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AP: Clinton Heads Into Final Primaries With Enough Delegates For Nomination

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hillary Clinton is now the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. The Associate Press says that with additional commitments from superdelegate, Clinton has now crossed the threshold of 2,383 delegates. Clinton is the first woman to secure the nomination of a major party for president of the United States. NPR's Mara Liasson is on the line now. And Mara, so far, what more do we know?

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: What we know is that the Associated Press, which has been doing a very meticulous canvas of all of the superdelegates - those Democratic elected officials who automatically become delegates to the convention and can vote any way they want - they apparently have found 23 more who are supporting Hillary Clinton because this morning, according to the official counts, she still needed 23 delegates to go over the top. So according to the AP, she now is the presumptive nominee.

However, Hillary Clinton herself tweeted, we're flattered, AP, but we have primaries to win. And her campaign manager Robby Mook said, this is an important milestone, but there's still six states that are voting Tuesday, and Hillary Clinton is working hard to earn every vote. So it sounds like her campaign wants to abide the event. It isn't planning on declaring victory until after tomorrow night.

CORNISH: Talk more about this particular milestone - this idea of her being the first woman to top a major party ticket and some of the history here.

LIASSON: Well, this is - lot of history. Last time she ran for president in 2008, she said she put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, but she couldn't quite bust through it. And this time she has. And she will be the first female nominee of a major American political party, and that is history.

She hasn't shied away from the historic significance of her run. She talked today about how now fathers can talk to their daughters about being president. She said she want very emotional about it. But she isn't making that the explicit rationale for her candidacy, but she certainly is aware of the historical significance, and she does acknowledge it.

CORNISH: Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has been challenging essentially the legitimacy of these Democratic Party superdelegates. Remind us who they are, and what do you expect to hear from Sanders about this?

LIASSON: Well, Sanders gave a press conference today where his tone changed a little bit. He has been talking about a contested convention as if neither candidate - neither he nor Secretary of State Clinton - would have the delegates they needed to go over the top, which was kind of puzzling.

But today he had a different tone. He said, we're going to assess where we are after California. He didn't say automatically that he'd continue fighting to the convention in July in Philadelphia. It sounded like he was willing to at least consider that he might have lost this race fair and square.

He's been talking about how it's not fair to have superdelegates, but if you took superdelegates out of the equation, she still would beat him because even in pledged delegates, she has a lead right now of several hundred, and she's probably going to get a lot more tomorrow night. She's also ahead of Bernie Sanders by about 3 million votes - actual votes, and that is quite a different scenario than we had in 2008 where she lost to Barack Obama by only 69 delegates. And she pretty much tied him in the popular vote.

But four days after the last primary, she endorsed Barack Obama and worked very hard for his election. And that's what she wants Bernie Sanders to do. We're just waiting to find out what Bernie Sanders wants to do.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Mara Liasson with the news that by the count of the Associate Press, Hillary Clinton has now secured the Democratic Nomination for president. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.