From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama's campaign is confident that once the polls close in Montana and South Dakota this evening, an influx of superdelegates will likely throw their support to him. They have seen what they call a "steady trickle" of endorsements this morning, gaining 4.5 superdelegates as of noon eastern.
Although Obama has been consistently making calls to superdelegates, many are coming forth on their own, according to the campaign. During the past months, some superdelegates have promised to make a decision after the last votes are cast in the primary contest. Obama told reporters yesterday that it is important the superdelegates make a decision very soon. "The sooner that we can bring the party together," he said. "The sooner we can start focusing on John McCain in November."
The campaign has been careful not to predict that Obama will come up with the 2,118 delegates needed to clinch the nomination by this evening, saying that it could happen as late as Wednesday or Thursday. Behind closed doors, however, they are growing increasingly confident that he will likely walk out on the stage at the St. Paul rally tonight as the Democratic nominee.
Obama is not doing anything to risk his chances of becoming the nominee, including sticking to his primary day tradition of playing basketball. This morning he played ball with staff and friends at Chicago's East Bank Club.