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Democrats name Obama as presidential nominee

Latest update : 2008-08-29

Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee of a major US party after Hillary Clinton dramatically halted a roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention and proposed that her former rival be nominated by acclamation.

Diary from Denver - Read the FRANCE 24 team's collective blog


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Democrat Barack Obama Wednesday made history as Democrats formally nominated him by acclamation as the first black presidential nominee of a major political party.

Obama's defeated rival Hillary Clinton dramatically halted a roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention and proposed the Illinois senator be nominated by acclamation in a gesture of unity after a bruising primary race.

"I move Senator Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States," Clinton said from the convention floor, surrounded by her New York delegation.

Several Clinton supporters wiped tears from their eyes, as she made the announcement, and some African-American supporters of Obama also appeared to be crying, witnessing a moment many of them thought they would never see.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives made the formal announcement of the historic nomination.

"It is with great pride that I announce Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States by acclamation," House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the convention.

"I have been asked to inform you that Senator Obama accepts the nomination," she said, adding he will deliver his acceptance address Thursday.

Clinton's move was the latest step in a carefully choreographed show of unity and reconciliation following their primary dust-up after she had earlier released her delegates to support Obama.

"I am here today to release you," Clinton said, drawing cries of "No" in a meeting of her delegates in downtown Denver, a day after she ordered her millions of primary voters to unite behind the party White House hopeful.

"You want to vote according to what is in your heart. I am not going to tell you what to do. You have come from different places and made a long journey," she said, adding she had already pledged her vote to Obama.

The state-by-state roll-call vote, based on the delegate hauls apportioned during the marathon coast-to-coast Democratic primary contest got underway Wednesday with Alabama casting 48 votes for Obama, and five for Clinton.

The run-down is a time-honored feature of the convention, which in days gone by was often fraught with tension and horse-trading, but is now merely a ceremonial affair.

Intense negotations between the Clinton and Obama camps took place to ensure that the former first lady won her due, and had her 18 million primary votes honored, while stressing an image of unity.

Clinton's primary voters are vital to Obama, as his White House race with Republican John McCain has tightened to a dead heat.

Later, former president Bill Clinton will grab the spotlight, under pressure to cast aside months of hard feelings to back Obama.

Obama's vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden meanwhile is set to deliver his keynote speech, likely to hammer the convention's Wednesday theme of national security, and to highlight his tragedy-scarred life story.

Act two of the Clinton melodrama at the convention comes a day after Hillary Clinton stirred a rapturous reception and ordered her army of supporters to back the party ticket.

Bill Clinton has been waging an ill-tempered feud with the Obama campaign for months, and has yet to offer a robust endorsement of the new party standard bearer.

Clinton, who accused the Obama camp of playing the "race card" on him, seems to have taken his wife's loss hard, and appears to believe his legacy as the only Democrat to win two terms since World War II is getting insufficient respect.

"President Clinton will lay out the choices that we face on foreign policy," said Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice.

"He will talk about how Barack Obama has what it takes to be a strong commander-in-chief."

Reports quoting unnamed Clinton aides have said the former president will not attend Obama's acceptance speech, due to be delivered before more than 70,000 supporters in an open-air football stadium here on Thursday night.



Special Report on Democrats gather to endorse Obama


Special Report on the race to the White House

Date created : 2008-08-28