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USA - VOTE 2008

Obama claims majority of delegates

2 min

As he picked up another state by winning the Oregon primary, US Senator Barack Obama said he had won a national majority of pledged delegates in the race for the Democratic nomination. (Report: J. Walsh)

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Barack Obama Tuesday said he was within reach of the Democratic presidential nomination, claiming he had won a majority of pledged delegates to the party's August convention.

Obama, 46, strode ever closer to becoming the first African American presidential nominee, despite losing the first of Tuesday's two primary contests, in Kentucky to rival Hillary Clinton.

"We have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America," he said here, as thousands of supporters chanted "Obama 08," and held signs reading "Change We Can Believe In."

Though Obama claimed the majority of pledged delegates, he was still short of the 2,026 total delegates required to officially claim the nomination.

Obama spoke in the midwestern state where he upended the Democratic battle with a shock win in the first nominating contest in January, which is also a key battleground in a general election.

His comments came even before results were announced from the Oregon primary later Tuesday, which he was favored to win.

Obama also paid his most fulsome tribute yet to Clinton, in a bid to heal divisions in the party.

"In her thirty-five years of public service, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has never given up on her fight for the American people.

"Tonight I congratulate her on her victory in Kentucky.

"We have had our disagreements during this campaign, but we all admire her courage, her commitment and her perseverance.

"No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and yours will come of age."

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