ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., may have clinched the Democratic nomination by delegates last night, but Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has not officially conceded and there are still uncommitted superdelegates lurking among the columns in the marbled hallways on Capitol Hill.
Although that number is shrinking by the hour.
Citing a need to "coalesce around our candidate," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said this morning he would join some colleagues in endorsing Obama later this afternoon.
"The nominee of our party is obviously Barack Obama," Harkin told reporters after leaving a meeting with other uncommitted senators. "He has obviously picked up the requisite number of delegates."
At the same time, as Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar noted, everyone in the Senate has worked with Clinton and respects her.
Harkin said it is important that Democrats be "sensitive to how Sen. Clinton and her supporters feel today, but we have to coalesce around Senator Obama, who is our nominee."
Several hours later, eight senators, including Harkin and Salazar, issued a joint statement this afternoon pledging to work for Barack Obama in a campaign they are calling "Unity in November."
"Our focus is on victory in November and on giving Barack Obama every ounce of our support, every bit of our energy, and our total commitment to do everything in our power to win the Presidency," the senators’ statement read in part.
"We want to say, to the Clinton supporters who worked their hearts out and whom we know are very disappointed, that their extraordinary effort on her behalf has strengthened our nation. They should be proud of her groundbreaking candidacy and her tireless fight for America’s families," it said.
Also signing the statement were Senators Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Harkin said the superdelegate system should be scrapped and that is largely why he stayed on the sidelines, to see who Democrats choose rather than make the choice for them.
Wyden probably agrees. Before hopping on the "Unity in November" movement, Wyden put out his own statement, in which he said, "When voters in Oregon and around the country hear the word "superdelegate," people start hissing. I never asked to be a superdelegate, and always thought it preposterous that my vote would be accorded greater weight than the vote of the very people who make my public service possible."
He went on: “I would gladly have worked hard to elect either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton, but fortunately, the nation’s choice has been made, as it should have been, not by the superdelegates, but by the grassroots voters. The voters of Oregon certainly spoke clearly on the subject, and my vote will enthusiastically reflect their decision to nominate Senator Obama."