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Clinton Casts Race Between Her And Sanders As "Reality" Vs. "Theory"

Days before the Iowa caucus, Clinton questions Sanders' ability to deliver on his proposals, saying, "He’s introduced his health care plan nine times. But he never got even a single vote in the House, or a single Senate co-sponsor. Not one."

Posted on January 21, 2016, at 2:33 p.m. ET

Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Democratic caucuses here on Feb. 1, according to Hillary Clinton, come down to a simple, single choice: the difference between between “reality” and “theory.”

At the first of three stops across Iowa on Thursday, with 600 people packed into an atrium at Simpson College, Clinton flatly promised that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s single-payer health care plan would never pass Congress. “I’ll tell ya,” she said, “I’m not interested in ideas that sound good on paper that will never make it to the real world. And that gets us to the choice that you have to make in this caucus.”

Clinton began her remarks here by stressing that, compared to the candidates on the Republican side, she and Sanders disagree on relatively little. “But we have different records and different ideas about how to drive progress,” she said.

In recent weeks, Clinton has honed in on her rival’s health care plan, telling voters in Iowa and New Hampshire that his would dismantle the Affordable Health Care and start from scratch. But with two weeks before the caucuses, she took her comments further, framing Sanders’s plan as an empty promise — and his record in Congress as the proof.

“Sen. Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years. He’s introduced his health care plan nine times. But he never got even a single vote in the House, or a single Senate co-sponsor. Not one,” Clinton said.

“Now he has a new plan. You hear a promise to build a whole new system. But that’s not what you’ll get. You’ll get gridlock, an endless wait for advances that will never come.”

Clinton’s health plan is aimed at lowering prescription drug costs and targeted fixes to the existing Affordable Care Act. “I know Sen. Sanders cares about covering more people as I do. But rather than build on the progress we’ve made, he wants to start over from scratch with a whole new system."

“Now, in theory, there’s a lot to like about some of his ideas. But ‘in theory’ isn’t enough. A president has to deliver in reality,” Clinton said to applause and cheering in the room.

At these last stops across Iowa before the caucuses, flanked by her campaign’s signature “Fighting For Us” signs, Clinton has taken to naming the men and women she’s met in her nine months on the campaign trail, people who’ve shared their problems and need urgent, pragmatic solutions, she says. “The people I’ve met can’t wait.”

“The grandmother who has to chose between paying for medicine and paying the rent can’t wait. The single mom who desperately needs a raise can’t wait. The student with a mountain of debt can’t wait. You can’t wait, and neither can out country.”

Her message to voters here could be summed up in Clinton’s last lines to Indianola, before stepping down from the stage for pictures and handshakes. “I’m listening to you. I’m fighting for you. And with your help as president, I will deliver for you.”