WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the Democratic presidential race is over, and it's time to rally around the party's nominee.
"Running for President is not for the faint of heart. This is very difficult, and people have to unwind from it in their own time, but I think the message was clear last night. The people have spoken, the elections are over for the nomination. Barack Obama is the nominee of the Democratic party," Pelosi said.
The California congresswoman, who remained neutral throughout the primary season, said Senator Hillary Clinton should be able to take some time before formally conceding - but stressed the party's need to shift its focus to the general election.
Asked about a Friday deadline she and other party leaders set for uncommitted superdelegates, Pelosi said it's time for those undeclared party officials to get behind Obama: "Now it's time to rally around that person and attribute to him all that goes with being - carrying the banner of the Democratic party and all the dignities that go with it."
Pelosi praised Senator Clinton as a female trailblazer. "The campaign of Senator Clinton is one that will down in the history books as a great one for our country, breaking what I call the marble ceiling, what they call the glass ceiling. Glass is easy compared to the ceiling that she broke, couldn't be prouder of her."
She also said that Democrats on the Hill would start talks with the Obama campaign about coordinating political activities. She touted the three recent Democratic victories in three special House elections, adding "We now look to join with the nominee of the party for President to work together to bring that same success in November and elect a Democratic president of the United States, stronger majorities in the House and Senate, and Governorships and statehouses across the country."
Pelosi, who has repeatedly been skeptical that the two top Democratic presidential candidates would share a ticket this fall, declined to weigh in on Clinton's apparent willingness to serve as Obama's vice president, saying that the choice of running mate fell to the Illinois senator alone. "That is the decision of the nominee of the party. It has always been and it is in this case as well."