Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to Perez: 'The same-old, same-old is not working' GOP blasts Dems for electing 'D.C. insider' as new chairman Perez appoints Ellison deputy DNC chair MORE (I-Vt.) drew an outpouring of applause Saturday for saying he is "not that much of a socialist" compared to former Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.
Sanders, who has been viewed skeptically by some in the Democratic establishment for his avowed socialist beliefs, brought levity to CBS’s presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, when asked about his fiscal policy.
Asked how high he would hike taxes if elected president, Sanders, who has not yet revealed his tax plan, said: "We haven't come up with an exact number yet, but it won't be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower."
He claimed the income tax rate reached higher than 90 percent during the Eisenhower presidency in the 1950s.
"I'm not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower," Sanders said. "But we are going to end the absurdities."
Sanders, on stage with competitors Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley, said he would hike taxes on the wealthy to provide public college free for all, increase Social Security benefits and spend big on infrastructure.
"In the last 30 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth," Sanders said.
"I know that term gets my Republican friends nervous. Problem is, this redistribution has gone in the wrong direction ... to the top one-tenth of 1 percent."