Obama locked in race with McCain as Clinton expresses ’support’ (Second Lead)

June 6th, 2008 - 12:07 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 5 (IANS) As Hillary Clinton finally pledged support to Democratic nominee Barack Obama against Republican John McCain, a new “poll of polls” suggests the two nominees are locked in a tight race for the White House. The vanquished rival Clinton’s expression of support to Obama to capture the White House after eight years of Republican control came in an e-mail Thursday to her supporters. But she still stopped short of endorsing him.

Clinton, who has not admitted defeat so far, plans to thank supporters in person at a Washington D.C. event Saturday, her campaign said, but she got a head start in an e-mail campaign sent early Thursday.

“I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party’s nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise,” the message said.

“This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.”

Clinton plans to suspend her campaign within days, her campaign said. By suspending instead of dropping out altogether, Clinton would technically remain a candidate, entitled to keep statewide pledged delegates and district-level delegates.

Leaving the primaries behind, as Obama switched gears to kick off his campaign, CNN’s average of four recent national polls suggested he holds a narrow 2 point lead over McCain among registered voters, 47 percent to 45 percent. Nearly 10 percent say they are undecided.

The polls included in the sample were conducted between May 21 and June 3, all before Obama officially wrapped up the history-making Democratic nomination Tuesday night. The poll of polls included recent surveys from CBS, Gallup, Pew, and Newsweek.

Before getting into the campaign mode, Obama who is vying to be the first black American president had a short “cordial” conversation with rival McCain. Both said they looked forward to a “civil discussion”, according to Obama Senior Adviser Linda Douglass.

Meanwhile, Democrats nationwide have coalesced around Obama since he received enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee on Tuesday evening. Since then, Clinton supporters too have stepped up efforts to get her the vice-presidential slot.

Billionaire Bob Johnson - founder of Black Entertainment Television - told CNN he plans to ask the Congressional Black Caucus to urge Obama to offer Clinton the vice-presidential slot.

Democratic Representative from New York Charles Rangel said putting Clinton on the ticket would help unify the party.

“A lot of her supporters are still broken-hearted, but if we see that her candidacy is treated with respect and that we’re going to have one ticket - the Obama/Clinton ticket - I think that would bring us together like no other political incentive,” he said.

Both campaigns deny that discussions on the subject have begun.

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