Hillary Clinton on Thursday disavowed efforts by supporters who have urged Barack Obama to choose her as his running mate.
“She is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her,” communications director Howard Wolfson said. “The choice here is Sen. Obama's and his alone.”
Clinton is planning an event in Washington on Saturday to thank supporters and urge them to back Obama's candidacy. But as she was bowing out of the race, supporters in Congress and elsewhere were ramping up a campaign to pressure him to put her on the ticket in the No. 2 spot.
Bob Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television and Charlotte Bobcats majority owner, sent a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday urging the group to encourage Obama to choose Clinton. He said he was doing so with her blessing.
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Clinton has told other friends and supporters she would be willing to be Obama's running mate. But her immediate task is bringing her own presidential bid to a close.
In an e-mail to supporters, the New York senator said she “will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Sen. Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.”
Clinton expressed the same sentiment in a call with 40 members of her national finance committee, whom she urged to begin raising money for Obama and for the Democratic National Committee.
“She was in good spirits and totally supportive, without qualification, of Sen. Obama and his campaign,” finance co-chairman Alan Patricof said.
Many of Clinton's supporters want her as the vice presidential candidate, in their minds a “dream ticket” that would bring Obama her enthusiastic legions and broaden his appeal to white voters.
But Obama indicated he intends to take his time.
“We're not going to be rushed into it. I don't think Sen. Clinton expects a quick decision and I don't even know that she's necessarily interested in that,” Obama told NBC.
Some of Clinton's closest supporters – the nearly two dozen House Democrats from New York – switched their endorsements to Obama on Thursday.
Another of Clinton's most prominent supporters, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, also announced his “wholehearted and enthusiastic support” for Obama on Thursday.