funded by five million individual contributions which average $27 apiece.
"Truth is I do not represent Wall Street, corporate America or the billionaires group," said Sanders.
Finally, Sanders says he's the best candidate on foreign policy. Clinton supported the war in Iraq. He didn't.
"So, I think when we talk about foreign policy, one of us applied good judgment, one of us didn't," said Sanders.
Other talking points in Toledo: Sanders would eliminate college tuition, raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and guarantee equal pay for men and women. All these positions resonate with supporters.
"He's sticking to the points. He's been the same guy. He's not a politician. He says what he means," said Josh Oberhaus.
Tim Weaver had a similar perspective.
"He's literally just telling us what's wrong with this country and there are the things we need to fix," said Weaver.
Sanders has won nine state primaries. He says Ohio is next, but only if there's a high voter turnout.