Special Report: Race to the White House
Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, vowing to heal wounds still festering from their White House scrap, agreed Thursday to submit her name to a vote at this month's nominating convention.
The symbolic vote will allow the former first lady's supporters to have their say at the August 25-28 convention in Denver, and then the party can move on to take the fight to Republican John McCain, the erstwhile rivals said.
But it could also bring lingering tensions bubbling back to the fore, with pro-Clinton groups angered at her primary loss already planning to rally in Denver ahead of Obama's coronation on August 27.
"I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong, united fashion," Obama said in a joint statement.
Clinton said: "With every voice heard and the party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama president of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again."
The decision means that delegates in Denver will hold a "roll-call" vote to formally enter Clinton's achievement -- she won nearly 18 million primary votes -- into the record.
The race ran all the way into June, and Clinton came up just short in the delegate count as party grandees known as "superdelegates" rallied behind Obama to be the Democratic champion for November's presidential election.
"After the state-by-state roll is tallied, Mrs Clinton is expected to turn over her cache of delegates to Senator Barack Obama," the New York Times reported.
"So how will Mrs Clinton, who is a superdelegate herself, vote? Associates say she will throw her lot behind Mr Obama and ask her supporters to follow suit," it said.
In a YouTube video from a California fundraiser last month, Clinton told her supporters that a roll-call vote would provide "catharsis" for the Democratic Party after its months-long nominating fight.
Clinton herself is due to address the convention in prime-time on Tuesday, August 26. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, will speak on the next night, Wednesday, when the ballot takes place.
After the ballot, Obama's vice presidential nominee is scheduled to address the delegates.
Hillary Clinton's billing the night before would appear to preclude her from being the VP pick -- and many of her more diehard supporters say the only way they will countenance voting for Obama is with her on the ticket.
But prominent Democrats who sided with the New York senator, the once "inevitable" nominee because of her and Bill Clinton's long standing as Democratic royalty, are now pledging fealty to Obama.
"There are many, many fine choices Senator Obama can make (for VP)," Ohio Governor Ted Strickland told reporters at an automotive conference in Michigan.
"My first choice would be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, obviously, but I have no reason to believe that will happen and I have no idea who the final choice will be," he said.
According to widespread reports, both camps have been debating for weeks the former first lady's demand for a public acknowledgement at the convention of her prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination.
But the joint statement said the initiative came from the Illinois senator.
"Senator Obama's campaign encouraged Senator Clinton's name to be placed in nomination as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran and the fact that she was the first woman to compete in all of our nation's primary contests," it said.
"Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are looking forward to a convention unified behind Barack Obama as the party's nominee and to victory this fall for America."