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Obama Climbs Just 47 Delagates Short to Clinch Nomination

Illinois Senator Barrack Obama lost Puerto Rico to Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton, 68% to 32% but the additional 17 delegates places the Illinois Senator just 47 delegates short to finally clinch the Democratic Nomination. The picture looks very well for Obama as the remaining primaries in South Dakota and Montana with a remaining 38 delegates up for grab as well us 200 uncommitted super delegates.

Meanwhile as this develops Sen Obama has already turned his full-bore attention to the general election contest against Republican John McCain. Obama's campaign team is trying their best to make voters in the general elections to realize that he is the change that America needs and that this is the time to unite behind him.

Obama, the Illinois senator took a series of bold steps to signal his focus was riveted on the fall campaign:

• He severed all remaining ties with his Chicago church and politically meddlesome pastors who have preached from its pulpit.

• His campaign announced he would go to the lion's den, the site of this summer's GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., for a rally this Tuesday marking the end of the primary season.

• He stepped up his criticism of McCain, pummeling him on Iraq, Iran and veterans matters.

Clearly, there are some big general election challenges ahead for Obama.

"Obama has to deal with the issue of white working-class reservations about him, highly social conservative attitudes," said Andrew Kohut, president of the independent Pew Research Center.

In many ways, Obama's resignation from the church and repudiation of ministers who made inflammatory racial comments from its pulpit should help with this group.

But more important, said Kohut, Obama needs to strongly reach out to independents. "Right now, they're breaking for Obama. All elections are about how independent voters break."

Plus, Obama is the first one to acknowledge that things happen, and that in a YouTube world, anything can rear up instantly and come close to destroying your political career — like the sermons of two preachers who are among his longtime acquaintances and supporters.

Remarks by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, inflamed racial tensions. These were reinforced by recent comments from the same pulpit by a visiting pastor, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, that raised racial issues and mocked Clinton. Clips of both were circulated extensively on YouTube and shown on television.

"I have to say this was one I didn't see coming. We knew there were going to be some things we didn't see coming. This was one," Obama said. "I didn't anticipate my fairly conventional Christian faith being subject to such challenge and such scrutiny. Initially with e-mails suggesting I was a Muslim, later with the controversy that Trinity generated."

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