From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
HURON, SD -- Saying it "really all does come down to next Tuesday," Hillary Clinton said that the enthusiasm she's seen among South Dakotans proves that she was right to fight to the bitter end of the campaign calendar.
"A lot of folks said, 'Well, you know, by the time we get to South Dakota and Montana, people are going to be tired of it,'" Clinton said, again quoting unnamed skeptics. "Well, I don't know what they're talking about... I think there is an enormous amount of enthusiasm for this election here in South Dakota, and it's because you're taking our measure and you're trying to decide who you can count on to be your president."
Clinton, who said that politics "can get either silly or complicated," said this nomination "really all does come down to next Tuesday," and pointed to the fact that voters across America have ignored pundits who have called the race over.
"This is the closest election we've had in a really long time," she said. "They've been trying to tell me to stop running since January. Every time they say it, people rebuke it, and keep voting for me. That's what I hope will happen here in South Dakota."
Clinton also argued that she'd be a stronger candidate against McCain, whom she called a "formidable candidate." And for the second day in a row, also she alluded to her travels to Iraq and Afghanistan with him.
"He's a friend of mine," she said. "He is someone whose service to our country I deeply honor... But he is offering the wrong ideas for America."
The rally here was held indoors because of rain. Only some of the crowd was able to fit into the meeting hall where she spoke, and Clinton later greeted some of the overflow outside. "We couldn't get everybody in here," she told the audience. "But I want to take credit for the rain, 'cause I know that's something that everybody is happy to see."