Hillary Clinton clinches the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the Associated Press

Obama and Bernie Sanders discuss primary in phone call

 (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

President Obama spoke with Bernie Sanders on Sunday to discuss the lingering Democratic presidential primary, less than 48 hours before California voters head to the polls.

The two chatted by telephone for about 45 minutes, with Sanders taking the call while he was on a highway between events in the Los Angeles area, according to a person familiar with the conversation who was granted anonymity to discuss it. 

Though the two have spoken from time to time in recent months, the timing of their latest call is another sign that leading Democrats are ready to wrap up the primary and form a united front against Donald Trump in the general election. Obama could endorse Clinton as early as Wednesday, White House aides say, but he has long signaled that he would take care to respect Sanders' decision-making. 

Sanders, down in delegates and the path narrowing in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination against front-runner Hillary Clinton, has insisted that he will remain in the primary until the party’s nominating convention in Philadelphia in July.

As he has traversed California in recent days, Sanders has insisted that Clinton will not have enough delegates to become the party’s nominee.

But the math is not in his favor.

After winning a majority of delegates in Puerto Rico’s Democratic contest on Sunday, Clinton is just 23 delegates short of the total needed to secure the nomination. More than 600 pledged delegates will be up for grabs Tuesday in contests from California to New Jersey.

In Southern California on Monday, Clinton called on Sanders to take a page from her playbook in the 2008 primary: drop out.

“Tomorrow is eight years to the day after I withdrew and endorsed Obama,” Clinton said in Compton. “I believe it was the right thing to do no matter what differences we had.”

Staff writer Christi Parsons in Washington contributed to this report. 

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