Page last updated at 04:49 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 05:49 UK

Democrat Pelosi urges end to race

Nancy Pelosi - file photo
Mrs Pelosi said the nomination race was hurting the Democrats' chances

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has urged a swift end to the Democrats' contest to nominate a presidential candidate.

Mrs Pelosi, a senior Democrat, told ABC News it was important to get behind one candidate if the party expected to win the White House in November.

A number of supporters of Barack Obama have been calling for his rival Hillary Clinton to concede the race.

Mrs Pelosi did not say which candidate she preferred.

'Financial trouble'

Her comments come after those made by the Democratic Party's national chairman, Howard Dean, who said that he would like to see the race concluded by 1 July.

New York senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton has rejected calls by Obama supporters to abandon her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

She is trailing the Illinois senator in the number of delegates needed to obtain the nomination.

States won: 25

States won: 16

Delegates needed to secure nomination: 2,024.

Source: Associated Press, as of 1 April

But the latest opinion polls suggest that she is leading Mr Obama by more than 10 points in the next major primary election in Pennsylvania on 22 April.

Mr Obama has distanced himself from calls for Mrs Clinton to concede the race, saying she should be able to compete as long as she is able and has supporters.

It is being reported, however, that her campaign is in financial trouble again with several million dollars of unpaid bills.

Mrs Clinton loaned her campaign $5m from her personal fortune ahead of the "Super Tuesday" primaries on 5 February.

Mr Obama currently leads by 1,631 delegates to the national party convention in August to Mrs Clinton's 1,501.

To secure the nomination, the winner must secure 2,024 delegates - which correspondents say neither candidate will be able to do on the basis of delegates won in the remaining primary elections alone.

If Mrs Clinton manages to win a larger share of the national popular vote, it is thought that she may secure the backing of the so-called super-delegates who could tip the balance.

Analysts say a bitter, drawn-out fight between the two contenders, going right up to the Democratic convention in August, could damage the eventual nominee's chances of beating their Republican rival, John McCain.

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US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi

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