WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton is planning to end her presidential campaign this weekend and throw her support behind former rival Barack Obama.
A Startling End to a Historic Campaign
Clinton's decision to end her campaign came as a startling disappointment to her numerous supporters, capping a historic primary race.
"Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity," her communications director Howard Wolfson said.
"This event will be held on Saturday to accommodate more of Senator Clinton's supporters who want to attend," he said.
The former first lady launched her bid to become the first female President in the nation's history on January 20, 2007.
"I'm running for President," she declared. "And I'm in it to win it." And run she did, engaging in a fierce - and at times bitter - fight for her party's nomination.
But a string of losses following Super Tuesday cast the seeming inevitability of her becoming the Democratic presidential nominee in doubt.
Still, displaying die-hard perseverance, Clinton fought on in what evolved into a state-by-state contest until Wednesday night when Obama secured the 2,118 delegates needed to lock in the nomination.
Even then Clinton remained reluctant to concede the race. But in a private conference call on Wednesday she expressed her intention to suspend her campaign and support Barack Obama.
"On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy," the Guardian quoted Clinton.
Although the New York senator says she'll be giving Obama her support, she may hold onto her delegates and continue to promote her universal health care plan.
In an e-mail to supporters she said she'd "be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise."
As a way to help heal wounds between the two campaigns, Obama's campaign may pay off some of Clinton's massive debt. More than $11-million of that debt is her own personal money.
Obama's Search for a Running Mate
Obama, meanwhile, has also turned his attention to selecting potential running mates.
Clinton supporters are pushing the idea of including Clinton on the ticket, in the belief that such a move would broaden his appeal to white and blue collar workers.
While Obama may be considering Clinton for the vice presidential slot, he's indicated he won't be pressured into a hasty decision.
"We're not going to be rushed into it. I don't think Senator Clinton expects a quick decision and I don't even know that she's necessarily interested in that," Obama said in an interview with NBC.
While Obama may not be ready to name a running-mate yet - he has chosen a trusted group of advisers to help him find one.
On Wednesday, his campaign announced that Caroline Kennedy - daughter of the late President, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Washington insider Jim Johnson will lead the search.
Source: The Associated Press, The Guardian