Following the South Carolina debate, Amer Zahr, a Bernie Sanders' surrogate, on Wednesday was pressed by "America's Newsroom" host Ed Henry about the front-runner's socialist ideas and his comments about the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Zahr said they believe poor people should have health care and that Sanders is "not making a case for socialism," accusing the media of "lying" about the Vermont senator's plans.
"Medicare-for-all is a popular program," Zahr told "America's Newsroom."
"As we know from a recent Yale study, it saves 468 billion dollars over our current health care system and saves 68,000 lives."
Sanders faced sustained attacks from all sides in Tuesday night's rowdy debate, as the self-described democratic socialist battled claims that his sweeping plans were little more than an expensive path to a "catastrophic" rout for Democrats in November.
Fears have spread among the remaining candidates and establishment Democrats that Sanders, fresh off wins in several states, could soon be unstoppable.
The forum, coming ahead of Saturday's primary in South Carolina and next week's pivotal Super Tuesday contests, was easily the most contentious of the primary season to date, as candidates frequently sparred with the moderators and ripped into each other on spending, foreign policy and more.
But Zahr said that Sanders has denounced Castro's dictatorship "at every turn" and that the criticism has been unfair.
"The truth is our ideas are popular with the American people — these are progressive ideas. Socialism means a government takeover of the economy of all the means and production — nobody is talking about that. We're talking about making an economy and having rules — an economic bill of rights to make sure that people are treated fairly and equitably and that's not what's happening now."
Zahr also said that Sanders was the winner after the debate amid the pushback against his comments on Castro.