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URGENT

Officials: Clinton will concede delegate race to Obama

Eds: ADDS graf on Obama expected to amass enough delegates to clinch nomination Tuesday.

By BETH FOUHY

Associated Press Writer

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that 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.

The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City. Obama is 40 delegates shy of clinching the nomination, but he is widely expected to make up the difference Tuesday with superdelegate support and votes in South Dakota and Montana. Once he reaches the magic number of 2,118, Clinton will acknowledge that he has secured the necessary delegates to be the nominee.

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.

The advisers said Clinton has made a strategic decision to not formally end her campaign, giving her leverage to negotiate with Obama on various matters including a possible vice presidential nomination for her. She also wants to press him on issues he should focus on in the fall, such as health care.

Universal health care, Clinton’s signature issue as first lady in the 1990s, was a point of dispute between Obama and the New York senator during their epic nomination fight.

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