Chelsea Clinton stands her mother's ground in New Hampshire

  • © Brian Snyder / Reuters

By Amanda Becker

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cannot be in two places at once in the weeks before the first party-nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, but she came close on Tuesday with daughter Chelsea Clinton’s campaign trail debut.

Hillary Clinton was in Iowa discussing how she would tax the wealthiest at a higher rate. Chelsea Clinton was in New Hampshire promoting her mother’s positions on health care and student debt.

It was a day when multiple polls showed that Clinton’s lead over her chief challenger, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has eroded in Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold their nominating contests on Feb. 1 and Feb. 9.

A Quinnipiac University poll showed that Sanders has climbed to 49 percent in Iowa, with a 5 percentage point lead over Clinton. A Monmouth University poll showed Sanders had widened his lead in New Hampshire by 14 points. The polls had an error margin of 4.4 and 4.8 points, respectively.

Chelsea Clinton, 35, highlighted how her mother differs from Sanders, acting as a surrogate to woo younger voters with whom he is particularly popular.

At a stop in Manchester, Sarah Odell, a teacher at a girls’ boarding school in Connecticut, asked why young people should support the former secretary of state.

Chelsea Clinton said Sanders wants to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act and pursue a single-payer system at a time when the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress is intent on undermining President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

“I worry that if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that,” Clinton told Odell, “that will strip millions, millions and millions of people of their health insurance.”

At a women’s event in Portsmouth, Clinton said that another important difference are plans to deal with educational debt. Sanders has said he wants to make higher education free; Clinton has focused on making it more affordable for the poor and middle class.

“She has actually articulated how she is going to pay for all of this, which is a big distinction between her and her main opponent,” Clinton said.

Clinton took questions on the resettlement of the West Bank, cost-of-living adjustments for fixed-income retirees, Wall Street reform and autism, sprinkling anecdotes about baby daughter Charlotte, whom Hillary Clinton often mentions. At times her diction was nearly identical to her mother's.

“It is important to stand your ground, but it is important to find common ground,” Clinton said, echoing a popular campaign-trail riff about bipartisanship.

For more on the 2016 U.S. presidential race and to learn about the undecided voters who determine elections, visit the Reuters website. (http://www.reuters.com/election2016/the-undecided/).

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

SAP is the sponsor of this coverage which is independently produced by the staff of Reuters News Agency.

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