( THAT IS WHAT FOX NEWS SAID)
Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.
Campaigning on an insistent call for change, Obama outlasted former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic race that sparked record turnout in primary after primary, yet exposed deep racial divisions within the party.
The AP tally was based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments. It also included a minimum number of delegates Obama was guaranteed even if he lost the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana later in the day.
The 46-year-old first term senator will face Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall campaign to become the 44th president.
Meanwhile, Campaign officials say Hillary Rodham Clinton will acknowledge tonight that Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.
That would effectively end her bid to be the nation’s first female president.
The officials say the former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City. They say she will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say most campaign staff will be let go and will be paid through June 15th.
Her advisers said Clinton has made a strategic decision to not formally end her campaign, giving her leverage to negotiate with Obama on various matters including a possible vice presidential nomination for her. She also wants to press him on issues he should focus on in the fall, such as health care.
Universal health care, Clinton’s signature issue as first lady in the 1990s, was a point of dispute between Obama and the New York senator during their epic nomination fight.
Clinton was at home in Chappaqua, N.Y., with her husband, former President Clinton, and was placing calls to friends and supporters.
On NBC’s “Today Show,” Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said that once Obama gets the majority of convention delegates, “I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate him and call him the nominee.”
In a formal statement, the campaign made clear the limits of how far she would go in Tuesday night’s speech. “Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination,” the statement said.
Clinton field hands who worked in key battlegrounds said they were told to stand down, without pay, and await instructions. Speaking not for attribution because they didn’t want to jeopardize their jobs searches, many said they were peddling resumes, returning to their hometowns or seeking out former employers.
Clinton officials have said they would not contest the seating of Michigan delegates at the convention in Denver this August. The campaign was angry this past weekend when a Democratic National Committee panel awarded Obama delegates it thought Clinton deserved.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Last Updated: 6/3/2008 1:04:57 PM