LAS VEGAS (KTVU) The presidential primary races could take a dramatic turn Saturday as Republican and Democratic candidates battle for votes in the South Carolina Republican primary and Nevada's Democratic caucuses.
Hillary Clinton spent Friday campaigning hard in Las Vegas and is scheduled to visit the San Francisco Bay Area immediately after the Nevada caucuses, with fundraisers scheduled for Sunday in Piedmont, Atherton and Menlo Park. Some suggest it's a sign that she needs to continue building her war chest for a primary battle with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that's become much bigger than many people expected.
For Clinton, the pressure is on as Sanders has closed the poll gap in Nevada, a state once considered to be an easy win for Clinton.
Clinton now leads 48 to Sanders' 46 percent according to a Real Clear Politics average of the most recent polls.
With Sanders closing in, the attacks were sharper on both sides this week.
At an MSNBC town hall in Las Vegas Thursday, Clinton criticized Sanders' comments questioning President Obama.
"Senator Sanders wasn't really a Democrat until he decided to run for president. He doesn't even know what the, you know, last two Democratic presidents did, and I'm -- you know, well, it's true," Clinton said, as some in the audience started booing.
"Hillary Clinton now is trying to embrace the President," said Sanders, in a BET interview, "And we know what that's about. That's trying to win support from the African American community."
In South Carolina the Republican race is equally tense.
Donald Trump deflected criticisms from the Pope and opened a new can of worms Friday by blasting Apple for not helping the FBI crack the San Bernardino terror suspect's iPhone.
"Boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number," said Trump.
The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Trump still leading by double digits, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio next in line. Some polls, however, suggest that Trump's lead is shrinking and Cruz might be closing in.
"You know just this week Donald Trump said that he would be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. So let me tell you this as President I have no intention of being neutral," Cruz said.
Rubio kept his focus on Democrats.
"If they win here's what happens all of the policies they become permanent, they become permanent. Obamacare becomes permanent."
For Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Ben Carson who trail at the bottom of the polls, South Carolina will be a fight just to stay in the race.
"We're going to get to Ohio. We are going to get to Pennsylvania, so were going everywhere it's a national campaign," said Kasich Friday.
"Well, I, instead of looking at ending it, am looking at ascending in the polls and making progress," Carson said.
Jeb Bush, who has been pulling out all the stops joined by his mother, father and brother, fired away at the top three candidates.
"Donald Trump has never shown any interest in anyone other than himself, and the two candidates that are gifted speakers Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have shown nothing in their past that suggest they can make a tough decision," Bush said.
Republicans will hold their primary February 20th in South Carolina where 50 delegate votes are at stake. They move to Nevada for the caucuses February 23rd.
Democrats will decide in Nevada February 20th through caucuses and then move on to South Carolina for the primary there February 27th.