U.S. Senator John Kerry has all but clinched the Democratic nomination for president, and his main rival, Senator John Edwards, dropped out of the race Wednesday.
The stage is now set for an eight-month campaign between Democrat John Kerry and Republican President Bush.
Senator Kerry scored an impressive victory Tuesday, winning nine out of 10 primaries or caucuses, including large states like New York, California and Ohio.
Speaking to supporters in Washington, the Massachusetts senator took aim at President Bush's foreign policy.
"The Bush administration has run the most inept, reckless, arrogant, ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our county, and we will reverse that course," said Mr. Kerry.
Senator Kerry has now won 27 of the 30 Democratic contests so far, essentially assuring his nomination when the Democrats formally select their candidate during a convention next July.
North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Mr. Kerry's main rival for the democratic nomination, dropped out of the race late Wednesday. Some Democrats would like to see him as a vice presidential running mate for Senator Kerry.
The Massachusetts senator complimented Mr. Edwards, who has won praise for running a positive campaign.
"There is no question that John Edwards brings a compelling voice to our party, great eloquence to the cause of working men and women all across our nation and great promise for leadership in the years to come," he said.
President Bush telephoned Senator Kerry to congratulate him, saying he looks forward to a spirited contest.
Mr. Kerry says he told the president he hopes to have a great debate about the issues before the country.
On Thursday, the Bush campaign plans to begin a multi-million-dollar blitz of television advertisements in states where the November general election could be close.