WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama inched closer to securing the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday with delegate pickups in Nevada, Kansas and Maryland.
In Nevada, Obama stole a delegate from rival Hillary Rodham Clinton by drawing more supporters at the state Democratic convention Saturday. A vote broke 55-45 percent in Obama's favor, giving Obama 14 of Nevada's 25 pledged delegates to the National Democratic Convention in Denver this summer to Clinton's 11.
The shift is a gain of one pledged delegate for Obama over the split calculated after the state's January caucuses. Although Clinton won the support of 51 percent of the caucusgoers in January, under the complicated system of awarding delegates Obama was put on track to winning 13 delegates to Clinton's 12.
Obama also picked up an add-on delegate in Kansas and a superdelegate in Maryland.
The pickup brings Obama's delegate total to 1,907 to Clinton's 1,718. The number needed to secure the nomination is 2,026.
Bill Clinton calls for unity
Facing a vocal crowd of Obama backers in Nevada on Saturday, Bill Clinton all but abandoned typical campaign rhetoric. He mentioned his wife's candidacy only briefly, and instead focused his comments on a call for party unity against the Republicans in November.
"Don't you forget why you came here. You did not go to all this trouble to have an argument with each other," the former president said. "The argument is necessary so we can pick the best president and the most electable one. Those are the only two things that matter. … After that, we have to get the show on the road, folks. We have a country to change and a future to secure."
Hillary Clinton keeps on going
Hillary Clinton began a swing through Kentucky on Saturday with a tour of the famous Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto. Perhaps she was hoping for a replay in Kentucky of the election boost her shot of whiskey gave her last month in Pennsylvania, where she won the primary.
"There are some people who have been saying for months that this is over, and every time they say it, the voters come back and say, 'Oh no it's not,' " she told supporters.
Obama comes full circle
Attempting to lay a symbolic claim to his party's presidential nomination, Obama will mark Tuesday's round of primary voting with a rally in Iowa, where his solid win in January caucuses propelled him to his status as the front-runner.
Obama was campaigning Saturday for primaries Tuesday in Oregon and Kentucky as his aides announced the rally in Iowa, which they described as "a critical general election state that Democrats must win in November."
Though health care was his theme of the day, Obama returned to a debate launched Friday with Republican presidential candidate John McCain on foreign policy. "If you agree that we've had a great foreign policy over the last eight years, then you should vote for John McCain," Obama said.
What's in the stars?
Picking a winner of the presidential contest is front and center at what's being billed as the largest astrologers' convention in years.
More than 1,500 astrologers from 45 countries have descended on Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention in August. The gathering concludes Tuesday with a panel predicting a presidential winner in November.
Clinton is hoping for a big win in Kentucky's primary Tuesday. But Oregon also votes Tuesday, and Obama is favored there.