Hillary Clinton tempers Sanders critique in New Hampshire

Story highlights

  • Clinton was far less combative in New Hampshire and focused more on her policy proposals than she did on contrasting herself with the Vermont senator
  • Clinton was not so gentle at an event on Thursday when she delivered a blistering assessment of Sanders' credentials in Iowa

Rochester, New Hampshire (CNN)Hillary Clinton did not bring up Bernie Sanders once in her first event of a day-long swing through New Hampshire on Friday, a dramatic departure from the tone she took on Thursday in Iowa.

Clinton was far less combative in New Hampshire -- the state next to the Vermont senator's home, where he holds a commanding 27-point lead over Clinton in the latest CNN/WMUR poll -- and focused more on her policy proposals than she did on contrasting herself with the Vermont senator whose favorable rating, in both internal and external polls, is exceedingly high. Some Clinton advisers have expressed concern about going after Sanders in his neighboring state given how voters in the state feel about him.
The former secretary of state was not so gentle at an Indianola, Iowa, event on Thursday when she delivered a blistering assessment of Sanders' credentials, imploring Iowa voters to scrutinize his policies and readiness for the White House.
"I am not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world," Clinton said. "I care about making a real difference in your life and that gets to the choice you have to make in this caucus."
    Sanders' name came up throughout the speech, which amounted to the more forceful and direct contrast Clinton has been drawing with Sanders.
    Instead, Clinton touted herself in New Hampshire, telling voters at the Rochester Opera House that she will work for "what is achievable, what is smart, what will work." She thanked those supporters who were with her and told those in the audience who were still "shopping" that she hoped she could win them over before the primary.
    The speech was reminiscent of remarks Clinton delivered earlier in the campaign, when she focused on her record and her vision, not her opponents' differences and deficiencies.
    "I believe we can wage an election based on what is achievable, what is smart, what will work," Clinton told the crowd in Rochester. "At the end of this process, we need a president who can do all aspects of the job. There's no way to avoid it."
    Sanders' candidacy has channeled voter frustration with the status quo, and while Clinton acknowledged that in her remarks, she also warned voters not to jeopardize what had already been accomplished.
    "When I look at where we are today, I know how worried and, yes, even angry people are and I think folks have good cause to be both," Clinton said, later drawing focus to one issue where she has sought to draw a contrast with Sanders: health care.
    "I know we can make it better, but I sure also know we don't want to go back into a really contentious national debate on health care. That is a recipe for gridlock. People will lose what they have. People will not be focused on improving what we have achieved," Clinton said.