FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign stop in Hooksett, New Hampshire, U.S., September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday he does not intend to scale back his presidential campaigning after a heart attack, saying he had not intended to give the impression he was slowing down.
“I misspoke the other day. I said a word I should not have said and media drives me a little bit nuts to make a big deal about it,” Sanders said in an interview with NBC News. “We’re going to get back into the groove of a very vigorous campaign. I love doing rallies and I love doing town meetings.”
“I want to start off slower and build up and build up and build up.”
Sanders, 78, who is one of the top three contenders among the 19 Democrats seeking to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, suffered chest pains on Oct. 1 while in Nevada for a campaign stop and abruptly canceled campaign events.
He told reporters outside his home in Burlington, Vermont, on Tuesday that he had wrongly ignored warning signs about his health. He said he would still actively campaign but could “change the nature of the campaign a bit” and “make sure that I have the strength to do what I have to do.”
In the NBC interview, Sanders rejected criticism that his campaign was not forthright about the heart attack, since it initially told reporters there was a blockage in his artery.
“That’s nonsense,” he said, explaining he and his family were dealing with multiple doctors and trying to figure out what had happened – not what to tell the media.
Sanders, the oldest candidate in the Democratic field, told NBC he planned to release all of his medical records, but did not say when. He plans on participating in next week’s fourth Democratic presidential debate.
“I’m healthy and we’re going to run a vigorous campaign and we’re going to win this thing,” he said.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Peter Cooney