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22 Jun, 2019 01:09

PHOTO of Warren & Sanders flying coach sends pundits and Twitterati into frenzy

PHOTO of Warren & Sanders flying coach sends pundits and Twitterati into frenzy

A photo showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren sitting just behind her fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders on a flight to Florida has sparked all manner of speculation about its political implications.

With days left before the first Democratic primary debates, Sanders and Warren were pictured on Thursday flying from Washington into Miami, Florida, where the first round will take place on June 26-27.

The photo, taken by the Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons, shows both presidential contenders in window seats on the left side of the plane, with Warren directly behind Sanders.

The Massachusetts senator appears to be deep in thought, somewhat resembling Rodin’s The Thinker, with her eyes shut and hand resting against her cheek. The Vermonter seems to be more at ease, looking through the window, or as a user summed it up: “He's wool-gathering. She's writing her next policy proposal using Jedi mind magic.”

Some have suggested that Warren, who has been steering further left in her quest to drum up progressive support, should have taken a leaf from Sanders’ book while she could, literally.

“I'm surprised she's not looking over his shoulder for her next plan,” a user quipped.

“So THAT'S where she's getting her plans!” another chimed in.

The irony of the fact that both progressive hopefuls were sitting to the left of the aisle was not lost on commentators either.

“No surprise that Bernie and Warren both sit on the far left of the plane.”

Others pointed out that the seating arrangement mirrored the polling situation, where Warren is closing in on Sanders and even overtaking him in some of the latest national polls.

A recent Economist/YouGov poll put Warren at 16 percent against Sanders’ 12 percent.

Commenting on Warren’s rise, Sanders suggested that it might be partially due to Warren being a woman, a remark that did not sit well with some of his base.

Some wondered how it happened that only Sanders and Warren happened to share the same flight, with 20 candidates having qualified for the debates.

Sanders is no stranger to starring in viral plane photos. During the 2016 campaign, his habit of flying coach inspired a hashtag #SandersOnAPlane, with users posting photos of the senator on commercial flights. One photo of him sitting in the middle seat even became a widely shared meme.

While Sanders flew economy class early in his campaign in 2015, he began using charter travel more often after he was placed under the protection of Secret Service. 

Last year, it was revealed that Sanders spent nearly $300,000 on private air travel in the run-up to the November mid-term elections in just one month, as he was campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates in nine states.

Sanders was often compared to his former rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, who preferred private travel. Federal Election Commission documents at the time revealed that her campaign spent over $2 million on private charters from June 2015 to January 2016.

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