Democratic rules committee to decide whether to restore delegates

Democrats searched for a compromise Saturday to seat disputed delegations from Michigan and Florida at this summer's party national nominating convention and clear the way for a quick end to the marathon struggle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama is a mere 42 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination, in the Associated Press tally, and appears on track to wrap up the party prize in the coming days. Several Democrats said during the day that Obama intends to signal the beginning of his general election campaign after the last primaries by holding a rally Tuesday in the same arena in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Republicans will hold their convention this summer to choose their presumptive nominee, John McCain. Clinton trails by about 200 delegates. She has pressed to have the entire Michigan and Florida delegations seated, both to narrow the gap and to buttress her claim that she has outpolled her rival in the popular vote in the primaries and caucuses. Michigan and Florida both held primaries earlier in the winter than party rules allowed, resulting in the disqualification of their delegates.