(CNN) - In a bid for unity upon the conclusion of the prolonged presidential primary season, Democratic leaders on Wednesday urged all undeclared superdelegates to make their preference known by the end of the week.
In a statement released jointly by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Governors Association Chairman Joe Manchin, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, the leaders said it's now time to turn the party's attention toward the general election fight against Republican John McCain.
"To that end, we are urging all remaining uncommitted super delegates to make their decisions known by Friday of this week so that our party can stand united and begin our march toward reversing the eight years of failed Bush/McCain policies that have weakened our country," the statement said.
According to CNN's estimate, 145 superdelegates remain undeclared. Barack Obama has support from 394 superdelegates, while Hillary Clinton has 286 in her camp.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House has congratulated Sen. Barack Obama on clinching the Democratic nomination for president, spokeswoman Dana Perino said Wednesday.
His victory - which sets him up to become the first African-American to lead a major party ticket in the race for the White House - shows how far America has come, Perino said.
She said President Bush, a Republican, did not plan to call Obama to congratulate him personally.
(CNN) - In what may be a sign the Democratic Party is already unifying behind Barack Obama, the Illinois senator celebrated his presidential primary victory Tuesday night with several of Hillary Clinton's supporters.
According to one participant, Minnesota City Council member Gary Schiff, Obama spent approximately 30 minutes with some of the New York senator’s most prominent backers in Minnesota, including elected officials, local activists, and fundraisers. A second source confirms the event was organized by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who is a co-chairman of Clinton's campaign.
Obama posed for pictures and promised to visit the state early and often as he now turns his attention to the general election and John McCain.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Barack Obama made history Tuesday night when he became the first African-American in U.S. history to clinch a major party's presidential nomination. But the Illinois senator faces several challenges as the campaign now turns to the general election - notwithstanding a first order of business of helping to heal the wounds of a deeply divided Democratic Party.
Obama offered an olive branch to rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday evening, telling supporters at his victory rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, that the country and the party "are better off because of her." He added that Clinton has "an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be."
Obama and Clinton rounded out the 2008 Democratic primary season by splitting the final two states: Montana and South Dakota. And despite his loss in South Dakota, Obama gained enough delegates to cross the finish line an hour before the Montana polls closed.
NEW YORK (CNN) – Over the next several days, one of the main questions will be how much help Hillary Clinton will offer Barack Obama in his effort to win back the White House, which has been under Republican control ever since her husband Bill Clinton left office in January 2001.
Two top Clinton supporters told me Tuesday evening they are ready to get behind Obama once the New York senator officially acknowledges that her Senate colleague has won the nomination.
James Carville said he is ready to open up his wallet to help Obama build a political warchest to take on John McCain in November.
“As soon as she gets out I am going to write him a check,” Carville said.
Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said earlier in the day – prior to CNN projecting that Obama clinched the nomination – that he too would help out the Illinois senator.
“If he is the nominee, listen, I will help,” McAuliffe said. “I have helped Democrats now for 30 years, and I will continue to do so.”
Carville and McAuliffe both predicted that the two Democratic rivals would join together to help unify the party, but Carville noted that there needs to be a healing process as the party prepares for the general election.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: Obama: I will be the Democratic nominee
In what he called a "defining moment for our nation," Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday became the first African-American to head the ticket of a major political party.
CNN: Clinton won't make campaign decision yet
Sen. Hillary Clinton said Tuesday night she would make no immediate decision on her next steps after winning the South Dakota primary but failing to pick up enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
CNN: Preston: Top Clinton supporters ready to help Obama
Over the next several days, one of the main questions will be how much help Hillary Clinton will offer Barack Obama in his effort to win back the White House, which has been under Republican control ever since her husband Bill Clinton left office in January 2001.
Washington Post: McCain Mounts Immediate Attack on Obama's Record
Republican Sen. John McCain wasted no time Tuesday night in launching his first general-election broadside against Sen. Barack Obama, casting the Democrat as an out-of-touch liberal who offers a false promise of change.
Compiled by Mary Grace Lucas, CNN Washington Bureau
* Sen. Hillary Clinton addresses the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. this morning and may go to Capitol Hill for a budget vote.
* Sen. Barack Obama also speaks at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee conference in D.C. this morning. He is expected to head to the Hill for votes, as well.
* Sen. John McCain holds a town hall meeting and a media availability in Louisiana.
(CNN) – As Sen. Barack Obama ends the primary process and begins his transition from Democratic front-runner to presumptive nominee, a new Gallup poll suggests that his bid to win over the support of his party’s white and Hispanic women voters is far from over.
Even with her presidential bid all but formally over, Sen. Hillary Clinton edges Obama slightly among female Democratic voters overall, with a four point lead; the New York senator has the support of 49 percent of Democratic women while Obama has support from 45 percent, according to Gallup.
Although Obama lags Clinton by only four percentage points among female Democrats overall, his problems with white and Hispanic women are much deeper.