Associated Press

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Bernie Sanders is pronouncing himself startled by the ferocity of Hillary Clinton’s attempts to take him down, saying she’s coming "unraveled" by his progress in the Democratic presidential campaign.

The Vermont senator used unusually blunt words to express frustration with his opponent when he spoke to reporters Saturday before flying to Colorado for a Democratic dinner at which both were scheduled to appear.

Clinton, in the latest debate, in speeches and in her campaign’s ads and those of her allies has sharpened her argument in recent days that Sanders, an avowed socialist, is pitching unrealistic domestic ideas, lacks foreign policy depth and can’t match her commitment to minority voters, important constituencies in the coming contests in South Carolina and Nevada. And on Saturday, she kept up the pressure at a union rally in Henderson, Nevada, saying the Sanders health plan would "cost an enormous amount in taxes for every single American."

Sanders has only fitfully gone back at Clinton when she’s gone after him, but he suggested Saturday that his patience is wearing thin.

"This is obviously my first national campaign," Sanders said, "but I am really stunned by some of the attacks we are getting from Secretary Clinton. Clearly they have been unraveled by the results in Iowa, by our victory in New Hampshire and the progress we are making all over this country."

And on foreign policy, he said, "I do get a little bit tired of being lectured by the Clinton people." He raised again her Senate vote in favor of invading Iraq and said that on the most important foreign policy issue in modern times, "I voted the right way, she voted the wrong way."

At her Henderson rally, Clinton pitched herself as the Democrat who will "take on every barrier to progress," not just economic ones. Her implication was clear: Sanders is a one-issue candidate, driven solely by income inequality and what he sees as a rigged financial system.

"Not everything is about an economic theory, right?" she asked. "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow – and I will, if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk – would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?"

Clinton and Sanders were in Nevada to campaign for the state’s Democratic caucuses in a week.


Rindels reported from Henderson.

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