Speaking to an energized crowd of more than 500 people at Simpson College, Clinton launched attacks on the Vermont senator for his health care plan and foreign policy to make the case that she’s the more qualified candidate to be president.
“Rather than build on the progress we’ve made, he wants to start over from scratch with a whole new system,” Clinton said, referring to Sanders’ single-payer health care plan. "Now in theory, there is a lot to like about some of his ideas. But in theory, is it enough? A president has to deliver in reality.”
"I’m not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world," she added.
Clinton’s comments were a slight change in tone for the Democratic presidential candidate, who last night appeared much more reflective and contemplative about the process during a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa.
New polls in Iowa and New Hampshire show Clinton losing her lead in the early voting states, and her campaign is bracing for a possible upset when the voting begins in less than two weeks.
Today, Clinton made clear she is gearing up for the fight -- adding a new section to her speech focused on Sanders’ foreign policy.
“Now, Senator Sanders doesn’t talk much about foreign policy, but when he does it raises concerns, because sometimes it can sound like he hasn’t really thought it through,” she said. "For example, he suggested we invite Iranian troops into Syria. That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter. As bad as things are in Syria, and they are, more Iranian troops will only make it worse.”
Clinton was referring to a remark Sanders made at the Democratic debate on Sunday when asked whether it’s time to restore diplomatic relations with Iran and reopen the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
“I think what we have got to do is move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran, understanding that Iran’s behavior in so many ways is something that we can disagree with,” Sanders replied.
Clinton’s campaign jumped on Sanders’ proposal to normalize relations with Iran. Earlier today, the campaign released a Web video knocking Sanders for his answer, and her top aides are expected to hold a conference call with reporters on the topic on this afternoon.
Earlier this week, Sanders responded to the Clinton campaign’s critique of his foreign policy by comparing his Democratic challenger to Dick Cheney.
"In terms of experience, Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State for four years, and that gives her a lot of experience…but there is a difference between experience and judgment,” Sanders told reporters in Underwood, Iowa on Tuesday. “Dick Cheney had a lot of experience. A whole lot of people have experience ,but they don’t necessarily have the right judgment. I think I have the right judgment to conduct sensible foreign policy.”