WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US media Thursday administered the last rites to Hillary Clinton's White House campaign as Democratic elders coalesced behind Barack Obama, but the doughty former first lady vowed no surrender. Editorialists predicted an imminent end to the party's bruising nominating epic, as a slew of headlines proclaimed Obama the Democrats' champion-elect for the November election against Republican John McCain. "And the winner is..." said the cover of the new US edition of Time magazine, over a photograph of Obama with a million-watt smile. "Over the Hill," blared the front page of the New York Post. In an editorial, The Washington Post said that after the New York senator's "disappointing showing Tuesday, she has no plausible route to victory." The Los Angeles Times opined: "She has run a fine race, but she has lost." Obama's thumping win Tuesday in North Carolina, and his narrow defeat by Hillary in Indiana, has rewritten the narrative of this gripping Democratic contest and triggered the chorus of calls for her to bow out. But the Hillary team, familiar with being written out by what it calls the "punditocracy," said the senator remained very much in the race as she kept up a full slate of campaign stops in West Virginia, South Dakota and Oregon. Campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said, "The Press pundits don't get to pick the nominee, Democratic Party voters do." "We still have seven million voters who can vote in the upcoming six contests," he told CBS, looking forward to the final primaries through to June 3. "So we're off, we're going forward." But Hillary has been forced to lend her campaign $6.4m over the past month to keep it afloat, and aides have not proclaimed any bumper take of fundraising since Tuesday, unlike after previous primaries. Meanwhile Obama, who would be the first black nominee of a major US party, has been winning over more of the nearly 800 Democratic grandees called "superdelegates" who look set to decide the nomination. Four more have come off the fence since Tuesday to back Obama and the Democrats' 1972 presidential nominee, George McGovern, has deserted Clinton to argue that the party must unite behind Obama against McCain. On Thursday Obama held a private meeting with several undeclared superdelegates in Washington, and was also attending the Senate before rejoining the campaign trial in Oregon over the next two days. David Bonior, who was the national campaign manager for failed presidential hopeful John Edwards, became the latest Democrat to join the Obama camp. "Now is the time to unite behind Barack Obama so we can end business-as-usual in Washington and fulfil our moral obligation to America's hard-working families," Bonior said. Edwards himself has yet to declare his hand, and a sharper focus will now fall on other Democratic leaders such as former vice president Al Gore and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the primary season ends. Former president Jimmy Carter remains formally neutral but on "The Tonight Show" with comedian Jay Leno late Wednesday, he dropped another heavy hint in favour of Obama. For Democratic insiders to strip the nomination from the candidate with the most votes and states would be a "catastrophe" for the party, Carter said. Obama himself has refused to join in the Hillary quit calls and is hoping that his bitter rival will stage a graceful exit. Senator Claire McCaskill, a prominent Obama backer, said Wednesday it would be "inappropriate and awkward and wrong" for his supporters to tell Clinton the race is over. A top Hillary adviser acknowledged to The New York Times that even in a best-case scenario, she cannot reach the 2,025 delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Her hopes are pinned on counting delegates from Florida and Michigan, whose primaries were voided by the Democratic Party because state leaders held them too early. However, Carter told Leno that the two states had "disqualified themselves," and said "you can't change the rules in the middle of the game."