Stumping for her mother for the first time in 2016 on Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton directly criticized Bernie Sanders on health care policy, echoing Hillary Clinton’s recent attacks on the Vermont senator.
Asked about mounting enthusiasm for Sanders among young people, the daughter of the Democratic presidential frontrunner urged younger voters to focus on the “specifics” of Sanders’ policy proposals.
“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance," she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. "I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era -- before we had the Affordable Care Act -- that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance."
In a statement, Sanders spokeswoman Arianna Jones said that Clinton's attacks are "wrong."
"It is time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world and provide health care as a right to every man, woman and child," she said. "A Medicare-for-all plan will save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year. Further, the Clinton campaign is wrong. Our plan will be implemented in every state in the Union regardless of who is governor."
Clinton also took a question about Sanders’ policies on education –- the focus of Chelsea Clinton’s New Hampshire swing.
"There’s a $19 trillion gap, give or take, in what Senator Sanders has proposed and how he he’s articulated paying for his proposals.So that to me is troubling” the daughter of Secretary Clinton said.
The attacks are similar to charges made by Hillary Clinton herself in recent days. But they show that Chelsea Clinton, who has largely avoided the campaign spotlight, is not shy about using her role as a campaign surrogate to hit Sanders on policy issues.
While Clinton leads Sanders among Democrats nationally by 15 points, according to a NBC News|SurveyMonkey online poll released Tuesday, the former first lady struggles against Sanders with young people. Among Democratic voters under 24 years old, 68 percent say they back Sanders, while just 26 percent support Clinton.
Earlier Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton also described the birth of her first child as “one of the real reasons” why Hillary Clinton decided to pursue another presidential run.
“Becoming a grandmother has only deepened my mother's resolve to work on issues like those related to early learning and early childhood that have brought us here today, and also was one of the real reasons why she decided to run for president,” the younger Clinton said at an event in New Hampshire focused on early childhood education. “To help ensure that every child would have the opportunities that we will be blessed to be able to provide our daughter, because she knows that that’s not only the right thing to do for our country, but also because she wants that to be the country that Charlotte grows up in and the friends and the colleagues that she will make and enjoy over the years.”
During the first of three campaign events slated for Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton said that “one of the great gifts” of motherhood has been watching her own mother settle into a new role in the family.
“I didn’t know when I became a mom, that one of the great gifts I would receive would be watching my parents as grandparents,” she said, describing how her parents enjoy singing “Wheels on the Bus” with granddaughter Charlotte, who was born in September 2014.
She is expecting her second child this year.