Obama Claims Victory in US Democratic Party Presidential Nomination Race
By Mike O'Sullivan
04 June 2008
Barack Obama claimed the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Tuesday, after winning a majority of delegates for the party's nominating convention, which will be held in August. Mike O'Sullivan reports Obama claimed victory as the primary election season came to an end, with contests in Montana and South Dakota.
Barack Obama speaks to supporters in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3 Jun 2008
Even before the Montana polls had closed, the Illinois senator had gained a clear majority of delegates to the nominating convention as, one by one, uncommitted super delegates, party officials and elected leaders, moved over to his column.
"Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America," he told supporters in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the site of the Republican Party's September convention.
The 46-year-old first-term senator becomes the first African American to become the presumptive presidential nominee of a major American party.
He fought a bruising campaign against New York Senator Hillary Clinton, through more than 50 primaries and caucuses in U.S. states and territories. Senator Clinton told supporters, Tuesday night in New York, she would weigh her options after consulting with supporters and party leaders.
Obama, who will be the first African-American to become a nominee for a major political party, said the campaign marks the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another.
He is set for a showdown against the 71-year-old McCain, a veteran Republican lawmaker from Arizona, in the November general election. The two have already taken verbal swipes at each other -- Obama during the event in Minneapolis and McCain during an evening rally just outside New Orleans.
Sen. Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in New York, 3 Jun 2008
Clinton addressed thousands of cheering supporters in New York City. She recognized Obama for what she said was his extraordinary campaign that inspired and empowered Americans. But she said she will not make a decision right now on what her next political step will be.
The support of superdelegates helped moved Obama towards the necessary 2,118 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
Sources close to the former first lady say she would consider joining Obama as his running mate if it would help Democrats win the White House in the November election.
Earlier Tuesday, Obama won the support of a key superdelegate, South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the third-highest ranking House Democrat. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is also expected to endorse Obama.
Superdelegates are elected officeholders and party activists who are free to vote for any candidate at the nominating convention this August in Denver, Colorado.