Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire Wednesday, bluntly admitted how much more difficult than expected Hillary Clinton’s race for the Democratic presidential nomination has become.

“This has turned into an interesting election,” the candidate’s husband told a rally in Salem. “We’re fighting it out in Iowa. We’ve got a little lead that I think is solidifying and maybe growing a little bit. We’re on a home-field disadvantage here.”

With less than two weeks before the first ballots of the election are cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton, who promised that she would “work for every vote,” is having to do just that. News of endorsements withheld and renewed questions about her e-mail practices as secretary of state continued the drip-drip-drip of small setbacks that have prevented her from gaining the traction she needs to stride confidently into the first contests. Instead, she and her team seem to be trying to navigate a slippery floor.

Most of all, the Clinton campaign itself—through its stepped-up activity against her chief rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont—suggested that the once-prohibitive Democratic front-runner sees herself in a competitive battle with a septuagenarian self-described socialist.

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