Sanders wishes Republicans a speedy recovery from ‘amnesia’ over wrecking the economy
Bernie Sanders speaks at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa (Screenshot/YouTube)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders went on the attack against the GOP during a campaign speech at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Iowa on Saturday night.

The dinner was described by USA Today as a "fundraiser, an organizational test, a media frenzy and an old-fashioned political spectacle" that has a history of being pivotal in primary nominations.

Sanders took to the stage to remind the crowd that so-called fiscally conservative Republicans ran up the deficit, and that before President Obama took office, the global financial system was "on the verge of collapse" and hundreds of thousands of people were losing their jobs each month.

"They suffer from amnesia," Sanders said. "They forgot what the world looked like seven years ago. They forgot that 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. They forgot that the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse. And they just forgot that we ran up the largest deficit in the history of the United States in the last year of George Bush."

He also bashed Citizens United, a controversial Supreme Court decision that allows the wealthiest to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.

"Republicans said you can't win a campaign unless you go to the millionaires and billionaires and you beg for money," Sanders said, noting he raised all his money via individual donations from people giving about $30 each. "I'm the only Democratic candidate for president who does not have a SuperPAC, and we are going to prove the experts wrong because we're gonna win this campaign."

Sanders called for a living wage to be the minimum wage, and pay equality for women. He also called for investment in jobs and education, instead of jails and incarceration.

"We have more people in jail than any other country on Earth, disproportionately black and Latino," he pointed out, and also called out income inequality.

"When you see that the United States has more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and you see all the new income is going to the top 1 percent, you know and the American people know that that is not moral, not sustainable, and you demand that the wealthiest people in the country and the largest corporations start paying their fair share of taxes."

He said he's opposed to the Keystone pipeline and said Republicans would rather take money from the billionaire Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry rather than protect the planet from the effects of climate change.

Sanders had arrived at the dinner marching with hundreds of supporters, the Des Moines Register reports.

"This march will not only get us to the event tonight, it is a symbolic march," Sanders told his supporters. "[It] makes me think about the great marches for civil rights, immigration reform, social justice, addressing our environmental crises. This is a march which will end up in a year when you will join me in the White House."

Watch Sanders' full speech, as posted to YouTube by LatestNews, here: