The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sanders says the flak he’s getting from Clinton reminds him of what Obama got in 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at Northstar Elementary School in Knoxville, Iowa, recently. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

CLINTON, Iowa -- Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who’s faced a barrage of attacks in recent days from Hillary Clinton’s camp, on Saturday compared his plight to that of Barack Obama eight years ago.

In the 2008 election, Clinton started as the Democratic front-runner, only to see her lead slip away in the first caucus state to Obama.

“We get attacked about five times a day,” Sanders told a crowd of about 700 people here. “But it really reminds me very much of what happened here in Iowa eight years ago. Remember that? Eight years ago, Obama was being attacked for everything. He was unrealistic. His ideas were pie-in-the sky. He did not have the experience that was needed. You know what? People of Iowa saw through those attacks then, and they’re going to see through those attacks again.”

[Sanders camp calls Clinton ally David Brock a mudslinger]

In recent days, Clinton and her allies have prosecuted several lines of attack against the Vermont senator, raising questions about the depth of his commitment to reproductive rights, calling his single-payer health-care plan unrealistic and suggesting a self-described democratic socialist can’t win the presidency, among other things.

The stepped-up criticism of Sanders has come with polls showing a tight race in Iowa and Sanders holding a lead in New Hampshire, the second nominating state.

“If the polls had us 25 points down today, this would not be happening,” Sanders said in an interview Saturday.

With the Feb. 1 caucuses barely a week off, Sanders returned to Iowa on Saturday after spending two days in New Hampshire. His comments here were at his first event of the day.