Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee of a major US party after Hillary Clinton proposed that her former rival be nominated by acclamation at the Democratic National Convention. Bill Clinton said Obama was "ready" to lead.
In a deafening moment of history, Democrats on Wednesday anointed Barack Obama the first black major-party nominee for president, in a delirious outpouring of unity, hope and tears.
Obama took his stunning political rise to new heights as his foe in the primaries, Hillary Clinton dramatically halted a roll-call vote at the party convention, and called for the 47-year-old Illinois senator to be enshrined the nominee.
And in the second act of the Clinton redemption show, ex-president Bill Clinton cast aside a feud with his wife's rival, with a robust embrace of Obama, saying he was "ready" to be president and on the right side of history.
Only Republican John McCain, who accepts his party's nomination next week, can now stop Obama's historic quest before it reaches the White House.
Tears streamed down the faces of never-say-die Clinton supporters while many African-American Obama backers also gave in to their emotions, faced with a reality many thought they would never live to see.
"With eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together in one voice right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president," Clinton said.
The former first lady, 60, who fought a bitterly divisive duel with Obama for the nomination, got a euphoric reception, as she pushed through a teeming crowd of Democrats, to reach her New York delegation on the convention floor.
"I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention, by acclamation, as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States."
As Clinton made her historic call, cheers thundered through the Denver sports arena hosting the Democratic National Convention, as delegates chanted Obama's mantra "Yes We Can" "Yes We Can."
It was left to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of US House of Representatives, to make official the historic nomination of the son of a Kenyan goat herder, and an white woman from Kansas.
"It is with great pride that I announce Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States by acclamation," she said.
"I have been asked to inform you that Senator Obama accepts the nomination," she said, drawing more delirious cheers, adding the Illinois senator would deliver his acceptance address on Thursday.
Obama, who had just flown into Denver after a tour of battleground states, was at his hotel as the historic vote was taken, with his wife and daughters, aides said.
Just a few hours later, former president Bill Clinton made his own gesture of unity and party healing, casting aside his bitterness over his wife's defeat, to offer his most robust endorsement yet of Obama.
"Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world," Clinton said, after a rapturous reception, from convention delegates and activists waving American flags.
"Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constiution.
"Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States."
Obama has had to face fierce charges from Republicans that he is not ready to be president of the United States, so the unqualified endorsement by a man who has sat in the Oval Office will lend huge weight to his campaign.
"We prevailed in a campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief. Sound familiar?," Clinton asked.
"It didn't work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history.
"And it won't work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history."
Clinton had on a previous occasion declined to say Obama was ready to lead, fueling a sense of mistrust between the two camps, which some analysts believe might have severely hampered Democratic hopes in November.
But he offered a warm endorsement of the Democrat who wants to follow him into the White House.
"Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.
"That makes two of us."
The embrace of Obama by the Clintons was the latest step in a choreographed show of unity and reconciliation following their acrimonious primary dust-up.
Clinton's primary voters are vital to Obama, as his White House race with McCain has tightened to a dead heat.
Obama's vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden meanwhile was 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.
Date created : 2008-08-28