Former Democratic White House hopeful Senator John Edwards said Friday that Barack Obama has virtually won the party's presidential nominee battle but stopped short of endorsing him.
"I think (Hillary Clinton) has made a very strong case for her candidacy (but) the problem is the numbers," Edwards said on NBC television. "Let's just assume that Barack is the nominee because it's headed in that direction."
Edwards said he thought Barack has a "better chance" to beat Republican presumptive nominee John McCain.
"I think Americans are looking for someone who will fight for them every day ... and I think that Obama will do that," he said.
Still Edwards did not make the definitive step of issuing a personal endorsement.
"I haven't said that I might not come out at some point and say who I think it should be (but) the value of endorsements are greatly inflated," the senator said, adding: "Barack Obama's done pretty well without my endorsement."
Obama said earlier he could declare victory in the Democratic presidential nomination on May 20, when primaries in Kentucky and Oregon may put him over the top in terms of elected delegates.
In that event, Obama said, "we can make a pretty strong claim that we have got the most runs and it's the ninth inning and we have won," using a baseball analogy in an NBC interview.