Team Clinton ‘worried’ about Bernie Sanders campaign

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDebate of century lives up to its billing Trump offers support for banning gun sales to terror suspects Five takeaways from wild debate MORE’s campaign is “worried” about Bernie SandersBernie SandersDebate of century lives up to its billing Trump: It's not certain Russia hacked DNC Sanders warns: Debate is not ‘entertainment show’ MORE, whom a top Clinton aide described as a “serious force” in the 2016 battle.

“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday in an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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“It's to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he’s going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus.”

Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, has emerged as Clinton's main foil in the Democratic primary.

While he's still more than 40 percentage points behind Clinton in virtually all national polls, he's greatly improved his stock in the early primary states. 

A new Quinnipiac University poll released last week found he doubled his share of Democratic supporters in Iowa in just seven weeks. Some polls in New Hampshire show Sanders less than 10 points behind Clinton.

Palmieri said Sanders's rise won't prompt a shift toward negative campaigning and that Sanders's strong crowds only underscore the differences in the campaigning tactics between the two campaigns. 

“We don’t need to attack each other. He'll run his campaign, we'll run ours. The imperatives for us are different. We think what works for her, particularly in Iowa, is doing a lot of small events, staying a long time, being one of the last people, if not the last person, to leave the room. That works better for us right now,” she said.

“It's going to be a slog, but I feel like she will win.”