- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama has added two people to his new vice presidential search team as pressure mounts from Democrats who want him to put his rival on the ticket.

The campaign said Caroline Kennedy and former deputy attorney general Eric Holder will join Jim Johnson on the team, and they are tasked with establishing the process for vetting candidates.

What remains unknown is if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be one of them - though her supporters are openly lobbying for to be offered the No. 2 job.

Obama senior adviser Linda Douglass said Ms. Kennedy is trusted as someone with superior “wisdom and judgment.”

Mr. Holder is a “bright legal and political mind,” she said.

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton spoke briefly at 12:16 a.m. from his campaign plane, hours after he clinched the delegates needed for the Democratic presidential nomination, a threshold she had not recognized in her New York victory speech.

During the call, which took place after they played phone tag through aides, Mr. Obama reiterated he would like to “sit down when it makes sense for you.” The two candidates did not make plans to meet even though they would cross paths for speeches this morning.

Obama and Clinton aides said this morning the Democrats had not spoken again.

Democratic leaders issued a statement this morning, noting “the voters have spoken” during an “exciting” primary season, and urged the final undecided party activists and elected officials known as superdelegates to make their endorsements by Friday.

“Democrats must now turn our full attention to the general election,” read the joint statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Governors Association Chairman Joe Manchin and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean — a release that also did not mention Mr. Obama having reached the 2,118 delegates needed for the party nomination.

“To that end, we are urging all remaining uncommitted super delegates to make their decisions known by Friday of this week so that our party can stand united and begin our march toward reversing the eight years of failed Bush/McCain policies that have weakened our country,” they said. “We once again congratulate all of the candidates for their leadership and dedication to providing this country with a New Direction. We look forward to working with them and with all Democrats to win the White House, congressional seats and state capitals so we can deliver the change the American people deserve and demand.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who worked in Clinton administration, endorsed Mr. Obama this morning.

Mrs. Clinton last night said she had decisions to make in the coming days, and directed supporters to her Web site to share their views and goals with her.

“Be one of 18 million. Stand with Hillary,” the site banners, next to a form asking for name, e-mail address and ZIP code, and with an optional field for comments.

“I’m with you Hillary, and I am proud of everything we are fighting for,” the petition reads.

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