January 25, 2020 | 5:02pm
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., at a campaign event in support of Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Comrade, can you spare a dime?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent Saturday in Iowa stumping for Bernie Sanders and touting her own purported past poverty to adoring fans at a town hall in Cedar Falls.
“Right before I got sworn in, I was being mocked by the right because I couldn’t afford a second home in D.C.,” the freshman Democrat told fans at the University of Northern Iowa. “I spent my first couple of months in Congress sleeping on an air mattress on the floor.”
Elsewhere during a question and answer session with voters, AOC spoke about her life as bartender, saying she once went to a doctor with a bag of money because she didn’t have insurance.
“Doctors told me I needed a blood test. I sat in the office and just started to cry. I couldn’t afford to know if I was heathy,” she said.
The personal stories met with loud applause from the 480 audience members, many of whom became emotional in her presence.
Earlier in the day, Ocasio-Cortez fired up the faithful at a canvassing event nearby, alluding to a new New York Times/Siena College poll showing the Vermont socialist opening up a big lead in the Hawkeye State.
“The last time I visited Iowa, things were way further out, polls were changing every day,” she said. “Since that day, two months ago, you all changed the polls in Iowa.”
The new numbers show 25% of Iowa voters now saying they support the Vermont socialist, with his nearest rival, former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg at 18%. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who have both at times led in Iowa polls — slipped to 17 and 15%, respectively.
The poll was taken between Jan. 20-23 and has a margin of error of 4.8%. The Iowa caucuses, the important first testing ground in the Democratic presidential race, is Feb. 3.
Sanders himself reacted to the news with caution.
“We’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be a tough fight and we can’t take anything for granted. Knock on doors. Make phone calls. Do everything you can,” he said in a tweet sharing the poll.
The numbers suggest Sanders has emerged unscathed from a week of contentious headlines, including a nasty spat with progressive rival Warren over whether he did or did not once tell her that a woman could not be elected president.
A recent endorsement by podcaster Joe Rogan has also stirred ire among the woker elements of Sanders’ base, many of whom take issue with Rogan’s past statements and beliefs.