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Clinton formally bows out of US presidential race

Last updated on: June 07, 2008 23:44 IST

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday formally ended her historic campaign for the American presidency and roundly endorsed rival Barack Obama for the Democrats' bid for the White House.

"Yes, we can," Clinton declared as she pledged to do everything she could to help elect Obama as the next US president after she accepted defeat at the hands of the first African-American to secure a major party presidential nomination.

"The way to continue our fight now to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our energy and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States," the former US first lady said in a speech before cheering supporters packed into the ornate National Building Museum.

Suspending her tumultuous 17-month campaign to become US' first woman president, Clinton asked her supporters to rally behind 46-year-old Obama, who has secured the Democratic nomination after crossing the magic figure of 2,118 delegates.

"Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary campaign he has won. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me," the New York senator said in a move that may heal the Democratic party bruised by a prolonged bitter race for the White House.

Clinton asked the over 18 million people who voted for her to support her Senator colleague from Illinois.

On Tuesday, Obama sealed the Democrats' presidential nomination setting up a poll battle with Republican John McCain.

Joining her on stage were her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, before she took their leave as she addressed the crowd.

Clinton was once a front-runner leading national polls by huge margins last year, but her campaign was stunned by her loss in the leadoff Iowa caucuses on January 3.

The Clinton camp has made it known that she may accept an offer to be the running mate for Obama, but the Obama camp is yet to take a decision on it.

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