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Clinton eyes big prize in Pennsylvania

Hillary Clinton looks to close the show with ... 01:43

PHILADELPHIA -- At her final rally Monday night before voters head to the polls here, Hillary Clinton took a moment to breathe in the spring air.

"It makes us all feel like there will be a new beginning, doesn't it," she said, speaking to a crowd of 1,300 gathered at sunset in the courtyard at Philadelphia City Hall.

And though Democrats who vote in Tuesday's primary in Pennsylvania -- one of five states to hold primaries on Tuesday -- will choose between her and Bernie Sanders, Clinton looked past her primary opponent when she made her final pitch.

"There could not be a bigger difference between where I stand and what I believe and where the Republicans are," she said. "Remember: the goal here is to make sure we have a Democrat in the White House next January!"

Clinton's rally on Monday night was her tenth campaign stop in Pennsylvania during the past six days. Philadelphia was her first stop on Wednesday after the New York primary and, on Friday, she flew more than 250 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to indulge in a capicola and cheese sandwich at Primanti Brothers, a local institution. She then traveled to Scranton, her father's hometown, where she was joined by her brothers Hugh and Tony Rodham.

Charles Koch says he might support Hillary Cl... 05:16

"I feel so much at home," she told more than a thousand people gathered at a high school in nearby Dunmore. "It just brings back a flood of the best memories and the best people."

On the days that Clinton's schedule took her to Connecticut, Delaware or Rhode Island, former President Bill Clinton stumped in the state on her behalf, making stops in Harrisburg, Swarthmore and Ambler.

Clinton's focus on Pennsylvania reflects its importance on Tuesday: it has 189 delegates up for grabs, which is almost as many as the four other states voting combined. Clinton's campaign aides have centered their strategy on the delegate count from the start and, after adding more delegates to her lead than expected last week, a similar margin of victory in Pennsylvania could make a meaningful difference.

Late last month, Clinton's chief strategist, Joel Benenson, told reporters that after Tuesday, Sanders runs out of "real estate" to close to gap in delegates.

"We expect to come out of that day with a pledged and total delegate lead that will make clear who the nominee will be and that it will be Hillary Clinton," Benenson said.

Ahead of her rally on Monday night, Clinton took part in a televised town hall taped at the National Constitution Center. When asked if she expects Sanders to drop out of the race and support her if she is "ahead" on the day of the California primary in June, Clinton she has "2.7 million more votes than he has."

"I have more than 250 more pledged delegates," she continued. "I'm very proud of the campaign that we have run and the support we have gotten and of course we're gonna work together...But I am ahead and let's start from that premise when we talk about what happens next, OK?"

Though Clinton stopped short of calling on Sanders to drop out, she emphasized that she did not "put down conditions" for endorsing then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.

"I didn't say, 'You know what, if Senator Obama does x, y and z, maybe I'll support him,'" Clinton said. "I said, 'I am supporting Senator Obama, because no matter what our differences might be, they pale in comparison to the differences between us and the Republicans.'"

She said she "spent an enormous amount of time convincing" her voters to support Obama. "That is what I think one does," she added, putting the onus on Sanders to encourage his supporters to help elect her if she is the party's nominee.

But for now, Clinton told her supporters in Philadelphia that it was the Republican party that she wanted to hear their message.

"It's so important that we send a really strong message here in Pennsylvania, that we are not going to be intimidated or deterred by their demagoguery, their old ideas," she said. "We're going to move forward with a new vision of what we can do together."

Clinton is set to make two campaign stops in Indiana Tuesday morning before returning to Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

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