Sanders isn't buying Clinton's expectations game

Story highlights

  • Bernie Sanders isn't buying spin by the Hillary Clinton campaign that she's got a huge disadvantage here in New Hampshire because of his Vermont ties
  • He predicted a tight race next week

Concord, New Hampshire (CNN)Bernie Sanders isn't buying spin by the Hillary Clinton campaign that she's got a huge disadvantage here in New Hampshire because of his Vermont ties.

On a day when Hillary Clinton repeatedly tried to lower expectations for her performance here next Tuesday night, Sanders argued to reporters that she has many built-in advantages in the Granite State. He predicted a tight race next week.
The Vermont senator has consistently led Clinton in New Hampshire polls -- sometimes by more than 20 points. But he laughed Wednesday when a reporter asked how much of his lead here should be attributed to his residency in a neighboring state.
    "In case anybody doesn't know it," he said, "in 2008 Secretary Clinton ran for president and she actually won here in the state of New Hampshire. She campaigned here in 2008. She won the state. She has very significant political connections. She has the support of virtually the entire political establishment here in New Hampshire."
    Sanders acknowledged that many New Hampshire voters, particularly along the state line, are familiar with his record, but he also noted that she is an international figure well known around the world.
    "At the beginning of this campaign, truthfully, if they did a poll about how many people in New Hampshire knew Hillary Clinton, how many people knew Bernie Sanders, I expect more people would have known Hillary Clinton, although I am fairly well known in this state," he said.
    Apart from Clinton's own history here, the Vermont senator noted that her husband, Bill Clinton, ran for president here twice.
    "I think that argument -- that the only reason we're doing well, hopefully, here in New Hampshire because we're from a neighboring state, is not totally true," he said.
    Sanders said he expected a "very difficult race."
    "We take nothing for granted, and some of the polls I've been seeing are completely inaccurate," he said. "I think this is going to be a very hard fought race in the next week, we are going to be holding as many rallies, and meeting as many people as we can ... We really think we can win."
    He also disputed the argument by Clinton allies that she would be the stronger general election candidate for Democrats. Sanders urged voters weighing that theory to look at the polling match-ups between him and Donald Trump, as well as other GOP candidates.
    "I believe we are the stronger campaign to defeat that right wing Republican," he said. "The way Democrats win elections is when there is a large voter turnout ... I think our campaign has the capability to bring out a lot of working people, a lot of young people who in the past have not been involved in politics."
    When it comes to the question of electability, he argued, "Our campaign is the campaign."