POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/4

Clinton Wants Veep Nomination

On MSNBC, Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw independently report tonight that Sen. Hillary Clinton would accept an invitation to be Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate, according to “very senior” Clinton aides. 

Clinton did not concede tonight in order to keep maximum leverage on Obama.

Clinton Did Not Concede

With her supporters chanting “Denver! Denver!” in the background — and contrary to earlier reports — Sen. Hillary Clinton did not concede that Sen. Barack Obama has the necessary delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

Said Clinton: “The question is where we go from here. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.”

She then urged supporters to tell her what to do by visiting her website.

Obama Will Claim Nomination

Sen. Barack Obama will declare victory tonight in Minnesota, saying “Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.”

Political Insider has an advance transcript of the must-read speech.

NBC News projects Obama will have the 2,118 delegates needed to gain the nomination.

Kerry Rival for U.S. Senate Can’t Get On Ballot

“In a major embarrassment to Republican leaders in Massachusetts and in the U.S. Senate,” Jim Ogonowski (R), “the party’s anointed candidate to challenge” Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), “failed by a razor-thin margin today to qualify for the GOP primary ballot,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

Clinton Wins South Dakota

Fox News projects Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the South Dakota primary.

Penn Urges Clinton to Stay in Race

Newsday reports former Clinton top strategist Mark Penn, “reviled by many on Hillary’s staff but still an important voice in the candidate’s ear, has emerged (to no one’s surprise) as the strongest advocate of her remaining in the race regardless of what happens in the next 24 hours, according to sources inside the campaign.”

“His argument: Suspend the campaign if you must, but don’t end it, because all those Obama supers will flock to Hillary if more dirt on O emerges before the convention.”

Clinton Open to Being Obama’s Running Mate

Sen. Hillary Clinton told the New York congressional delegation today “that she’s willing to serve as Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential nominee,” according to theBuffalo News.

Said Rep. Brain Higgins (D-NY): “She brought it up, and it it was reaffirmed by others.”

Political Insider: Two possible power brokers.

Clinton Could Concede While Not Conceding

Ben Smith explains that this morning’s AP story that Sen. Hillary Clinton would concede that Obama has the necessary delegates and the later denials from Clinton campaign officials that she would concede the race both could be correct.

“The theoretical case here is that — even if Obama currently holds the absolute majority of convention delegates — the delegates can’t cast their votes until August, and could change their minds. So in theory, Clinton can concede that Obama — presently — has the majority, but maintain that he doesn’t have the nomination.”

Meanwhile, the AP reports Obama has “effectively clinched” the Democratic nomination.

Clinton Will Concede Tonight

In her speech tonight, Sen. Hillary Clinton will concede that Sen. Barack Obama “has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president,” according to theAssociated Press.

Clinton “will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City… She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.”

“Most campaign staff will be let go and will be paid through June 15, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge her plans.”

Meanwhile, Politico notes “a tsunami of superdelegates is poised to rush to” Obama “over the next 12 hours, giving him a mathematical lock on his party’s presidential nomination.”

Update: Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe disputes the report and toldCNN that Clinton will “absolutely” not concede tonight.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson also denied to Politico that Clinton will admit defeat. 

The Last Two Primaries

After the most competitive nomination fight in decades, the Democratic presidential race comes to an end tonight in South Dakota and Montana. 

In South Dakota, polls close at 8 pm ET across most of the state though some are open until 9 pm ET. There are 15 delegates at stake.

The Argus Leader notes the state “rarely garners the kind of national attention it has during the past few weeks, as the players in a historic Democratic presidential primary race have made the state their last battleground.”

In Montana, polls close at 10 pm ET. There are 16 delegates at stake.

The Missoulian reports election administrators “expect voter turnout to hit a record high for a primary election.”

What Happens Now?

CQ Politics answers five questions about the end of the Democratic primary season.

Watch These Two Men

Political Insider: Two men stand ready to be possible power brokers between the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

Gallup Poll: Obama Edges McCain Nationally

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain nationally among registered voters, 47% to 44%.

Key findings: “Economic angst is broad. Two-thirds of those with annual incomes of $30,000 or less say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, but so do nearly half of those in the highest income group, those making $75,000 and more. Two-thirds of those who are 50 to 64 years old say their finances have worsened.” 

“Republicans are the only major demographic group in which more say they are better off than worse off.”

Quote of the Day

“I think if Senator Obama gets the number she will congratulate him and call him the nominee.”

— Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, on NBC’s Today Show.

Obama Appears to Have Needed Delegates

“With an expected late wave of support from congressional Democrats, Sen. Barack Obama appeared poised to secure enough delegates to earn his party’s presidential nomination, perhaps even before the votes from the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana are counted Tuesday night,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“A Democratic source said at least five to 10 House members would endorse Obama on Tuesday morning, at least 10 senators will endorse him by the end of the day and an additional 10 superdelegates will also endorse him during the day. That would assure enough delegates by the end of the day to clinch the nomination.” 

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that “endorsements from at least eight Senate, House members could come the moment the South Dakota polls close tonight.”

Why the wait? According to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asked members to wait until the final primaries are over

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