Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is trying to lower expectations in Iowa.
In a New York Times story published Monday, Clinton’s team insists that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) poses a real threat in the first Democratic primary state.
“We take nothing for granted in Iowa because the caucuses are always such a tough proving ground,” said Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook.
An anonymous Clinton adviser further pointed to Sanders’ growing presence on the campaign trail. A Sanders event last week attracted a reported 10,000 supporters, and the campaign recently revealed that it has raised roughly $US15 million since it launched earlier this year.
“I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren’t likely to support Hillary,” the Clinton aide told The Times. “It’s too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We’re working hard to win them over, but yeah, it’s a real competition there.”
Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, also said in a Monday morning interview that their campaign is “worried” about Sanders.
“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Palmieri said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Of course, there’s nothing surprising about a campaign attempting to lower expectations for itself in the early-voting states. Every candidate wants to be able to claim momentum — regardless of what actually happens. And Clinton has long sought to avoid looking like she’s taking her party’s nomination for granted.
For their part, Sanders’ advisers told the Times they “dismissed any notion from Mrs. Clinton’s allies that she was anything but the clear front-runner in Iowa.”
“That’s just political chatter and the usual tactics,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. “What’s important is what we saw at Bernie’s recent event in Wisconsin — a candidate speaking to the issues facing Americans, and 10,000 people coming out for it.”
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