Former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonThe Trail 2016: Just a little kick Clinton: Cuban 'unsettled' Trump at debate Eric Trump: Bill Clinton may be the worst sexist 'that ever lived' MORE says that 2016 won’t be a replay of 2008 for wife Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThe Trail 2016: Just a little kick Clinton gets ‘little kick’ in post-debate polls CNN graphic asks: Why is Gary Johnson still in the race? MORE, because Bernie SandersBernie SandersAnti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Vulnerable NH Republican ties reelection bid to Trump Overnight Finance: Congress poised to avoid shutdown | Yellen defends Fed from Trump | Why Obama needs PhRMA on trade MORE doesn’t have the political skills of President Obama.
Speaking to NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell at an event in Nashua, N.H., on Tuesday, Bill Clinton said this presidential cycle bares no resemblance to 2008, when an insurgent Obama rode a wave of youthful enthusiasm to the Democratic presidential nomination over Hillary Clinton.
“This is very different, it's very different,” Bill Clinton said.
Asked directly if Bernie Sanders was similar to then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in 2008, Bill Clinton responded: “No, no don't give me that ... let's not play cheap games here.”
Hillary Clinton squeaked by Sanders in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night in a race that was too close to call until Tuesday. Sanders, though, is heavily favored to win in New Hampshire, the next state to vote on Feb. 9.
Bill Clinton sought to temper expectations for his wife heading into the first-in-the-nation primary state, arguing that Sanders should be favored because he hails from neighboring Vermont.
“Nobody from a state bordering New Hampshire has ever lost a Democratic primary to a non-incumbent president,” he said.
Bill Clinton was pressed on why Sanders is doing so much better than Hillary Clinton among young voters. He said it’s because young people believe “the system is rigged” and that Sanders is the only one making wild promises about how to fix it.
“It’s easy ... and emotionally satisfying,” he said. “People have waited a long time, and ... young people are full of anxiety about how to finance college or if they're out and get credit to start a new business and buy a home.”
Bill Clinton said his wife’s campaign can fight back by taking the message to young people about “what you think will really work and what we can afford” to do.
“It takes longer,” he acknowledged, for that message to catch on.
“I think, in a way, this Iowa thing is a very good thing because it enables us as citizens now to focus on what their differences are on issues and ... their differences are on how they would approach the job and get positive change,” he said.