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Clinton, Obama Battle for Votes Ahead of Pennsylvania Primary

In U.S. politics, all eyes are on Pennsylvania as that eastern state holds a crucial primary election. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from Pittsburgh that on the eve of the primary, the two candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination were campaigning virtually non-stop.

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spent election eve going back and forth across the state - from Philadelphia in the east, to Pittsburgh in the west.

They have been at it now for six weeks - spending time and money in a state many thought would have little say in the selection process.

Four months after the first votes were cast in the snows of New Hampshire, the candidates are spending springtime in Pennsylvania.

The race is close and increasingly nasty. And on election eve, neither candidate was about to leave anything to chance.

Obama, speaking near Philadelphia, took aim as his opponent. "Senator Clinton has internalized a lot of the strategies, the tactics that have made Washington such a miserable place," he said.

A final pre-election day poll gives Senator Clinton a seven-point lead. Clinton, who once had a double digit advantage in the state, unleashed a series of new ads in the final hours of the Pennsylvania campaign.

At an event in a Pittsburgh city square, she rallied the faithful and reached out to the few undecided voters left in the state, "I am asking you to go tomorrow and vote for me for the toughest job in the world. It is. It is the toughest job in the world and you have to be ready for anything: two wars, skyrocketing oil prices, an economy in crisis. Well, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen," she said.

No matter who they support, it is clear Pennsylvania voters are energized. "This country alone, Allegheny Country, the Pittsburgh region, just this county has 25,000 new registered Democrats," said Dan Onorato, the top elected official in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.

In Philadelphia, Obama is strong. But many Pittsburgh voters say they live in Clinton country. And when she came to town, they gathered for a midday rally.

Some wore buttons, some carried signs - including one man who held up a banner saying "real men vote Hillary."

These were sentiments expressed by some voters. "She has enough experience and she is tough enough." "I think she is not afraid to speak out." "I think she is going to win Pennsylvania. It's crunch time and I hope it is an enormous win."

Women and the elderly form Hillary Clinton's base of support here. Barack Obama is doing exceptionally well on college campuses, where he has captured the imagination of the young. His last stop before the election: an arena at the University of Pittsburgh, where the line for admission was already winding around the block hours before the doors were to open.