- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2008

While Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters gather in Washington to witness the official end of her historic presidential run Saturday, Barack Obama will take time to savor his Democratic primary victory and get ready for a date.

The Illinois senator will hop on a bike for some exercise around Chicago, take his wife, Michelle, out to dinner and help his daughters host a slumber party.

But the celebration will be short-lived because, the presumptive Democratic nominee said, “We’ve got work to do.”

And how his one-time rival, who attracted more than 18 million voters in the primary season, will help Mr. Obama accomplish his goal should become clearer Saturday.

Mrs. Clinton´s campaign said she would endorse Mr. Obama at a noon event at the National Building Museum and call for the party to unite behind its nominee.

“She’s going to be gracious and enthusiastic about what she says about Barack Obama and that will transfer to her supporters,” said longtime Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf, a Clinton supporter.

The players in a hard-fought contest huddled late Thursday night, and aides said they discussed ways to ensure the divisive, 16-month battle that ended Tuesday doesn’t undermine Mr. Obama´s chances of defeating presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in November and capturing the White House for the Democrats.

The two Democrats had no staffers or Secret Service agents in the room, and talked for about an hour in Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Washington living room.

“They both left laughing,” Mrs. Feinstein told reporters.

Mrs. Clinton spent Friday preparing her concession speech and hosted a party last night for campaign staff at her Washington home.

Mr. Obama, who has been getting a boost in national polls since locking up the party nomination to run against Mr. McCain, will get back on the campaign trail Monday for an economic speech as part of a new tour. Until then, it’s relaxation time.

“It hasn’t sunk in,” Mr. Obama told reporters on his campaign plane Thursday. “We’ve been going on a pretty fast clip. … I’m going to take my wife out on a date. I hope to go on a bike ride with my kids.

“At some point this weekend I will have the opportunity to reflect on the journey we’ve traveled and I think that will help me chart a course for where we’re going to go over the next five months,” Mr. Obama said.

The “Change That Works for You” tour begins Monday with a speech in Raleigh, N.C. Following that will be a “two-week economic swing” across the country, with possible stops in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida - all states the Illinois senator lost in the primary.

After the Raleigh speech, Mr. Obama will attend a fundraiser in St. Louis. He will campaign in Missouri - which has successfully picked the president for decades - on Tuesday.

In Chicago Friday, Mr. Obama made a surprise stop at a downtown rally for the city´s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

“In the interests of full disclosure, I only live two blocks away from where the Olympics are going to kick off in 2016,” Mr. Obama said. “And so I´m just going to be able to walk over there. I might have to rent out my house, I don´t know how much it´s going to be worth.”


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