The presidential campaign played to new audiences on Saturday as the leading Democratic and Republican candidates fanned out across the nation, drawing distinctions with their rivals and making urgent appeals to voters in delegate-rich or politically symbolic states.
On the final weekend before Americans in more than 20 states will cast votes, the race had an intensity typically reserved for the closing days of a general election campaign. The outcome of the balloting on Tuesday, particularly for Republicans, is likely to bring at least a sliver of clarity to the yearlong nominating battle.
"This is the most consequential election in a generation," Mr. Obama declared in Idaho, drawing applause from thousands of impassioned Democrats and curious Republicans, before arriving here for a rally.
Republicans worked their way across Southern states on Saturday, with Senator John McCain of Arizona criticizing Democratic candidates for their plans to withdraw troops from Iraq as he courted voters in Tennessee and Alabama. Mike Huckabee traveled through Alabama, too, as Mitt Romney took a brief respite from campaigning to attend the funeral in Salt Lake City of Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the Mormon Church.
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