Bernie Sanders dismissed concerns that he is too far left to win a general election, claiming he is a more electable presidential candidate than Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Sanders: I'm the most electable
"Democrats win when there is a large voter turnout," said Sanders, laying out his theory of the race to the New Hampshire audience in Thursday night's MSNBC debate.
"I believe that our campaign up to now has shown that we can create an enormous amount of enthusiasm from working people, from young people, who will get involved in the political process and which will drive us to a very large voter turnout," the Vermont senator said.
Sanders predicted that if he is nominated he will not only retain the White House but help Democrats regain the Senate and "win governor's chairs up and down the line."
"I believe that if you want to retain the White House, if you want to see Democrats do well across the board, I think our campaign is the one that creates the large voter turnout and helps us win."
MSNBC debate moderator Rachel Maddow then asked Clinton whether, with Sanders standing next to her, she could say whether she believes the Independent lawmaker could win the general election if nominated.
Clinton initially ducked the question, saying, "I can only tell you what I believe and that is I am the strongest candidate to take it to the Republicans and win in November."
But then she echoed an attack line used by her surrogates across the country, including sitting senators such as Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who have said that electing Sanders would make life near impossible for down-ticket Democrats because Republicans could run ads painting Sanders — and thus the entire party — as communists.
"I am concerned about the views of many Democrats who know their states, who know how hard it is to win a general election," the former secretary of State said.
"And it also will put whoever the nominee is into the spotlight," she added.
"I've been vetted. There's hardly anything you don't know about me."