The wait ends. The drama, on the other hand, has barely begun.
It hasn't been pretty. It's lingering a little too long. But Democrats who feared a messy, divisive end to a too-long campaign that's been both of those things can breathe a little easier: It all ends on Saturday.
The Democratic Party has moved on -- and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton recognized that the lights had been turned out on her bid for the nomination.
The sentence that for so long seemed unfathomable: "Ending her historic, hard fought bid to become the Democratic party's first woman presidential nominee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will announce Saturday, surrounded by supporters, that she is conceding to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.," per ABC News.
From her e-mail to supporters, sent out overnight: "I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise."
Saturday could be quite a show, at a to-be-determined site in Washington: "Thousands invited to this -- everyone from people who gave $5 to multimillionaires," ABC's Kate Snow reported on "Good Morning America" Thursday.
"One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party's nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November," per The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny.
Ah yes -- what's needed. That offers just a hint of the latest campaign, promising all the intrigue and dramatic twists of the former one, just with slightly lower stakes (No. 2, not No. 1).
The Clintons aren't going anywhere. They didn't after Tuesday, won't after Saturday, and won't even after Obama chooses a running mate -- whenever and whomever that may be. (Isn't it the presumptive nominee who usually gets the benefit of a little presumptuousness?)
Not this time:
"The decision [by Clinton] came hours after the launch of an aggressive campaign by some of Clinton's supporters to encourage Obama to pick her as his running mate had further stoked tensions with backers of the senator from Illinois," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Dan Balz report. "Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a prominent Clinton confidant, said in an interview that she was 'absolutely ready' to talk to Obama about the No. 2 slot and would take it if offered."
Johnson tells Balz that Clinton has authorized her supporters to press her case: "That affirmative desire is with Hillary. That's clear. The question is, is there affirmative desire on the part of Senator Obama," he said.
(If she really does want it, does public pressure truly help?)
She may get that. Per ABC News: "On a conference call with Democratic supporters Wednesday, Clinton indicated she would accept the vice presidential nomination if it was offered, but that she doesn't want people to lobby Obama on her behalf for it." Said a Democratic member of Congress who spoke to Clinton Wednesday: "She said, 'Look, I'm not fighting for that. If it helps them, fine. If it doesn't, that's fine, too.' "