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Sanders: I have a "good chance" to win 2016 election

With just two weeks until voting begins in the 2016 primaries and polls showing him closing in on Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is feeling confident.

"I think we have a good chance to win both those states," he said of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold nominating contests. "I think we have a good chance to win this election."

If he does win, Sanders predicted his campaign would come to be known as "one of the great political upsets in modern history."

He is feeling so good, in fact, that the Vermont senator told "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson that while he was watching President Obama's final State of the Union address last week, "the thought did cross my mind" that he could be delivering that address in the near future.

"It's a very humbling feeling," he said, but added a moment later, "It's a long way to go before we talk about inaugural speech, before we toss State of the Union speeches in."

Sanders said he is more electable because he appeals to working class Republicans, Democrats and independents, and predicted that would lead to a large voter turnout that would help Democrats recapture the Senate, House and governor's mansions across the country.

As for comparing his experience to Clinton's, Sanders said the former secretary of state "obviously" has a great deal of experience on foreign affairs.

"But it's not just experience. It is judgment," he said. "Not only did I vote against the war in Iraq, I helped lead the opposition to that war. Hillary Clinton voted for that war, one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of the United States. So you know what? Judgment counts when you're talking about foreign affairs."

Sanders also criticized Clinton's promise to take on Wall Street and her proposal to ensure paid family and medical leave for Americans.

Clinton said on "Face the Nation" last week that she could take on Wall Street "like Nixon going to China."

Sanders disagreed.

"No, it's not Nixon going to China. That is exactly the opposite," he said. "Nixon was a vehement anti-communist who went to China. Hillary Clinton is somebody who has received significant sums of money from Wall Street."

Dickerson noted that Clinton has said she went to Wall Street in 2007 and told them to "cut it out" and change the way they were treating the mortgage market.

"Cutting it out is not good enough," Sanders said. "What the American people are seeing is huge bail out for Wall Street while the middle class continues to disappear."

He also criticized Clinton's plan for paid family and medical leave. Both candidates want to guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave, but the two candidates disagree on how to pay for the measure. Sanders would pay for it with a $1.61 payroll tax. Clinton's plan, meanwhile, would be paid for with a tax on the wealthy.

"It's not a Bernie Sanders plan. Doesn't go anywhere far enough. It's not a plan. It's a vague idea," he said. "If you want something to be long lasting and where the people have ownership of it. They know nothing is for free. You're going have to pay something for it. When you do something like a vague idea, 'Oh, we're going tax the wealthy on this one,' it could disappear tomorrow."

Clinton has sharpened her attacks against Sanders as he has crept upon her in polls and last week her daughter, Chelsea, said Sanders would "dismantle" Obamacare, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and Medicare -- along with private insurance programs.

Sanders called it an "unfortunate statement."

"I've only been spending my entire life making sure that as many people as possible get health insurance," he said. "The Affordable Care Act, which I helped write, which I voted for, supported, has done some good things. No question. But we have got to go beyond that. We've got to join the rest of the industrialized world. Healthcare for all as a right."

But Clinton defended what her daughter had said in a separate "Face the Nation" interview Sunday where she said that Sanders' position was "confusing" because he hadn't actually put out a health care plan yet. She said that the public can only look at the nine bills he has introduced in Congress on the issue, which would hand the responsibility of providing healthcare over to the states who must match what the federal government pays.

"It's not a traditional kind of single-payer system as I understand it," Clinton said. "It is a state-based system kind of similar to Medicaid if you will, and I do think there are very legitimate questions that can be raised."

Sanders also defended himself against attacks from Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has said that rates under a Sanders tax plan could be as high as 90 percent.

"I don't want to shock you on this one, John. Just because Donald Trump says it, may not be exactly the truth. That happens to be a total lie," Sanders said.

He said the public would "absolutely" see a list of tax rates from him soon.

He also defended calling Trump a "pathological liar."

Trump "tells us that the Mexicans who are coming into this country are drug dealers, they are rapists, they're criminals. I mean that's just a lie. But even worse, he goes around saying, 'I, Donald Trump, I saw on television thousands of Muslims celebrating on 9/11 when the Twin Towers went down.' It's a lie. There is no evidence. There was never anything on television. It never happened. He has not apologized. He keeps saying it. That is a pathological lie," he said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.