Times Colonist

Statement says Clinton plans to endorse Obama candidacy Saturday

- SHELDON ALBERTS

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton will express support for Barack Obama’s White House bid and Democratic Party unity in the race against Republican John McCain at an event on Saturday, her campaign said in a statement.

The statement issued yesterday did not say if Clinton would formally end her campaign or suspend activities. However, several reports indicated she would give her full endorsemen­t.

Obama clinched the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, but Clinton so far has refused to concede.

“Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C. on (Saturday) to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,” the statement said.

A day after Obama became the presumed Democratic nominee, he announced the formation of a three-person team to begin the search for a vicepresid­ential running mate.

But Obama’s preparatio­ns for the general election campaign against Republican candidate John McCain were pushed out of the spotlight as speculatio­n swirled about Clinton’s political future.

Several prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton appealed yesterday for the former first lady to embrace Barack Obama as the Democratic presidenti­al nominee amid criticism over her failure to congratula­te the Illinois senator on his victory, or even acknowledg­e he has won.

Aides to the New York senator gave conflictin­g signals about Clinton’s plans, reassuring party leaders she was committed to unifying Democrats while also saying she was not yet ready to concede defeat.

The open campaignin­g for the vice-presidency triggered a sharp response from Pennsylvan­ia Gov. Ed Rendell, who has been one of Clinton’s strongest supporters. “There’s no bargaining,” Rendell said. “You don’t bargain with the presidenti­al nominee.”

Obama effectivel­y secured the Democratic nomination Tuesday night following the final presidenti­al primaries in Montana and South Dakota. In a show of party unity for the new nominee, another 20 Democratic superdeleg­ates — including eight U.S. senators — formally endorsed Obama yesterday.

Obama has now accumulate­d an estimated 2,165 delegates to the party’s national convention this August in Denver, well past the 2,118 needed to clinch the nomination.

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