In response, Clinton told the student that there will be "plenty of time” to draw contrasts in the future. She told the reporter that no, she’s not worried. And she told both of them that she’d like, instead, to focus on the Republicans.
She did all of this, by the way, without ever mentioning her democratic challenger's name -- not even once.
Sanders, who is admired for being a political outsider, likewise refuses to attack Clinton on the campaign trail, and does not speak negatively about her on the email issue. However, when asked, he is very quick to outline differences between the two of them on policy issues.
Clinton’s campaign declined to respond to this remark from Sanders, and did not offer any further comment regarding their strategy for dealing with him.
For now, they say, the message within the campaign remains the same: Continue with the plan as planned — and don’t engage.
Sanders, on the other hand, has seen a massive surge. He’s generating huge crowds and filling up stadiums as he campaigns across the country. And although he’s still trailing Clinton in national polls, he is steadily closing in on her. A recent NBC News/Marist poll showed him with a 9-point lead over Clinton in New Hampshire.
Clinton, whose campaign has always tried to tamper any notions of “inevitability” that have often surrounded her, says she’s not surprised by Sanders’ surge — that she always expected a competitive primary. Even so, Clinton continues to ignore the Vermont senator, something that is becoming glaringly obvious as he develops into more of a threat.
Clinton’s rhetoric in public also does not seem to match the conversations happening behind the scenes.
In addition, Clinton’s super-PAC, Correct the Record, has started to circulate negative attacks on Sanders, according to an email sent to the Huffington Post — a sign there is growing concern in Clinton-world.
Meanwhile, Clinton is increasing her media appearances and trying to find new ways to highlight her personality out on the trail.
While Clinton’s decision to ignore Sanders is on one hand a strategy to keep her appearing as the frontrunner. It is, as Clinton would argue, also a testament to a point the democratic candidate repeats often on the campaign trail: That first and foremost, she wants to see a Democrat in the White House come 2017.
Alexander Fox, the 20-year-old college student who asked Clinton about her views on Sanders when she visited his university on Monday in Iowa, seemed to understand and accept this point, despite wishing she had drawn some contrasts.
“I feel like I didn’t get an answer on specifics, but then again I’ll probably have my answer within the month when the debate rolls around,” Fox, who said he is still undecided between Clinton and Sanders, told ABC News. “I feel like she’s also not trying to be slanderous towards him in any way.”
ABC News’ Mary Alice Parks contributed to this report.