It’s a measure of how unexpectedly close the Democratic presidential race is that both candidates were in Massachusetts Monday, less than 24 hours before the Super Tuesday polls opened.

Hillary Clinton kicked off the presidential proceedings, speaking to a capacity crowd at Boston’s Old South Meeting House shortly after noon. After rousing introductions from attorney general Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Clinton spent some time establishing her local credentials.

“When I came to Wellesley College, back in the day,” Clinton said, twanging nostalgically, “I fell in love with Wellesley and I fell in love with Boston!”

But despite the obligatory nods to things local, which also included reminiscences about her time working in New Bedford and a shout-out to State Senator Marc Pacheco, Clinton’s focus was on her political vision.

And according to her analysis, despite a host of problems that require solutions—including racial inequities and skyrocketing higher-education costs—America is, fundamentally, in pretty good shape.

“You know, America never stopped being great,” Clinton said at one point. “We need to make America whole again. And they way we’ll do that is to break down all the barriers, the barriers that stand in the way of America living up to its potential, and every single American living up to his or hers.”

But Clinton added a caveat—warning that Republicans want to drag the United States backwards.

“More and more people are really focused on making sure that we reject the kind of mean-spiritedness, the demagoguery, the bigotry that is being pedaled by the Republican candidates,” Clinton said.

“There is, make no mistake about it, a very strong force that wants to turn us back.”

In effect, Clinton cast herself as a conservator—someone who would protect recent gains like same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, and continue pushing in the same general direction.

A few hours later, in a jam-packed, sweltering gym at Milton High School, Bernie Sanders made a starkly different pitch.

“Your beautiful state has made a lot of history throughout our country’s existence,” told the crowd. “Tomorrow, you can do it again.”

Like Clinton, Sanders had kind words for Massachusetts. But that was the extent of any agreement. Because as Sanders sees it, the American status quo is deeply dysfunctional.

“The American people today are feeling enormous angst,” Sanders said. “They’re worried, they’re worried about their kids, they’re worried about the future. They believe, as I do that there is something fundamentally wrong in America where the top one tenth of one percent today now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom ninety percent!”

What’s more, Sanders added, too many people lack good health insurance, or any health insurance at all—and the criminal justice system is locking up far too many African Americans.

All of which led, inexorably, to the R word—which was greeted by an approving roar from Sanders’ supporters.

“You know, I was just thinking—not an original thought—Massachusetts led the American Revolution,” he said. “Now it is time for Massachusetts to lead the political revolution!”

One other point of contrast: while Clinton barely acknowledged Sanders during her speech, he criticized her at length in his.

The polls could be one reason Sanders is more combative: several recent surveys show Clinton leading here, and the trend line for Sanders is bleak.

But after listening closely to both candidates, it’s hard not to conclude that that the difference in their tones stems, in large part, from the different ways they see the world.