COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Hillary Clinton seized the momentum in the fierce fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, turning back a challenge from Bernie Sanders in Nevada's caucuses on Saturday and pushing toward even friendlier primaries in the South.
"The future that we want is within our grasp," the former secretary of state, first lady and senator told cheering supporters after her Nevada win.
In her victory speech and address to supporters gathered for a late-night Texas rally, Clinton shifted her message from her White House qualifications to what Americans can accomplish together. Moving into primary contests across the country in the coming weeks, Clinton planned to highlight the need for the country to work collectively to tackle the biggest problems, said an aide.
"We're going to build ladders of opportunity so that every American can go as far as your heart will take you," she told about 2,000 supporters gathered on Saturday night in Houston. "We are in this together."
The numbers back her up in her second bid for the presidency. If Clinton solidifies her support among black voters over the next month and wins the Southern contests, she could amass a significant number of delegates in the push toward the 2,383 needed to win the nomination.
There are more than 1,400 delegates at stake in states such as South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana, and depending on the outcome and proportional allocation of delegates, Clinton could build a comfortable lead.
Wins also could drive superdelegates to her candidacy. She currently holds a sizable lead among those elected leaders and party officials.
Still, Sanders told his supporters after his Nevada loss: "The wind is at our backs. We have the momentum."
Clinton fired back with a retooled attack, trying to turn Sanders' greatest strength — his economic message — into a weakness. In Houston, Clinton said she respects Sanders "passion and commitment" but argued that he can't deliver on his promises of single-payer health care and tuition-free public college.