"Tonight, I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States." With those words, Barack Obama made history Tuesday night. Sixteen months after launching his brash, long-shot quest for the White House, Barack Obama claimed victory as the Democrats' standard-bearer - the first African-American candidate anointed by either major party for the White House. The backdrop chosen for Obama's declaration of victory was an in-your-face message to GOP opponent John McCain - the arena in St. Paul that will be the site of this summer's Republican National Convention. "Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another - a journey that will bring a new and better day to America," Obama said to 17,000 cheering, joyous supporters. Another 15,000 crowded the streets outside. Obama and his wife, Michelle, who wore a violet dress, ascended the stage amid thunderous applause. Obama kissed her on the cheek before she left the stage and he began to speak. The senator thanked his family and staff but reserved his most heartfelt thanks to his grandmother, who lives in Hawaii and can't travel. "Tonight is for her," he said. The nomination prize became Obama's as scores more superdelegates rallied to his side Tuesday. His delegate share from the last two primaries in South Dakota and Montana sealed his win over Hillary Clinton. Obama's bold and successful challenge to Clinton, a former First Lady with worldwide fame and unmatched political machines, ranks with the biggest political upsets in modern American history. Obama, with his fans cheering their approval, offered generous tribute to the vanquished New York senator even as she held off from conceding defeat. "As someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning" is "an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be," Obama said.
It was a long, hard fought primary season and much congratulation goes out to Sen. Obama for securing the Democratic Party's nomination. As I said, I always knew that the day would come when our country would see an African American not only lead one of the two major political parties (and I *always* knew it'd be the Democratic Party) but go on to lead our country as a whole. Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd see it in my lifetime but here we are ... poised on the brink of this major and important accomplishment. But, we do still have to get thru the actual presidential campaign this Fall ... [Source]
... and it's unclear exactly where Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will fit in the race for the White House. Sen. Clinton congratulated Obama "on the race he had run" but she has yet to concede the race -- possibly until she is asked to join Obama's ticket in the Vice President position. Here are pics of Sen. Clinton with her husband, former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea at a rally at Baruch College in New York last night:
Sen. Hillary Clinton says she's not out, but with rival Sen. Barack Obama securing his long-held lead, many are asking what she plans to do next. Both candidates will be in Washington on Wednesday, first when they each address the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and later when they are both expected in the Senate for a budget vote. Obama became his party's presumptive nominee Tuesday and will be looking to unite Democrats divided by the long and contentious primary season. Some say putting Clinton on the ticket might fit the bill, but the former first lady promised Tuesday only that she wouldn't make an immediate decision on her future. "Now, the question is: Where do we go from here?" she asked supporters gathered at New York's Baruch College on Tuesday. "And given how far we've come and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight." Clinton lavished her opponent with praise, saying he ran an "extraordinary race" and made politics more palatable for many. "Sen. Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved," she said. "Our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. So we are grateful." But with some Democrats clamoring for her to join Obama on the ticket, and with the Democratic National Convention -- and thus, the official anointment -- still more than two months out, the senator from New York gave no hint as to her plan.
Four top Democratic leaders on Wednesday morning asked all uncommitted superdelegates to make their preferences known by Friday. While they did not formally endorse Mr. Obama or urge Mrs. Clinton to exit the race, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said in a joint statement: "Democrats must now turn our full attention to the general election." They added that the party needed to "stand united and begin our march toward reversing the eight years of failed Bush/McCain policies that have weakened our country." But Mrs. Clinton's top aides on Wednesday morning continued to sidestep questions about when she would suspend her campaign, even as some of her supporters began ratcheting up pressure on Mr. Obama to take her on as his running mate. Robert L. Johnson, a prominent Clinton-backer and the founder of Black Entertainment Television, said Wednesday on CNN's "American Morning" that he planned to enlist members of the Congressional Black Caucus to push Mr. Obama to accept Mrs. Clinton as his vice presidential nominee, adding that Mrs. Clinton had not directed his efforts but was aware of them. Mr. Johnson argued that an Obama-Clinton ticket would have the best chance of winning in the general election and would help unify the Democratic Party. Lanny Davis, an aide in the Clinton White House, said he was circulating a petition asking Mr. Obama to pick Mrs. Clinton as his running mate. Mr. Davis said he was acting on his own. Later, however, Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton campaign chairman, insisted on CNN that there had been "absolutely zero discussions" about whether she would accept a vice presidential nod. Mr. McAuliffe said Mrs. Clinton wanted to talk things over with her supporters on Wednesday. "There is plenty of time," Mr. McAuliffe said, continuing to argue that she had won the popular vote, a notion disputed by the Obama campaign. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton talked early Wednesday morning by telephone. He congratulated her and renewed his offer to "sit down when it makes sense for you," according to a spokesman for Mr. Obama, Robert Gibbs. Mrs. Clinton responded positively, Mr. Gibbs said, but added there were no immediate plans to meet on Wednesday. Attention is focused at this point on the delicate dance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, a relationship that has been rife throughout this primary battle with complicated tensions.
And here we are ... at the end of a Democratic primary that was hard fought between a woman and a Black man and I couldn't be more thrilled. I have been totally convinced that the Democrats are going to win back the White House this year and I've been so excited that no matter which Democratic frontrunner ended up with the nomination (Obama or Clinton) I'd be happy with the result. I have been supporting Sen. Clinton in the primary race but am now throwing all of my support for Senator Barack Obama. Whether or not the ticket turns out to be an Obama/Clinton ticket, I will happily support and campaign for Obama to win the presidency of the United States of America. The time is now for change ... it is going to happen. [Source, Source]