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Obama, Clinton Meet to Unify Democratic Party Ahead of November

Apparent U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama held a private meeting with rival Hillary Clinton Thursday night, as the two seek to unify the party following their long and sometimes bitter nominating contest.

After successfully eluding the media, the two Democrats met at the Washington home of Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein from California for a discussion about the November general election.

The former first lady is expected to officially suspend her bid for the Democratic nomination and support Obama at a public event in Washington on Saturday.

Clinton supporters are urging Obama to select her as his vice presidential running mate. Clinton has distanced herself from those efforts, but party insiders say she would accept the position if it is offered.

Meanwhile, presumed Republican nominee John McCain has launched a new campaign initiative targeting independent voters called "Citizens for McCain." The organization is headed by Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, a former Democrat who has endorsed McCain.

In a message on the campaign's Web site, Lieberman says McCain can unite Democrats, Republicans and Independents like no one else in the country.

McCain's campaign is also launching a new television advertisement touting his military credentials and national security expertise.

In the 30-second ad the Vietnam veteran says he understands the "terrible costs of war", while not specifically mentioning the war in Iraq, which he supports.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.