Sanders: My campaign's a "bit different" than Trump's

Despite parallels in their candidacies -- which some have called "fringe" -- and the increasing momentum of their campaigns, Bernie Sanders is making it clear: he is not Donald Trump.

"I'm not a billionaire. My family doesn't have a whole lot of money," Sanders said Sunday in an interview with NBC News host Chuck Todd. "We are raising our campaign contributions from 350,000 people, who are contributing, Chuck, on average $31.20 apiece."

"I think," the Independent senator from Vermont added, "that's a little bit different approach than Donald Trump's."

It's a contrast Sanders has highlighted before. Most recently at Saturday's Iowa State Fair visit, Sanders knocked the Republican presidential candidate, who is self-funding his entire White House bid, for his blatant displays of wealth. The billionaire businessman touched down at the fairgrounds via a $7 million private helicopter emblazoned with his name, which Trump later opened up to gaggles of Iowa children for a ride.

When Sanders took the soapbox stage in Des Moines, he apologized that he couldn't compete with the real estate mogul's antics -- Sanders had "left the helicopter at home."

"It's in the garage," Sanders joked with voters over the weekend. "Forgot to bring it."

Even without his own copter, Sanders has been drawing increasingly larger crowds on campaign stops. About 28,000 people attended a rally for the Vermont Independent in Portland last week, and in the day prior to that, thousands more heard Sanders speak in Seattle.

"I think we are resonating all over this country and here in Iowa because we're talking about issues that are life and death issues to the American people," Sanders told NBC News. He listed his campaigns focus on the middle class, wealth and income inequality levels, and health care as issues that voters are deeply concerned with.

So far, the senator's events have been held in liberal strongholds, guaranteeing Sanders a large progressive base interested in his positions. But his campaign is also making gains in early-voting states, including New Hampshire, where a poll released early this week showed him outstripping Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Sanders also addressed another potential rival, this time for the Democratic party's nomination: Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders promised a healthy debate with Biden, who is reportedly still considering a bid for the White House, should he choose to run.

"I have known Joe for many, many years. Everybody who knows Joe likes him and respects him. The decision as to whether he runs is his," the Vermont senator said. "If he does run, I promise him an issue-oriented campaign. We'll debate the major issues facing the American people."