Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee of a major US party, with support from the Clintons, at the Democratic National Convention. Joe Biden accepts the vice presidential nomination.
DENVER - To shouts of "Yes we can," Democrats nominated
Barack Obama on Wednesday as their presidential
candidate in a historic first for a black American,
backed by his ex-rivals Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Obama made his first appearance at the Democratic National
Convention, stepping out on stage after his vice presidential
running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, attacked Republican John McCain
as he accepted the nomination as No. 2 on the ticket.
"I think the convention has gone pretty well so far. What
do you think?" Obama said to cheering delegates after hugging
Biden and his wife Jill on stage.
Former President Bill Clinton, who has been slow to warm to
Obama after his wife lost a bruising primary battle, worked to
encourage party unity by giving Obama an unwavering seal of
approval in a speech to a packed convention hall.
Delegates cheered Clinton's appearance for so long that he
asked them to sit down.
"My fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready
to lead America and to restore American leadership in the
world," the former president told flag-waving delegates who
interrupted him repeatedly with roars of approval.
"Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United
States," he said.
Biden laid down withering fire on McCain that some
Democrats have said has been lacking. He specifically cited
McCain's opposition to Obama's demand for setting a timetable
for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and said even the Bush
administration and the Iraqi government were on the verge of
setting a date to bring troops home.
"John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right," Biden
As they passed the torch to Obama, the Clintons were in the
In an earlier, emotional show of unity, Sen. Hillary
Clinton strode onto the floor of the party's national
convention during a roll call of the states and formally asked
Democratic delegates to suspend their count and approve Obama's
nomination by acclamation.
"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," she said to raucous cheers.
Her request was quickly accepted by the convention's
presiding official, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy
Pelosi of California.
When Pelosi pounded a gavel to declare Obama the nominee,
delegates held hands together up high, danced and swayed back
and forth to the song "Love Train" in celebration.
"Yes we can," the crowd chanted. "Obama!"
It was a remarkable moment for Obama, the son of a black
father from Kenya and white mother from Kansas who was raised
in humble beginnings and began his relatively short political
career as a community organizer in Chicago.
Four years ago he gave a stirring keynote speech to the
Democratic national convention as a U.S. Senate candidate with
no national experience. But that speech propelled him in a
rapid political rise that ended with the nomination.
In honor of Clinton's tenacity and to try to encourage
party unity, delegates had earlier granted the gesture of
symbolically nominating Clinton for the candidacy.
The Clintons' coordinated moves to help Obama could prove
important toward binding the wounds from the Clinton-Obama
battle that split the two camps and left some Clinton
supporters vowing not to support Obama.
It could also help Hillary Clinton avoid blame should Obama
lose to McCain this year and position herself as the go-to
Democratic candidate in the 2012 election.
In any event Obama was pleased, saying Hillary Clinton had
"rocked the house" in her speech on Tuesday and that Bill
Clinton "reminded us of what it's like when you actually put
Obama's nomination formally set the 47-year-old senator on
track to face McCain in the Nov. 4 election in a race that has
been neck-and-neck for weeks, with McCain's Republican
nominating convention to take place next week in the Minnesota
city of St. Paul.
Bill Clinton, a master politician who stumbled this year in
trying to help his wife, noted that when he first ran for
president in 1992, Republicans then, as now, suggested the
Democratic candidate was too inexperienced to be president.
"Sound familiar? It didn't work in 1992 because we were on
the right side of history, and it will not work in 2008 because
Barack Obama is on the right side of history," he said.
Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, arrived
in Denver to prepare for his acceptance speech on Thursday to a
crowd of about 80,000 people at the Denver Broncos' pro
Date created : 2008-08-28