Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWisconsin lawmaker gets buzz-cut after vowing not to cut hair until sign language bill passed Democratic debates kick off Iowa summer sprint Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (D-Iowa) on Monday said it is a "myth" that Iowans disliked Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 is not a family affair, for a change New York Democrat pens op-ed on why he opposes impeaching Trump Rob Zombie on canceling 'The Hunt': 'A bulls–-- sacrificial lamb that solves nothing in society' MORE and argued that she is not too conservative for the state’s Democrats.

The senator was asked by MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell if Clinton was “too conservative for Iowa Democrats,” citing criticisms of her foreign policy and ties to Wall Street.


"Not at all," Harkin replied. 

"First of all, there’s a myth that somehow Iowans didn't like Hillary," he continued. "That's just not true. Iowans love her.

"What happened back in 2008 is we had a phenomenon by the name of Barack Obama who came out here early, and got the organization, got all these young people out. And that was sort of the end of it," Harkin said.

Obama's upset victory over Clinton in the 2008 Iowa caucuses helped catapult him to the Democratic nomination. Obama won 36 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent for Clinton. According to exit polls, Obama won voters under the age of 30 by a margin of 57 percent to 11 percent over Clinton. 

Clinton returned to Iowa for the first time since her loss on Sunday for Harkin's Steak Fry. The event is a rite of passage for Democratic presidential hopefuls in Iowa and Harkin praised her there. 

He declined, though, on Monday to offer an early endorsement to Clinton, who has yet to declare a bid.

"I don't feel it's proper for me to pile on and try to force her to do something," Harkin said. "Let her make up her mind. Let her make the decision. And after that, then we'll see what happens."

Early polls for the 2016 caucuses show Clinton has a very large amount of support, far more than any other Democrat. A CNN/ORC poll this month put Clinton at 53 percent in Iowa, well ahead of Vice President Joe Biden in second place at 15 percent. 

Clinton, of course, was thought to be the frontrunner the last time around as well, but her support then was not as dominant. She hovered in the low 30s and high 20s in polls before the 2008 caucuses. 

Clinton's recent paid speeches, including to Goldman Sachs, and her interview last month in The Atlantic, where she appeared more hawkish than Obama on foreign policy, have also fanned speculation about a liberal challenge from Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).   

"I think you're going to see a lot of support for Hillary Clinton," Harkin predicted.