Toledo, Iowa (CNN)Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders began Martin Luther King Day addressing the same audience from the South Carolina Capitol steps in Columbia. But Monday ended in dueling rallies, with each Democratic presidential hopeful making the argument for why they are the strongest candidate to take on the Republican nominee.
Sanders, Clinton make 'electability' pitches
Clinton made her pitch in Toledo, Iowa, imploring voters to pay careful attention to what is possible -- and what is not -- as they decide whether to support her or Sanders' bid.
"I don't want to overpromise," Clinton said. "I don't want to come out with theories and concepts that may or may not be possible. We don't need any more of that."
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, Alabama, Sanders walked on stage and opened with a page right out of Republican front-runner Donald Trump's playbook: talking about his poll numbers.
He specifically cited a recent survey showing him beating Trump by 15 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup. But he also turned his fire on Clinton.
"As many of you know, we began this campaign about nine months ago. And when we began, we were 50 points behind. We were 50 points behind the inevitable, the inevitable Democratic nominee!" Sanders said. "Well, guess what, that inevitable candidate ain't so inevitable today."
About halfway through Sanders' Birmingham rally, a woman passed out and Sanders paused the rally for several minutes. After he saw that she was treated he started up his speech again saying, "Which brings me to the issue of health care ... "
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While Clinton did not mention Sanders by name, her argument on experience was clear. She devoted a good portion of her remarks to about 300 people on a frigid Iowa evening to make the case that she is the most prepared candidate in the race, calling for a "sensible, achievable agenda."
"I really need your help in the caucuses two weeks from tonight," Clinton said. "There is a complicated job waiting for the next president that we have to make sure we get right."
Clinton and Sanders were back on the trail Monday, a day after the fourth Democratic debate in South Carolina.
But they quickly moved out to shore up weak points for them on the trail. For Clinton, that meant a return to Iowa where Sanders is now running neck-and-neck with her, with just two weeks until the caucuses.
And for Sanders that meant heading further south, to Birmingham, where he has been trying to cut into Clinton's strong support among black voters, who make up a large bloc of the Democratic electorate there.