Obama clinches party nomination
Clinton raises possibility of joining Democratic ticket as running mate
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama clinched victory last night in the Democratic presidential race, defeating Hillary Clinton after a marathon primary campaign and becoming the first black nominee for the White House in American history.
Obama, a 46-year-old rookie senator from Illinois, effectively wrapped up the nomination following a surge of endorsements from Democratic superdelegates and after receiving a clutch of ‘pledged delegates’ awarded after two final primaries in South Dakota and Montana.
“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States,” Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery at a rally in St. Paul, Minn.
“America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past.”
Seeking to heal divisions with Clinton after a bruising and frequently bitter primary campaign, Obama heaped praised on his Democratic rival.
“Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight,” Obama said.
Clinton congratulated Obama and his campaign “for all they have accomplished.”
In a private conference call with Democratic lawmakers from New York, Clinton said she would be “open to” becoming Obama’s vice-presidential running mate.
Obama also quickly pivoted to the upcoming general election campaign against Republican John McCain.
He cast the 71-year-old Arizona senator as a carbon copy of President George W. Bush, particularly in his support of the war in Iraq.
The inevitability of Obama’s victory became increasingly clear throughout yesterday as a steady stream of Democratic superdelegates — party officials and lawmakers awarded automatic votes in the presidential race — publicly announced their support for the Illinois senator.
It takes 2,118 delegates to clinch the nomination, and Obama has 2,128 according to an Associated Press count.