Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Obama: First Black Man to Run for White House; Triumph: The Obamas at a Rally in St Paul, Minnesota, Scene of His First Primary Win

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Obama: First Black Man to Run for White House; Triumph: The Obamas at a Rally in St Paul, Minnesota, Scene of His First Primary Win

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL THOMPSON, JOE MURPHY

BARACK OBAMA today made history by becoming the first black officialcandidate for US president.

After beating Hillary Clinton to the Democratic nomination, he now heads for anepic showdown with Republican John McCain in November.

"America, this is our moment," he said at a boisterous rally in St PaulMinnesota. "This is our time. Our turn to turn the page on the policies of thepast." The 46-year-old senator from Illinois crossed the finishing line after54 gruelling primaries in the early hours of today, when he clinched the 2,118delegates needed to secure the nomination.

The final tally was clear-cut: 2,154 for Mr Obama and 1,919 for the formerfirst lady.

Amid jubilant scenes he uttered the words millions of his supporters have beenlonging for: "Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be theDemocratic nominee for President of the United States." It was an electrifyingand genuinely historic moment, the first time a black hopeful has been embracedas the presidential candidate of a major American party.

Many believe a black president would change America's image in the world forgood as well as give new confidence to millions of people from minoritiesaround the world. Americans saw his nomination today as an event to match suchmilestones in black civil rights as the 1990 election of Douglas Wilder asgovernor of Virginia and the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the firstblack Supreme Court Justice.

But Mr McCain was quick to serve notice that his rival faces a bruising battle.In a speech to mark the start of the presidential election proper, he played onMr Obama's "change we can believe in" slogan by billing himself as "a leader wecan believe in".

Mr Obama's triumph shattered the dreams of Mrs Clinton who was today windingdown her campaign and mulling over her future. …

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