So where does it all go from here?

BARACK OBAMA’S position as the presumptive Democratic nominee will not be confirmed until his rival, Hillary Clinton, concedes defeat.

“In the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way,” she said after the final primaries on Tuesday.

After this, Obama called Clinton and suggested they “sit down when it makes sense to you”. This meeting is likely to happen today or tomorrow.

Q: So what exactly does Clinton want from Obama?

A: She is open to the idea of being Obama’s running mate but could also be angling for another job in his administration, if he is elected.

It has also been reported she would like Obama to help her pay back some of her campaign’s debts — and that Bill Clinton could be keen on some kind of role in the Democratic general election campaign.

Q: When will the remaining super-delegates make up their mind?

A: Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin — the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association — have just issued a joint statement calling on the 150 uncommitted super-delegates to make their views known by tomorrow.

They are not obliged to do so until the party’s national convention in August, where the nominee will be chosen. (And they can change their mind as often as they like).

Q: What happens now that the Democrats appear to have a presumptive nominee?

A: The focus will switch to the general election battle between John McCain and his Democratic rival.

Mr Obama and Mr McCain have already begun sparring over Iraq and national security issues.

They have also been focusing attention on the states that could vote either way in November. The list includes large states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and smaller ones such as Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Q: What is the advantage for Mr McCain of having secured the Republican nomination already?

A: It gives him a big head start. He has had two months to plan his general election campaign, and raise funds, while the Democrats continued fighting each other for the nomination.

On the other hand, the close Democratic nomination race has caused lots of people to register as Democratic voters, which could give the party a big advantage in November.


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