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Voters Cast Ballots in Hard-fought Pa. Primary

Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made final pitches to Pennsylvanians Tuesday in the hopes to sway still-undecided voters as they headed to the polls. Political analysts examine the day in voting.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Even as Pennsylvanians went to the polls today, the two Democrats in this fiercely fought contest just kept right on pitching.

    Barack and Michelle Obama filled a University of Pittsburgh arena last night, and today they went to a local diner for a pancake breakfast. While there, he took questions from reporters.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: We feel good about the organization we put together. We think we made enormous progress. As I've said before, it's an uphill battle. Senator Clinton had a 20-point lead to start with. We think we've closed it, but we still, I think, have to consider ourselves the underdogs.

    A lot of it's going to depend on turnout. It's a beautiful day. We think we have the best organization on the ground. So who knows? I've come to the conclusion that this race will continue until the last primary or caucus vote is cast. And that's not that far away.

    And, in the meantime, what we're doing is making sure that every single voter in America has a chance to participate in the primaries. And the bright side of that is that we're seeing record turnouts, record involvement. We're building organizations that are getting tested.

    Should I end up being the nominee, the work that we've done here in Pennsylvania I think will be extraordinarily helpful in the general election.

    I think we can win no matter what the results. The polling shows we can win no matter what the results. You know, when I'm the nominee, Ed Rendell is going to be working for me just as hard as he's been working for Senator Clinton. There's going to be a clear contrast between the economic message of the Democrats and the Republicans.

    And so this whole notion that somehow, because there are some voters, whether it's older voters or blue-collar workers, who prefer Senator Clinton over me that somehow that means I can't get their vote, that just doesn't — it isn't borne out by the polling, and it's not borne out by I think the history of people's voting patterns.

    The party is going to come together after the nomination is settled.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Senator Obama is spending election night in Indiana, where the next round of presidential voting is held in two weeks. Hillary Clinton will be in Philadelphia tonight.

    She spent part of her day in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, where she, too, spoke about party unity.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that we have a Democrat sworn in on January 20, 2009. I obviously hope to be that Democrat, but we will have a unified Democratic Party.

    And I will make the strongest possible case across this country that whatever differences Senator Obama and I may have — and we do have them, and it is perfectly legitimate for us to talk about them, explain them, compare and contrast us — that pales in comparison to the differences we have with Senator McCain.

    I am a colleague and a friend of Senator McCain's. I respect and honor his service to our country. But he has the wrong ideas for America.

    And I think anyone who supported either Barack or me would, you know, be very foolish to think that voting for Senator McCain made any sense. Because for whatever reason you might have voted for a Democrat, that would be totally wiped out were a Republican to come back into the White House.

    As I have said, this is going to be a tough-fought, close election. I happen to think I'm the stronger candidate against Senator McCain. And, therefore, I'm going to fight out this nomination process to win the nomination, to go toe-to-toe with Senator McCain.

    But regardless of what happens, I'm going to work my heart out to make sure we elect a Democrat.

    I think a win is a win. And maybe I'm old-fashioned about that, but you run a very competitive race at a considerable financial disadvantage. And I think maybe the question ought to be, why can't he close the deal? With his extraordinary financial advantage, why can't he win a state like this one, if that's the way it turns out?

    Obviously, we still have a long way to go before people finish voting and the votes are counted, but this will be one more in a long line of big states, states that Democrats have to win. You know, the road to the White House for a Democrat leads right through Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania Avenue.