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US elections 2008

Obama claims nomination, Clinton does not concede

Article published on the 2008-06-04 Latest update 2008-07-17 13:39 TU

Barack Obama (left) greets supporters in St. Paul, Minnesota(Photo: Reuters)

Barack Obama (left) greets supporters in St. Paul, Minnesota
(Photo: Reuters)

“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States,” US Senator Barack Obama told supporters in St Paul, Minnesota, on Tuesday evening after the last two Democratic Party primaries. But his opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, did not concede defeat.

Clinton congratulated Obama but, in a speech to supporters in New York City, she said she would not be making any decisions Tuesday evening.

“The question is, where do we go from here?” she asked. “Given how far we’ve come and where we need to go as a party, it’s a question I don’t take lightly.”

Obama claimed victory after the Montana primary results came in and an earlier wave of superdelegates pledged him their support, giving him a winning number of 2,118 delegates. Clinton won the other primary in South Dakota.

Obama now needs to bring his party back together and to win the support of the 18 million people who voted for Clinton during the primary elections.

In his victory speech to 19,000 supporters in a stadium in St Paul - the same one the Republican Party will use for its convention in September - the man who might become the nation’s first black president spoke of change.

“America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past,” he said.

He attacked Republican candidate, John McCain.

“It is not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 per cent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year,” said Obama. “It’s not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians.”

As Obama gets down to the business of campaigning against McCain, Clinton’s name has been floated as a potential vice-president. She has not made any commitments.

Constance Borde, a French-based superdelegate for Democrats Abroad, who has recently come out in support of Obama, told RFI that Clinton and her supporters claim to have the support of voters whom Obama may not be able to reach.

“You would hope that she could provide him with the voters who voted for her, that they would switch over to him," she said. "However, she doesn’t have to be Vice-President to do that. She could just get on the campaign trail the way other senators and party people do and go on the stump for him.”