He's a presidential candidate, a socialist and a senator from Vermont, but the accent of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tells a different story. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, and Michael Scotto visited Sanders' old neighborhood to see how it helped mold Sanders into who he is today.
Well before Sen. Bernie Sanders became a fiery socialist running for president, his old friends say he was a quiet guy.
"I don't think he was very outgoing at all," said Steve Slavin, Sanders' high school classmate.
Steve Slavin and Lou Howort ran track with Sanders at Brooklyn's James Madison High School. They all grew up in Midwood.
Sanders lived in a rent-controlled building on East 26th Street. He attended P.S. 197 and later Madison, where many students went on to big things. Sanders graduated in 1959.
"Parents had aspirations for their children," Slavin said. "Mothers would be meeting other mothers on Kings Highway, boasting, 'My kid did this, my kid did that.'"
While Sanders, they say, wasn't one to brag, he was an achiever, writing for the school paper and becoming one of the best long-distance runners at school.
"He had great endurance," Slavin said.
It was here that hints of Sanders' political future began to emerge. He was elected class president, and in a race for school president, while other candidates talked about the prom, Sanders wanted to raise money for Korean War orphans.
His older brother Larry, now living in Britain, said Roosevelt and Hitler had a profound effect on them.
"Jewish boys growing up in that time couldn't but be aware just how important politics is," Larry Sanders said. "It's a matter of life and death."
But inside the apartment, Larry Sanders said the family rarely talked politics. Money problems and their mother's heart condition overshadowed almost everything else. Their mom died in 1960.
His mother's health was the main reason Sanders spent a year at Brooklyn College, living in a small room with Slavin.
"Bernie was the cook because he knew how to warm up, he knew how to heat spaghetti," Slavin said.
The two lost touch when Sanders left for the University of Chicago and then Vermont, where his political life, rooted in Brooklyn, would begin to take off.