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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clinton, Obama Court Voters in Ohio

WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama waged a tight campaign fight across Ohio on the eve of crucial voting that could virtually nail down the Democratic nomination or prolong the party battle into the spring.

One prominent Democrat worried that extended infighting after the voting in four states on Tuesday could split the party into two camps and give a big boost to the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain.

Victories on Tuesday by Obama, especially in the big states of Texas and Ohio, would give the Illinois senator a major boost toward the Democratic nomination in the November election. Clinton victories, however, would revive her campaign and end Obama's winning streak at 11 contests.

The races in Texas and Ohio are very tight after Clinton held big leads a month ago, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle poll released Sunday.

Obama led in Texas 47 percent to 43 percent, while Clinton led by a statistically insignificant 1 percentage point in Ohio, 47 percent to 46 percent, the poll showed. The poll had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Obama leads in the race for the 2,025 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination this summer. Unless Clinton wins by very big margins Tuesday, he will pick up big chunks of additional delegates while her future would be uncertain.

Both candidates concentrated on Ohio and its economic woes on Sunday. Westerville, a suburb of the state capital, Columbus, that once was home to the Anti-Saloon League, became an unlikely political ground zero with rallies by both Clinton and Obama.

Clinton, the New York senator and former first lady, stressed her experience against what she describes as her opponent's vacant rhetoric.

Mocking Obama as just a speechmaker and not a person of action, Clinton told a rally, "I've given a lot of speeches in my life -- probably, I don't know, hundreds of thousands. Sometimes I finish a speech and people come up to me and say, 'Oh that was so inspiring and wonderful and it made me feel so good.'

"I say, well that's great. But that's just words. Our job is to make a difference," she said.

Obama touted his judgment and willingness to work with others to change the political tone in Washington.

"I think one of the most important lost arts in politics in Washington is listening to people who have different points of view. That's why we've had so much bickering and politics in Washington and I want to get stuff done," Obama said in Nelsonville, before heading to Westerville.

While Clinton and Obama battled it out, one of their former Democratic rivals, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, was worried the fight might continue past Tuesday.

"The concern that I have is the bickering that took place between those two very fine senators is going on too long," Richardson, who bowed out of the Democratic race early last month, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. Richardson has been the object of attention from both camps since he dropped out because, as a top Hispanic office holder, he could have influence with Hispanic voters, a crucial voting bloc in Texas on Tuesday.