ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Hopscotching Monday across three states that are key to his campaign's survival, presidential candidate Wesley Clark (search) told New Mexico supporters "it's gonna take one tough hombre, and I'm one tough hombre" to stand up to President Bush.
On the last day of campaigning before seven states hold primaries or caucuses, Clark rose early to greet workers at a tire factory in Oklahoma, where polls show him locked in a close race with front-runner John Kerry (search).
Clark later jetted to New Mexico to address a rally at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, speaking a bit of Spanish and telling voters about his 5-week-old grandson -- Wesley Pablo Oviedo Clark -- whose mother, the wife of Clark's only son, is Colombian.
Hispanics, who make up a sizable percentage of Democratic voters in both Arizona and New Mexico, were a major focus for Clark on Monday. He planned to join most of the other Democratic presidential contenders at a forum Monday evening before the League of United Latin American Citizens (search) before jetting to a late-night rally in tiny Las Vegas, N.M., before heading back to Oklahoma City.
Clark is counting on a win in Oklahoma and a respectable showing in both Arizona and New Mexico on Tuesday to propel his campaign into the next round of contests. His campaign is spending heavily on television ads in Tennessee and Virginia, which host contests on Feb. 10, as well as Wisconsin, whose primary is Feb. 17.
"Our intention and our focus is to go forward," said Chris Lehane, a senior campaign strategist.