Bernie Sanders appeared on CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin today with a red balloon clinging to the top of his head.
Baldwin opened the interview with physical cues for the senator to recognize the balloon clinging to him. Silence followed the multiple failed attempts to get Sanders to take the balloon off until he said, “The balloon on my head is not important. What is important is that the American people cannot go another day wondering if they can afford their healthcare.”
According to a crew member, producers for the show grew increasingly distressed over the distracting balloon fixed to the presidential candidate’s head. But they were repeatedly thwarted by Sanders in their attempts to remove it. At one point during the live segment, a hand reached into the frame motioning toward Sanders’ head only to be pushed away by the senator as he emphasized, “Forget about the balloon. I’m talking about something that is of great concern to the American people. They’re not concerned about a balloon.”
Live tweets during the broadcast drew speculation around the origin of the balloon. One user shared a photo of Sanders at a rally from two days ago with raining red balloons. Some balloons at the rally were the same color and shape as the balloon stuck on his head during the news program. After the show, Sanders addressed the thousands of tweets pointing out the balloon on his head with a tweet of his own stating, “If we cared about the bottom 99% like we care about the balloon, the middle class in this country wouldn’t be in the position it’s in today.”
Following the interview, the Sanders’ campaign released a statement on the balloon incident. Campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs said, “Yes, the balloon remains on Senator Sanders’ head. This campaign’s priority right now is policy and not the balloon.” When Briggs was questioned about removing the balloon, he said, “When I reached for it after it first clung to his head, he told me I was wasting time on trivial things and that I should be focused on finding more campaign volunteers.”
According to a daily tracking poll, Sanders is up half a percent since appearing live on CNN with the balloon on his head. The campaign has decided to move forward with the balloon and are currently testing the slogan, “The Balloon Belongs.”