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Clinton Denies Plans to Concede Tonight

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former president Bill Clinton react to supporters during a rally in Sioux Falls, S.D., June 2, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Anne E. Kornblut
NEW YORK -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's denied a news report that she plans to concede the Democratic nomination to Sen. Barack Obama tonight amid confusion about the timing of what appears a likely withdrawal or suspension of her candidacy sometime this week.

The Associated Press, quoting sources, said Clinton planned to acknowledge tonight at her rally here in New York that Obama has the necessary delegates to secure the nomination. But shortly after the story was published, the campaign issued a statement saying: "The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening."

The AP report caught many Clinton staffers by surprise. One said they were operating on the assumption that she would not concede tonight and were working on her prepared remarks as they were trying to knock down the report that she was ready to give up now.

But her advisers, in private conversations with senior Democrats and Democratic aides, have indicated that she recognizes the likelihood that Obama will secure the nomination tonight or tomorrow with the support of additional superdelegates and that she is prepared to yield to that reality.

Clinton aides have said she is still determined not to be forced out on someone else's timing and wants to take time on Wednesday to assess and make the necessary calls to supporters and advisers before conceding. That would put a suspension or withdrawal no earlier than Wednesday.

Another Clinton adviser acknowledged that a possible concession "is a work in progress" and that the discussions are tightly held within the campaign, involving only a few trusted advisers. They include campaign manager Maggie Williams, chief of staff Cheryl Mills and few others, according to campaign officials.

Clinton will speak tonight after the polls close in Montana and South Dakota.

Obama is expected to pick up more superdelegates today, including a group of officials from Montana after the polls close there. But other uncommitted senators have been urged to wait until Wednesday to announce their support for Obama out of deference to Clinton.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 3, 2008; 12:02 PM ET
Categories:  Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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