With just one day to go before the critical Iowa Caucuses, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested that rival Hillary Clinton would hurt Democrats' chances of retaking the House of Representatives in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Democratic elected officials and operatives have expressed concern that Sanders would damage candidates in down-ballot races, especially in red and purple states, if he wins the party's nomination. But Sanders said the opposite is true when asked by NBC News' Chuck Todd about his impact on House races Sunday.
"Hillary Clinton will be the problem," Sanders said. "Because I think our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that will result in a high voter turnout. Republicans win when voter turnout is low. Democrats win when voter turnout is high."
Sanders, who trails Clinton in Iowa by just three points in the Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night, downplayed the importance of winning the state's caucuses Monday.
"There's no question, you know, that what happens here is very, very important. And if we can win and pull off a major upset, it will really be a springboard I think to other states," the senator said. "But at the end of the day, I think in terms of the division of delegates, whether you win by two points or you lose by two points, it's not going to matter a whole lot."
Sanders also praised President Obama as doing "a fantastic job" as Clinton tries to drive a wedge between Sanders and Obama. Todd asked Sanders why he approvingly blurbed a book by liberal radio host Bill Press with the title "Buyer's Remorse: How Obama let Progressives Down." Sanders said the economy has improved under Obama, but added, "what we have got to do is to involve people in the political process in a way that we have not done. The reason that the rich get richer, everybody else gets poorer, is big money controls what goes on in Congress. The answer though to that is a political revolution involving people in the political process."
And on a recent policy spat between the candidates, Sanders said that Clinton's team made "absolutely an outrageous and incorrect statement" about his single-payer healthcare plan. Clinton and her campaign suggested that Sanders will dismantle the Affordable Care to make way for his plan, but Sanders says his plan would expand on the goals of the health law.