Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire Wednesday, bluntly admitted how much more difficult than expected Hillary Clinton’s race for the Democratic presidential nomination has become.
“This has turned into an interesting election,” the candidate’s husband told a rally in Salem. “We’re fighting it out in Iowa. We’ve got a little lead that I think is solidifying and maybe growing a little bit. We’re on a home-field disadvantage here.”
With less than two weeks before the first ballots of the election are cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton, who promised that she would “work for every vote,” is having to do just that. News of endorsements withheld and renewed questions about her e-mail practicesas secretary of state continued the drip-drip-drip of small setbacks that have prevented her from gaining the traction she needs to stride confidently into the first contests. Instead, she and her team seem to be trying to navigate a slippery floor.
Most of all, the Clinton campaign itself—through its stepped-up activity against her chief rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont—suggested that the once-prohibitive Democratic front-runner sees herself in a competitive battle with a septuagenarian self-described socialist.
“Hillary does not consider Planned Parenthood a member of the establishment and I don’t see how anybody else could,” her husband told an audience in Concord. He was responding to Sanders’ characterization a day earlier of the women’s reproductive rights group that Republicans in Congress have sought to defund and that endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The nation needs “not anger but answers,” the former president went on to say, taking on Sanders’ efforts to portray Clinton as an insider and himself as an agent of change. “I think you should vote for her because she is the best change-maker I’ve ever met,” he said of his wife.
“The real issue is: Who can win the election? Who’s prepared the do the job? Who can make real change?” the former president added.
Until now, Bill Clinton has more often cast his wife as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and focused on Republicans as the enemy, while ignoring or downplaying Sanders.
But Hillary Clinton took a more aggressive approach than in the past to Sanders in Sunday’s primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina. One day after her foreign policy surrogates questioned Sanders’ readiness, Clinton told NPR that Sanders’ comments about the Middle East are cause for “concern,” questioning his