Obama's drive to nail down the party nod was buoyed with aand a stronger-than-expected run in Indiana, where he almost overcame rival .
"Hillary Clinton may have gotten what she needed to keep her uphill quest for the Democratic nomination alive - but by the barest of margins," said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. (to read Ververs' full analysis.)
Obama was expected to compete for the six remaining Democratic contests but to also turn attention to general election states, aides said.
Likely Republican presidential nomineehas "run free for some time now" because of Democratic preoccupation with the ongoing primary fight, said Obama strategist David Axelrod. "I don't think we're going to spend time solely in primary states," he said. "We have multiple tasks here."
The Illinois senator was enjoying a rare down day in his hometown before returning to Washington, D.C., late Wednesday
He was expected to travel later in the week to Oregon, where he appears to hold the advantage, and then head to the Appalachian coal-states of West Virginia and Kentucky, where Clinton seems to have the edge. (for the full campaign calendar.)
Meanwhile, in an e-mail to supporters soliciting contributions, Obama called his North Carolina showing "a decisive victory."
As for Indiana, "we did much better than all the pundits predicted, despite Republicans changing parties to support Senator Clinton, believing she would be easier for Senator McCain to defeat," Obama wrote. "Now is the time for each one of us to step up and do what we can to close out this primary."
His campaign made broad suggestions that it was time for the 270 remaining unaligned superdelegates who will determine the outcome of the race to get off the fence, claiming the delegate math leaves little path for a Clinton victory.
"We think the Clinton camp has gotten away with a little bit of creating these alternative views of reality," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.