Sen. Barack Obama said on Wednesday he expected to become the Democratic U.S. presidential nominee after next week and he is considering an overseas trip that may include Iraq.
After a hard-fought primary season against rival Democrat Hillary Clinton, Obama said the general election race will begin in earnest next week after the last two nominating contests are held in South Dakota and Montana.
Talking to reporters on his plane from Denver to Chicago, Obama was asked if the race for the November general election against Republican John McCain begins after Tuesday’s votes.
"Yes," he responded. Asked if he will be the winner of the Democratic nomination at that point, he said, "I believe so."
The Illinois senator, 46, predicted he would be in a "pretty strong position" to clinch the nomination after a Saturday meeting by party officials and Tuesday’s votes.
On Saturday, Democratic officials will work on a compromise over disputed nominating contests in Michigan and Florida. Obama said a resolution on how to seat those delegates would be important to "put the Michigan/Florida issue behind us."
"At that point all the information will be in," he said. "There will be no more questions unanswered. I suspect that whatever remaining superdelegates will be able to make their decisions quickly after that."
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