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Democrats poised to open Obama's convention

Democrats launch a star-studded party to rally around Barack Obama's White House bid, with Hillary Clinton set for a symbolic gesture of unity after their tense primary showdown.

world Updated: Aug 25, 2008 14:16 IST

Democrats launch a star-studded party to rally around Barack Obama's historic White House bid on Monday, with Hillary Clinton set for a symbolic gesture of unity after their tense primary showdown.

Obama, 47, who will become the first black presidential nominee, said yesterday he will try to convince voters he is just a normal middle class American despite his exotic upbringing and Republican claims he is an elitist.

"You'll find out, 'he's pretty much like us,'" Obama told supporters referring to himself, days after lambasting his Republican rival John McCain for being unable to say how many homes he owns with his multi-millionaire wife.

Though the Democratic National Convention is Obama's moment in the spotlight, his former foe Hillary Clinton will be watched almost as closely,under intense pressure to unify Democrats after their bitter nominating clash.

As Republicans picked at the wounds of their marathon battle, a Democratic official said on condition of anonymity that Clinton was expected to release her haul of delegates, leaving them free to vote for Obama in Wednesday's symbolic roll-call vote.

The former first lady will host a reception for her delegates piled up in a countrywide string of primaries and caucuses in the first six months of this year, a day after addressing the convention tommorow night.

Republicans however are attempting to play on the anger of Clinton supporters who feel their heroine was deprived of her rightful spot as the nominee, or even a vice presidential nod, partly through sexism.

A hard-hitting McCain political ad said Clinton had been passed over for "speaking the truth" about Obama's political agenda during their acrimonious battle.