Clinton and Obama Fight for Last Major Delegate Prize in Pennsylvania

Although Clinton is ahead in polls, her lead is slipping in the crucial state

Getting in the campaign spirit in Chadds Ford.

Getting in the campaign spirit in Chadds Ford.

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Clinton, meanwhile, has been stressing her roots in Scranton, a mill and mining town where her family took lakeside vacations. Arguably more important is the 16-year-old history that began when she and Bill Clinton first campaigned here; the former president won Pennsylvania twice, and the two have kept up strong ties to the state. Obama, by contrast, is an outsider.

In her corner, Clinton counts Pennsylvania's well-liked governor, Ed Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia and former chair of the Democratic National Committee. In Obama's camp is U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., son and namesake of the late popular governor.

Gearing for debate. As Clinton and Obama girded for an April 16 debate here, Rendell was predicting a Clinton win by 4 to 9 percentage points. Should she stumble, there "absolutely" would be more pressure on her to throw in the towel, he says. Obama spokesman Bill Burton sees "zero" chance of an upset, but clearly the Obama campaign is luring people away from Clinton. One is Candido Silva Jr., 40, a father of six whose family lives paycheck to paycheck on his less-than-$15-an-hour job at Philadelphia International Airport's parking garage. "[Obama] will bring big change," Silva says. "I would put my head on a guillotine, that's how certain I am."

Casey, for his part, dismisses as "ludicrous" Clinton's theory that winning big states gives her an upper hand in the nomination fight. He says that whichever Democrat wins will get the vote of state Democrats come fall.

In 1976, the last time all eyes were on Pennsylvania, Rocky made his debut on the big screen. His was a drawn-out fight—much like Clinton and Obama's—but with no clear winner, the boxing judges split, and the match went to Rocky's opponent. It took a sequel for Rocky to triumph, but a second chance for Clinton, four years hence, is something no one is betting on.