Obama Set to Transform Political Face of the US; POLITICS Signs Point to First African American President This Week

Article excerpt

Barack Obama will finish his campaign to become the first African American president of the United States with the same calm message of hope and change for the nation as he started more than 20 months ago.

A politician from whom the world expects great things, MrObama described the 2008 election as a "defining moment" for Americans who were looking for "real and lasting change that makes a difference in their lives".

Repeatedly breaking fundraising records and drawing tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of supporters at rallies, he simultaneously showed he was tough enough to beat the Clinton political machine in a prolonged and often bitter primary season while keeping his cool on the trail, perhaps keen to avoid the image of an angry black man.

As he became the first presidential candidate in 16 years to air a 30-minute primetime infomercial on several US TV networks, he declared: "I will not be a perfect president. But I can promise you this - I will always tell you what I think and where I stand."

The advert, which cost about pounds 2 million, emphasised his financial dominance over rival John McCain and was seen in more than 20 per cent of homes across the country.

"America, the time for change has come," he said to loud cheers as the commercial cut to him on stage as a live campaign event in the battleground state of Florida.

"We can choose hope over fear, and unity over division; the promise of change over the power of the status quo.

"We can come together as one nation, and one people, and once again choose our better history."

The 47-year-old Illinois senator's message of hope and change comes at a time when many Americans are unhappy with an unpopular war in Iraq, disillusioned with the nation's position in the world, and suffering at home from a global financial crisis. …