Obama Is Crowned Candidate; Double Act: Barack Obama Made a Surprise Appearance on the Podium with His Running Mate, Joe Biden Star Gazers: From Left, Chevy Chase, Jamie Foxx, Susan Sarandon and Muhammad Ali

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Byline: PAUL THOMPSON

BARACK OBAMA made history as he became the first African-American to win the presidential nomination of a major US political party.

The 47-year-old senator's meteoric rise to the top of the Democratic Party was sealed last night as delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse him to fight the election on 4 November.

Hillary Clinton, his former rival for the nomination who gave him a ringing endorsement on Tuesday, helped ensure Mr Obama was chosen unopposed at the party convention in Denver.

As voting began, she asked her New York delegates to support him then, as hundreds of delegates continued to back her in spite of her releasing them, she took to the stage and called on the convention to nominate their candidate by "acclamation".

"Madame Secretary, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote," said Mrs Clinton..

"All votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party of the United States. Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president." The 20,000-strong crowd in the arena roared and chanted "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary." The Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, sought a seconder, to which the delegates collectively responded before a booming "aye" during a voice vote.

Ms Pelosi, chairman of the convention, twice had to offer Mr Obama's response because of the noise from the crowd. …