MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and former host Alex Wagner said on Wednesday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' bump in polling and fundraising was a "damning" indictment of Hillary Clintons's appeal to Democratic voters.
"Bernie Sanders may win Iowa and maybe even New Hampshire," Wagner said on The Last Word. "For the Hillary Clinton campaign, that is a damning emerging consensus."
Sanders (I., Vt.) exceeded expectations in campaign contributions in the third quarter, reporting contributions of over $25 million to Clinton's $28 million over that time period.
Sanders is still outgunned by Clinton financially. She has raised over $75 million in the primary, and does not share Sanders' ideological aversion to SuperPACs, which means she will benefit from an infusion of outside money from Priorities USA Action.
Still, the candidates' third quarter fundraising hauls are dramatically different from their hauls one quarter before, when Sanders raised only $15.2 million to Clinton's $47.5 million. Sanders is closing the gap, and O'Donnell said that raises concerns about Clinton's campaign.
"I find it stunning that Bernie Sanders is so close to Hillary Clinton on total dollars raised," he said. "That makes it a very unimpressive outcome for Hillary Clinton. She's the one that everyone said had the giant fundraising capacity."
Sanders has pulled ahead of Clinton in recent polling in New Hampshire, a key early primary state. Several polls also put Sanders in first place in Iowa. Sanders, a democratic socialist known for his mild demeanor in small settings and fire-breathing speeches before large audiences, has excited the liberal base of the Democratic Party.
Clinton, the establishment candidate, has struggled to generate enthusiasm as her private email use undergoes an FBI investigation, and her honesty numbers have particularly suffered over the course of the controversy. There were new revelations about Russian-linked hackers who tried to access her private server while she was at the State Department.