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Edwards endorses Obama

From NBC's Lee Cowan
NBC NEWS has confirmed that John Edwards will endorse Sen. Barack Obama. Obama's event in Grand Rapids, Mich., is scheduled to begin at 6:15pET, notes NBC's Mark Hudspeth. Obama is expected to introduce Edwards at the event. [UPDATE: "Realistically," Obama is likely taking the stage at 6:35 p.m.]

NBC's Domenico Montanaro adds...
Edwards has 18 pledged delegates, according to the NBC NEWS count.

Even if all of those people voted for Obama, and there's no guarantee they would, it wouldn't quite give Obama a majority in pledged delegates, but it would get him close. Edwards' people are really loyal and might not vote for Obama or Hillary or whoever -- even if Edwards tells them to.

Here's the math...

- The total number for DNC is 4,051 (as number needed is 2,026).
- There are 797 superdelegates.
- So 3,254 total possible pledged delegates
- Therefore, 1,627 is the number needed for majority.
- Obama has 1,599 pledged delegates.
- So that would mean he needs 28 pledged delegates for a majority.
- Edwards' 18 -- even if they all voted for Obama -- would leave the Illinois senator 10 short.
- That's a number Obama would certainly pick up May 20th. Between the contests in Kentucky and Oregon there are a total of 103 delegates are at stake.

(NOTE: Edwards got 7% last night in West Virginia.)

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports that NBC NEWS has learned that Edwards called Clinton to give her advance notice of his impending endorsement.

One source close to Clinton pointed out "unlike Bill Richardson," reflecting the better relations she has always enjoyed with Edwards. [UPDATE: The source was actually referencing that Richardson didn't call BILL Clinton. Hillary and Richardson had a "tense" conversation. The Clinton camp will not forgive Richardson for not calling Bill Clinton to give him a heads up of his Obama endorsement -- after promising he wouldnt endorse.]