Bottom Line: Obama Team Looks Past Clinton

As Democrats continue to wonder how long Sen. Hillary Clinton can hang on, Barack Obama made a high-profile bid for Congressional superdelegates with a Thursday appearance on Capitol Hill. The Obama campaign is now taking steps to pivot away from the Democratic nomination battle and toward the general election, reports ABC News' Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Charlie Gibson talked Thursday with Stephanopoulos on "World News".

CHARLES GIBSON: Let me get to those comments, George, that Sen. Obama made talking about having a majority of pledged delegates. But that's not the number of delegates he needs to actually get nominated at the convention. So what's he talking about - this important date of May 21?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he's going to say that's the number that counts the most - these pledged delegates. And that's why he is going to declare victory, Charlie. Also, by May 20, after Oregon and Kentucky, they're going to argue they're ahead by every metric that counts.

They're ahead on the popular vote.

They're ahead in states won.

And by then, they will also be ahead, most likely, in superdelegates. In fact, with the two superdelegates that Sen. Obama picked up today, he's pulled to within one superdelegate of Sen. Clinton.

CHARLES GIBSON: All right. Hillary Clinton is going around to {several of the upcoming primary states), saying that the primaries to come are important. So what's the Obama strategy now? Is it simply to ignore her and to go on as if you're already running against {Arizona Sen.} John McCain?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Not exactly. They know they can't completely ignore her because that would appear arrogant or disrespectful. But they are going to make a hard pivot to the general election and the race against {presumptive Republican presidential nominee} John McCain.

You saw Sen. Obama trying to unify the superdelegates up on Capitol Hill today. They're going to announce a 50-state voter registration drive headed by {Massachusetts} Gov. Deval Patrick and Melissa Estridge on Saturday. They're going to ratchet up in rhetoric on Sen. McCain {and}


tone it down on Sen. Clinton. In fact, they're trying to discourage surrogates from debating the Clinton campaign in coming days. They want to turn to the general election now.

CHARLES GIBSON : All right, George Stephanopoulos in Iowa tonight. Thanks very much.

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