Roaring toward the finish, Barack Obama presided Sunday over two Colorado rallies that together drew about 150,000 people, a startling turnout in a key swing state.
In Denver, the city where he claimed his historic presidential nomination, Obama stepped on stage and seemed surprised at his own following. He saw a crowd police estimated at "well over" 100,000 people, perhaps the largest rally to date in a campaign full of overflow events.
"Goodness gracious," Obama said as he peered at the human mass in Civic Center Park.
Supporters even lined the steps of the Capitol, which was so far away from the stage that the people there needed binoculars just to hope to see Obama.
Obama later spoke to an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 people at a Fort Collins event.
Obama's campaign is capitalizing on the scope of such rallies to get people to cast votes early, permitted in Colorado and more than two dozen other states.
"How many people have early voted?" Obama said, eliciting cheers from people bundled up in fleece. "That's what I'm talking about. No point in waiting in lines if you don't have to. You know who you're going to vote for."
At an unscheduled stop at a campaign office northwest of Denver, Obama sat down and called about a dozen unsuspecting registered voters. He then told volunteers to keep working through Election Day.
"It'd be terrible if we just kind of let it slip away in that last few days," he said.
His opponent, Republican John McCain, is needling Obama for starting his victory lap without having won anything.
Said McCain of the race on Sunday, "I'm going to win it."
Obama jumped on McCain's comment, made during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, that he and President Bush share a "common philosophy" of the Republican Party.
"I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk, owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common," Obama said in Denver.
"Well, here's the thing," he added. "We know what the Bush-McCain philosophy looks like. It's a philosophy that says we should give more and more to millionaires and billionaires and hope that it trickles down."
Obama, though, did not quote McCain fully.
The Republican presidential candidate also said: "I've stood up against my party, not just President Bush, but others; and I've got the scars to prove it." He offered specific examples of differing with Bush, from Iraq strategy and deficit spending to campaign finance reform and climate change.
In Cedar Falls, Iowa, McCain campaigned before roughly 2,000 people, and chided his Democratic rival: "He's measuring the drapes. ... I prefer to let voters have their say. What America needs now is someone who will finish the race before starting the victory lap."
With the race drawing to a close, Obama is working to solidify his lead in national and key state surveys, while McCain is looking for a comeback. The political environment has become increasingly favorable for Democrats and challenging for Republicans as the global economic crisis dominates the campaign.
In coming days, both candidates will focus primarily on Bush-won, vote-rich battlegrounds like Ohio and Florida, which decided the last two presidential elections and could do so again. Pennsylvania is the only state Democrat John Kerry won four years ago that both candidates are expected to visit before Election Day.