(CNN) – Barack Obama will formally capture the Democratic presidential nomination soon after next week's final primaries, the Illinois senator's top campaign aide is predicting.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said that after the June 3 primaries in South Dakota and Montana, Obama will "be at the number we need to claim the nomination."
"We're very close now," Axelrod said. "When the primaries end, I think, we'll be where we need to be. ... We'll be at the number we need to claim the nomination."
According to CNN's latest estimate, Obama is now 52 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination while Clinton is 246 delegates short of the magic number. There are 86 pledged delegates up for grabs in the remaining three contests. Just over 200 superdelegates also have not publicly declared who they are supporting.
Obama is unlikely to clinch the nomination with pledged delegates alone, but his campaign has said it expects enough superdelegates will declare their support of the Illinois senator soon after the final two primaries.
Axelrod's comments come two days after Bill Clinton suggested some are trying to “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.
The former president also suggested Sunday that if the New York senator ended the primary season with an edge in the popular vote, it would be a significant development.
"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote,” said Clinton.
When did the Clintons become such a mess? I'm a Hillary supporter and it's like I don't even know these people any more... terrifying
Bye Bill and Hillary!!!!
Between Clinton and Obama, they have regisdtered enough new democrats that a scenario like the Nader thing is improbable. They even have more yet to register yet as the general election gets underway. I think the voters have spoken. Hillary can't run as an Independant because of the agreement she just signed to raise money for the DNC. That would mean she would be forced to raise millions for a party she doesn't support anymore. It would also be the ultimate act of desperation and would disappoint a lot of her supporters.
Well, this is just another example of the Camp Obama spin to make it look good strategy! When Florida and Michigan are seated and the 'winning' number is adjusted – the people will see that Obama and the DNC did a total injustice to the American people. Obama is unelectable and will loose the General Election.
No matter how it is done, this is a railroad job because Clinton is a threat to Obama and the boys will band together. Hope they like it when Obama looses to McCain. We will have 4 more years of crap because of them thinking with the smaller of the two heads!
Hillary Clinton is a divider, and an ununiter. You people need to see past the smoke screen. She saids she wants the nomination, but she is dividing our party. Blacks have shown our loyal support for democratic party. Hillary, you have failed us in you ethics, and integrity. You are a disgrace.
I cannot support a campaign of Hope fueled by Hate.
Based on the conduct of this campaign and of the supporters and surrogates of Obama, and the lack of substance of the candidate, I will vote McCain-or Ron Paul-or not at all, no matter how much Hillary asks me for his support. I think the people of this campaign are dangerous and immature and it is too late to change their dynamics, as far as I am concerned. Having experienced the ideology of the "new liberal", for the first time in my life, I want a Republican who will hold this fanaticism at bay for as long as possible. See what you can do in November, having alienated several large, historically loyal and hard working, constituencies. Now, go ahead, call me "racist trash" and "bitter, uneducated, old woman", and all the other filth you have thrown at us that is not fit for print here but that has contaminated the airwaves and blog sites for so long. That is your "educated", "hopeful", "new style politics" response. Frankly, I no longer care who "wins" in November. Others decide, not the voting public. Whoever plays the dirtiest and may the best loser win!