WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Clinton cast her ballot to cheers and Barack Obama tried to lower expectations as 24 primaries and caucuses opened across the United States.
Clinton told cheering supporters Tuesday she was "humbled" and "happy" by the response to her presidential campaign, CBS reported. Obama played down polls showing him chipping away at Clinton's lead.
On the Republican side, John McCain and Mitt Romney continued sniping at each other, with McCain criticizing what he called Romney's negative campaign ads in California. Romney countered the only ads he ran in California were positive and were not nearly as costly as McCain charged.
In many of the 24 primaries and caucuses, Obama was basking in high-profile endorsements, exuding strength and the "Big Mo." But there were signs he may be falling short.
In California, once clearly in Clinton's column, a Field Poll showed the two Democrats virtually tied, with independents factored in. However, Clinton still led in California by 9 percentage points in a McClatchy-MSNBC poll.
Also in California, one poll showed McCain ahead by 8 points, while another showed Romney ahead by the same margin.
In New York, a Quinnipiac poll had Obama closing the gap, but Clinton still ahead 53 percent to 39 percent. In New Jersey, the poll indicated Clinton led Obama, 48 percent to 43 percent.
In Illinois, polls showed Obama, a freshman U.S. senator from Illinois, and McCain leading their rivals 2-1. The two top Republicans were virtually tied in Romney's home state of Massachusetts. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was expected to take his home state's GOP primary.
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