Democratic candidate says Republican rival “unprepared” to be president and “temperamentally unfit” to hold the office.
Hillary Clinton has commitments from the number of delegates needed to become the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Based on the count, AP named her the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee almost eight years to the day she conceded to now-President Barack Obama.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Clinton said that she did not want to “get ahead of herself” and encouraged her supporters to vote in Tuesday’s primary in California, the largest US state, and in other states.
“It is historic and I’m aware of that, and I take that responsibility seriously … I think it’s going to be a positive development – not just for little girls and women but for little boys and men because I’m running to be president for every single American,” Clinton said.
The campaign of Bernie Sanders, her rival, said declaring Clinton the presumptive nominee was a rush to judgment.
The campaign said the Democratic Party’s presidential pick is dependent on superdelegates who can still change their minds between now and the July convention.
‘Impossible’ for Sanders
Political analyst Bill Schneider from the University of California Los Angeles said it was “impossible” to imagine how Sanders could now win the nomination but added that the senator could still pose problems for Clinton.
“The only way he could do it is with superdelegates but he’s complaining that she’s doing it with superdelegates … she’s ahead with elected pledged delegates and that’s very democratic,” Schneider said.
“The question is what’s he fighting for now, what’s his stamp on the party platform? The longer he keeps his campaign going, the more he’ll depict her as the candidate of the national establishment.”
The Democratic contenders are fighting for pledges from 4,765 delegates, of whom 4,046 are elected at primaries held across the US.
The remainder, or superdelegates, are senior members of the Democratic party, including members of its national committee, senators, and members of Congress, who are free to vote as they choose when the party holds its convention on July 25.
Excluding superdelegates, Clinton still leads Sanders by 1,812 delegates to 1,521.