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Warren 'disappointed' that Sanders reportedly 'sending his volunteers out to trash me'

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By Allan Smith and Ali Vitali and Deepa Shivaram and Molly Roecker with NBC News Politics
Image: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a campaign event in Iowa o
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a campaign event in Iowa on Jan. 12, 2020.   -   Copyright  Patrick Semansky AP
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Marshalltown, IOWA — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Sunday called on Sen. Bernie Sanders, her fellow 2020 Democratic presidential contender, to turn his campaign "in a different direction" after it reportedly provided talking points to its volunteers instructing them to paint Warren as the candidate of elites in conversations with voters.

"I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me," she told NBC News. "Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time. He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for and the coalition and grassroots movement we are trying to build. Democrats want to win in 2020 we all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016 and we can't have a repeat of that."

Warren added that Democrats "need to unite our party."

"We cannot nominate someone who takes big chunks of the Democratic Coalition for granted," she added. "We need someone who will bring our party together. We need someone who will excite every part of the Democratic Party, someone who will be there. Someone that every Democrat can believe in. I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction."

Warren's comments followed a report from Politico which saidthat Sanders' campaign is providing talking points to volunteers that say Warren is the candidate of elites who will not expand the Democratic base. The script, obtained by Politico, instructs volunteers to say Warren's supporters "are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what" and that "she's bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party."

The Sanders campaign declined to comment to Politico but did not challenge the authenticity of the document. The Sanders campaign also declined comment to NBC News.

This appears to be the first time that Warren has issued a direct shot at Sanders during the campaign. In the past, she's declined to draw any differences between her and Sanders, when asked by reporters and even when asked by voters. She'll often say she and Sanders are friends and that she's not here to comment on other campaigns.

Sanders, I-Vt., has jumped into first place in both Iowa and New Hampshire, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. He and his campaign have increasingly taken aim at his top rivals, such as Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, as the first contests approach.

President Donald Trump has taken notice of Sanders' improved standing on Sunday, tweeting, "Wow!"

"Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party," Trump wrote. "So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!"

"It means you're going to lose," Sanders fired back.