Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said on Sunday he plans to give a major speech soon to explain his belief in democratic socialism, acknowledging the political label could be a stumbling block to winning over American voters.
The US senator from Vermont, who touted his democratic socialist views in last week's Democratic presidential debate, said many Americans misunderstand socialism and did not recognize it in popular government programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
"I think there are a lot of people who, when they hear the word 'socialist,' get very, very nervous," Sanders told reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa, the state that on Feb. 1 starts the 2016 Democratic nominating contest leading up to the November 2016 election.
"What we're probably going to do to begin with is hold a major speech in the not-too-distant future to define exactly what I mean by democratic socialism," Sanders told a supporter in Iowa City who asked how he would counteract political attacks on his socialist views.
"To me, democratic socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people in the country," Sanders said.