Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has begun his search for a vice presidential running mate, one day after becoming the first African-American to lead a major U.S. political party into a White House race.
Obama Wednesday asked a three-person team to help screen potential vice presidential candidates. That team includes Caroline Kennedy -- the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and the niece of Obama supporter and fellow Senator Ted Kennedy.
On Tuesday, Obama obtained the required number of pledged delegates (two-thousand-118) needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. That followed a long and bruising battle with rival Senator Hillary Clinton.
The presumptive nominee said he spoke with Clinton Wednesday, but did not say if she planned to concede the race. The former first lady has said she will consult with supporters and party officials before making a final decision on dropping out of the race.
Sources close to the former first lady say she would consider joining Obama as his running mate if it would help Democrats win the White House in the November election.
Also Wednesday, President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the highest-ranking African-American in the U.S. government, both congratulated Obama.
The presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, has sent a letter to Obama, proposing that they both take part in a series of town hall meetings prior to the election. McCain said President Kennedy made such an agreement with former Republican Senator Barry Goldwater for the 1964 election, before Mr. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
The Obama campaign says it is receptive to the idea, calling the proposal "appealing."