Barack Obama | Election 2008 | Hillary Clinton | John McCain | News

Barack Obama Clinches Historic Democratic Nomination


Illinois Senator Barack Obama, as you likely know, became the first Black candidate to lead a major party ticket last night, clinching the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton:

"A last-minute rush of Democratic superdelegates, as well as the results from the final primaries, in Montana and South Dakota, pushed Mr. Obama over the threshold of winning the 2,118 delegates needed to be nominated at the party’s convention in August. The victory for Mr. Obama, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, broke racial barriers and represented a remarkable rise for a man who just four years ago served in the Illinois Senate."

Barack Obama's victory speech from St. Paul, Minnesota, below, in which he offered effusive praise of Clinton, who last night refused to concede, saying "no decisions" would be made yet. Obama also praised rival John McCain.

Obama's prepared remarks, Clinton's speech, as well as McCain's widely panned "prebuttal" to Obama's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...


Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Final Primary Night
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
St. Paul, Minnesota
As Prepared for Delivery

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said - because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, 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. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign - through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. 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.

We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning - even in the face of tough odds - is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency - an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say - let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college - policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians - a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this - there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged. I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years - especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century - terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy - tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy - cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota - he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need.

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future - an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for President.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon - that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment - this was the time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

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  1. And yet the Clintonites continue to cite her win in South Dakota as somehow meaningful. Time to stop breathing your own fumes folks and come together to elect a remarkable and capable candidate who will make a transformational President. The contrast with McCain could not be more stark. More importantly, the stakes are too high--with several Supreme Court Justices hanging in the balance--to continue to inflict hara kiri wounds on the Democratic Party.

    Posted by: rudy | Jun 4, 2008 7:39:32 AM

  2. And so the democrats once again manage to lose the White House. I will never understand why this party LOVES to lose to Republicans. This was our shot and once again, right on schedule we manage to let it slip away by letting this man be our nominee. I hope there is no Obama/Clinton ticket, it won't make a difference. The Republicans will start playing dirty starting today and we will see this man and his alliance sway and crumble. 4 years of MCain is in the cards for this country, there is NOW no doubt about that. One good thing is that this will make Senator Clinton's win in '12 so much sweeter and more historic. Hillary 2012!

    Posted by: daveynyc | Jun 4, 2008 8:23:41 AM

  3. Oh Dave, so sorry your candidate wasn't super smart enough to win.The general election isn't until November so your gloom and dooming are kind are pointless (and pathetic).

    Posted by: homer | Jun 4, 2008 8:32:04 AM

  4. My partner keeps bugging me about something, so I thought I'd throw it out here: Why does the media refer to Obama as Black (as above) when he is bi-racial? I don't have an answer.

    Posted by: PeterH | Jun 4, 2008 8:47:32 AM

  5. YES WE CAN!

    I shouldn't be, but I'm somewhat surprised at how gracious Hillary was NOT last night. Regardless, Obama is going to do very well in November once he becomes more and more known to the general public.

    Posted by: Roger | Jun 4, 2008 8:49:12 AM

  6. I have to admit that I am a obama supporter (even though if it were Clinton against Mcbush, I mean Mccain, I would have voted for Clinton. Now that Obama has gotten the nomination, he had better prepare himself. Clinton is mere childs play compared to the mud slining campaign that Mcbush (exuse me, Mccain) is going to throw at obama in the 5 months that remain before November.

    Again, I am a Obama supporter, so I wish him the best and hope he gets elected in November.

    Posted by: matthew | Jun 4, 2008 8:51:49 AM

  7. Peterh

    bi-racial people, especially half black and half white are black according to the "one drop rule". halle berry, bob marley, derek jeter are refered to a black. More importantly, unless you have advance knowledge of his bi-racial heritage, you would view him (and treat him) as any other black person. How many bi-racial people have you encountered but did not know it? What did u consider them? There's your answer.

    Posted by: Davvy | Jun 4, 2008 8:57:40 AM

  8. The Democratic party is stronger, more unified and better defined by this process. We now know who our nominee is and it is time to lend him all our support so that together we can realize a better future for all.

    Also as Sen. Obama mentioned in his speech he shares a progressive, inclusive vision for America to which Sen. Clinton will be central. Both camps can understand and should appreciate this.

    Sen. McCain is now our opponent and we need to focus on defeating him. We need to be more engaged and make our case to our family and friends. It is time to move forward.

    Posted by: Rafael | Jun 4, 2008 9:04:02 AM

  9. PeterH - I believe the black reference to Sen. Obama in part is due to its historical significance as viewed by the media. Last night he dedicated his triumph to his white grandmother (who raised him) and embraced his African American wife, so one can easily see the complexity of his identity.

    Posted by: Rafael | Jun 4, 2008 9:15:05 AM


    You are now moving into actively helping mccain to win

    Rethink your priorities

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jun 4, 2008 9:16:08 AM

  11. Jimmyboyo, who are you to dictate someone else's priorities. The democratic party as we knew it doesn't exist anymore. They're just as rabid as the republicans.

    Posted by: Liz | Jun 4, 2008 9:55:18 AM

  12. Jimmyboyo:

    The average, non LGBT Clinton supporter will not view the wedge issues like you do. The argument is not arguing whether Obama will further the rights, but whether a democrat will win in November.

    Posted by: Landis | Jun 4, 2008 9:56:52 AM

  13. The paid Republican trolls on various sites, not surprisingly, say the same things. They often pose as concerned Democrats or Independents. They want, above all, for us to become hopeless and demoralized. I just say to them, nice try but we're not buying your horseshit.

    Posted by: Miles | Jun 4, 2008 10:05:49 AM

  14. @PeterH

    The media refer to him as black because that's what he is, as anyone with a pair of eyes, and a fully functioning brain can see.
    I do think that the fact that he's biracial makes him more appealing to whites, but the media will never mention that whn cooing over him.

    More importantly Barack self identifies as a black man, and if he wasn't a Senator he'd be treated like the rest of us out here in racist America. Fact.

    Posted by: michael | Jun 4, 2008 10:06:39 AM

  15. DAVENYC will still be cheering HRC on his deathbed. "Go Hillary 2032!"

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Jun 4, 2008 10:07:46 AM

  16. Landis

    He will and you will owe me that $10 canadian. :-) (wink)

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jun 4, 2008 10:18:49 AM

  17. Wow, have you tried to listen to John McCain's speech from News Orleans. It was just AWFUL. I wouldn't be surprised if there were people sleeping in that audience. Even Fox commentators are giving competing explanations on why that speech tanked.
    If that's the best he (and his team) can do....bring on the debates. He is old, he is tired and he is NOT a candidate of change. How will he inspire the younger generation of americans? I just don't see it happening.

    Posted by: excy | Jun 4, 2008 10:29:43 AM

  18. As you can plainly see in the photo at the link below, after Hillary's speech last night, Michelle Obama is about three deep breaths away from tearing Hillary's head off and shitting down her throat:

    God bless her!

    Posted by: 24play | Jun 4, 2008 10:57:49 AM

  19. From the bashing comments directed at Clinton supporters by the Obama supporters on this site and many other blogs, I think it's funny now that you all would expect us to get behind Obama so he can win. There are more pieces to that puzzle that will never be complete.

    The "change/come together" message was lost along time ago on me by Obama, David Axelrod and his cronies. Just because Obama can read, I mean deliver a great prepared speech , doesn't make him capable of being a great leader.
    The reason I will not be voting for him is very

    I do not trust people that will act sweet to my face and do and say nasty things behind my back, or worse yet, have others do their dirty work for them. The whole notion that Obama is not politics as usual is an absolute fabrication. I saw that first hand when my vote (or lack there of here in Florida) was given a chance to be heard by having a re-vote here in Florida which was offered by the Clinton campaign. Because it didn't help them, the Obama campaign put a stop to that and did so while going out on every pundit filled Obama loving show saying how much they wanted every vote to count. This is just one fact in a line of many that has shown his true colors to me and many others.

    Another fact is that Obama has faulted Hillary on judgment, saying his is superior to hers. Where was his judgment in going to a church that spewed hate from the pulpit FOR 20 YEARS…judgment? Or should I quote Obama's speech and say "Just Words?"

    First his answer was, oh the media is taking snippets of Rev Wright and twisting the truth, I can't disown him as much as I could disown my own Grandmother, then when Rev Wright gets up in front of the National Press Club and SAYS THE EXACT SAME THINGS AS WERE THOSE SNIPPETS, Obama disowns him. But wait, actually Rev. Wright did say one additional thing at that Press Club meeting to cause Obama to disown him…he said Obama was just being a POLITICIAN. I guess that Rev Wright saying our government caused AIDS, the USA being called the US of KKK-A, that we basically deserved 911, the adoring comments about Louis Farrakhan (a homophobe/bigot to the tenth degree) were not deserving of Obama disowning Wright, but you add to that that Obama is a politician, and that's it!!!! Wright is out of here.

    I could go on all day with examples, but I'll spare you.

    With all of Hillary's faults, (and there are many)she has never shied away from acknowledging she is a politician...she is what she is. I trust her more because of this fact.

    So, to all of you who say we are sore losers, McCain lovers, idiots, racists, etc., etc., etc. I don't accept any of those descriptors, I am someone who wants someone in the Whitehouse who is real, someone who doesn't act like they were sent by God to heal the land and atone for my sins...those types can stay in the pulpit.

    I will not be voting for McCain or Obama. I will leave it up to those who love the two of them to fight it out between each other. I would urge other Hillary supporters to show integrity and sit this election out, not just vote for the lesser of two evils.

    Hillary 2012!!

    Posted by: daniel | Jun 4, 2008 11:09:56 AM

  20. Daniel- VERY well put. I just donated to her campaign again this morning.

    Hillary 2012!!

    jimmyboyo- u rock :)

    Posted by: daveynyc | Jun 4, 2008 11:21:51 AM

  21. The most striking moment on TV last night was the McCain event in Louisiana that looked like it was staged at a Motel 6 (the tight shots suggested not that many peeps)compared with the 17,000 excited Obama supporters in St. Paul. I look forward to the campaign.

    Posted by: Jack Scribe | Jun 4, 2008 11:30:45 AM

  22. We just need to stop talking about hillary.
    Obama won the nomination. Point.
    Her not conceding at this points is just delusional or damaging and disgraceful politician plot, when this is such an important election.
    People keep bringing up the sexism issue, but don't you tink a lot of women voted for her only because she is a woman?
    And don't you think a lot of white and hispanic people voted for her because obama is black?

    Posted by: toto | Jun 4, 2008 11:32:02 AM

  23. I would have been happy with either Hillary or Obama as the Democratic nominee, but it will be Obama, and Hillary will be behind him in one way or another. And she will be behind him for a reason: having a Democrat in the White House come November will be far better for gay people and for all people who do not want the ideologies of the disastrous Bush administration to continue for another 4 years. Sitting an election out does not show integrity, and Hillary would be the first person to advise her supporters that pinning hopes on Hillary 2012 is petty and dangerously misguided at this point in history.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 4, 2008 11:32:29 AM

  24. Ernie:

    You miss the point. The President of the United States of America is a job position.

    These candidates are asking us to hire them.

    If you owned a company, would you hire someone you didn't trust?

    Bottom line...I don't trust Obama, I will not hire him.

    It takes someone of integrity to not just look the other way, but walk the other way.

    I do trust McCain more than I trust Obama, but I do not in any way agree with the majority of his policies, so I will not vote to hire him either.

    You stated in your post that you would have been happy with either Hillary or Obama, I don't feel the same and you can't fault me for that.

    DAVENYC...back at ya! :)

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 4, 2008 11:47:47 AM

  25. DANIEL, NEWSFLASH: Rev. Wright is NOT running for president and he never was. I'm sorry if you were misinformed.

    Now, please,come down off the cross bubba, we're gonna need the wood. Acting as if Obama supporters have been any more rude, uncivil or offensive than Clinton supporters is simply absurd.

    You and DAVENYC can continue reveling in your pity party but kindly do it out of the way of those of us who will be working to put the Democratic nominee into the White House in 2008. 2012 will be TOO LATE to save us from a Scalia/Thomas styled Supreme Court. You should consider getting your priorities in order.

    Moving on to the general election, that speech by McSame was LITERALLY painful for me to watch. I almost felt sorry for the old man. He seemed so out of place (I guess being in New Orleans had something to do with that) and so out of touch. His speech was tortured and seemed to be choreographed down to the fake smiles and forced laughs. There wasn't a single ad libbed moment as he bounced from teleprompter to teleprompter to teleprompter. He had THREE of them set up, and he bounced between them like a ping pong ball. And what was with that sacchrine sweet tone of voice he was using. It reminded me of that "Stewart" character on Mad TV. I swear to god this man has someone's hand up his butt working him like a puppet.

    The most mind numbing thing about his speech was his attempt to convince people that HE is the agent of change to fix all those terrible things that THOSE PEOPLE did to the country. WHO THE HELL ARE THOSE PEOPLE THAT HE'S REFERRING TO? Was he not one of the foremost leaders of THOSE PEOPLE?

    I can't wait to see this man on the same stage with Obama. We better keep an eye out so that he doesn't get the little earpiece assistance that got Bush through his debates. I don't even think an earpiece prompter could save McCain in a one on one.

    Reagan went into the White House and sadly developed Alzheimer's disease that, in retrospect, we now know affected his performance in his second term. I'm afraid that McSame is going in to this thing with some serious problems with mental agility.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 4, 2008 11:49:34 AM

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