Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rivals Neck and Neck on Super Tuesday Eve; Obama's Leading Ladies: His Wife Michelle, Caroline Kennedy (JFK's Daughter), Maria Shriver (Wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Oprah Winfrey at a Rally on the Campus of UCLA in Los Angeles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rivals Neck and Neck on Super Tuesday Eve; Obama's Leading Ladies: His Wife Michelle, Caroline Kennedy (JFK's Daughter), Maria Shriver (Wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Oprah Winfrey at a Rally on the Campus of UCLA in Los Angeles

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH

HILLARY CLINTON and Barack Obama launched last-ditch advertisingcampaigns today as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination appearedtoo close to call.

With hours to go before 24 states vote in primaries on Super Tuesday, aWashington Post survey put Mrs Clinton on 47 points to Mr Obama's 43a wafer-thin lead within the margin of error.

Other polls showed Mrs Clinton was still ahead in some key states, but in theplum prize of Californiawhich carries the biggest number of delegates to the party's nationalconventionanother poll put Mr Obama ahead for the first time by 45 points to 41.

To underline the importance of the country's most populous state, Mr Obama'swife Michelle joined Oprah Winfrey and JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy at arally at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In a further boost for the Obama camp's bid for the women's vote, the Illinoissenator won the backing of Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy clan and wifeof Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I thought, if Barack Obama were a state, he'd be California," Ms Shriver toldthe crowd. "Think about it. Diverse. Open. Smart. Independent. Bucks tradition.Innovative. Inspiring. Dreamer. Leader."

With the race so close, the two Democratic camps are spending [pounds sterling]9.5million on TVadverts in the final hours of the contest.

Mr Obama is advertising in 21 of the 24 states, while Mrs Clinton is targeting19.

Although Fox TV banned national political adverts during last night'sSuperbowl, Mr Obama managed to get local ones placed ahead of the game.

On the Republican side, polls nationally and in key electoral battlegroundsshowed Senator John McCain poised to emerge with a clear lead ahead of formerMassachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Mr McCain said: "I assume that I will get the nomination of the party." A newnationwide poll by the Pew Research Centre showed Mr McCain leading amongRepublicans with 42 per cent, while Mr Romney trailed with 22 per cent and MikeHuckabee had 20 per cent. …

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