Obama leads Clinton in party backing

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama inched ahead of rival Hillary Clinton for the first time yesterday in the quest for support from Democratic delegates who will choose the party's presidential nominee, according to a tracking website.

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama inched ahead of rival Hillary Clinton for the first time yesterday in the quest for support from Democratic delegates who will choose the party's presidential nominee, according to a tracking website.

The independent site RealClearPolitics.com has Obama leading Clinton in the delegate count 1137 to 1134 ahead of the November 4 presidential election.

This includes pledged "super-delegates" - party luminaries, usually top elected officials and former officials. So far, 213 have pledged support for Clinton and 139 for Obama.

Of the 796 super-delegates, 444 remain uncommitted. But, under party rules, even the pledged super-delegates can change candidates if they please.

Analysts say the super-delegates are likely to throw their support behind the candidate who seems to be winning in the run-up to the national Democratic party convention in late August, to avoid a divided conference. - Sapa-AFP

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