FORT DODGE, Iowa — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders sought to chip away at one of rival Hillary Clinton’s chief arguments against him Tuesday, saying that the enthusiasm surrounding his White House bid puts him in the strongest position to increase voter turnout and defeat a Republican in the November election.
Opening a four-stop swing through Iowa, Sanders also predicted a “very close” race with Clinton in the state’s lead-off caucus on Feb. 1.
“Today the inevitable candidate doesn’t look quite so inevitable as she did 8 ½ months ago,” Sanders said during a town hall meeting on a frigid morning in Fort Dodge.
The Democratic race has become increasingly heated in recent days as Sanders challenges Clinton’s lead in Iowa. He also appears to also have an edge over Clinton in New Hampshire, which votes second.
Seeking to blunt Sanders’ momentum, Clinton has suggested that nominating the self-declared democratic socialist would be the party at risk of losing to Republicans in November. Clinton has also accused the senator of flip-flopping on guns and also called his health care proposal expensive and unrealistic.
Asked by a voter how he would get a divided Congress to rally behind his plans, Sanders said it would depend on Americans “standing up saying enough is enough.”
Still, Sanders — who has served in Congress since 1991 — said he opposed term limits on lawmakers, calling it “an easy way out of a complicated problem.”
Sanders also renewed his call for breaking up big Wall Street banks, one of the central tenets of his campaign. However, he did not repeat his criticism of Clinton for accepting speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, one of his most stinging attacks against the former secretary of state during Sunday’s Democratic debate.