Clinton backs Obama, ends White House bid
By Ellen Wulfhorst and John Whitesides 15 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack
Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate on
Saturday, ending her own historic White House bid less
than a week after he secured enough support to win the
Clinton's endorsement of Obama in a Washington speech
was the first step in efforts to reunite the
Democratic Party after a divisive five-month
"Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him,"
Clinton told about 2,000 cheering supporters at the
National Building Museum in Washington. Her husband,
former President Bill Clinton, and her daughter,
Chelsea, stood to the side of the stage.
"I endorse him and I throw my full support behind
him," she said of Obama.
Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady who
was once considered a heavy favorite to become the
first female U.S. president, had resisted calls to
pull out of the race for months as Obama built an
Obama will be crowned the Democratic nominee at the
party's August nominating convention and will face
Republican Sen. John McCain in November's election to
choose a successor to President George W. Bush.
The Illinois senator will be the first black
presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.
Obama did not appear at the rally, giving Clinton the
spotlight for the day. Clinton won more than 17
million votes during the Democratic nominating battle,
and Obama has tried to build bridges to her camp ahead
of the November campaign.
The possibility she will be Obama's running mate has
sparked endless speculation in political circles. She
says she is open to the idea, a prospect that excites
many supporters, but is viewed with skepticism in
Some of her supporters have tried to pressure Obama
into picking her, but her campaign issued a statement
on Thursday saying she is not seeking the vice
Obama has named a three-member team to head his vice
presidential search and has sworn off further
discussion of the choice.
Clinton entered the race in January 2007 as the clear
front-runner and was viewed as the almost certain
winner for most of the year, but stumbled to a
third-place finish behind Obama in the first contest
in January in Iowa.
She bounced back five days later to win in New
Hampshire, but never recovered from Obama's string of
10 consecutive victories in February.
(Editing by Stacey Joyce)
(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit
Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)