June 3, 2008
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Before a crowd of cheering thousands,
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois laid claim to the Democratic
presidential nomination Tuesday night, taking a historic step
toward his once-improbable goal of becoming the nation's first
black president. Hillary Rodham Clinton maneuvered for the vice
presidential spot on his fall ticket without conceding her own
"America, this is our moment," the 46-year-old senator and
one-time community organizer said in his first appearance as the
Democratic nominee-in-waiting. "This is our time. Our turn to turn
the page on the policies of the past."
Obama's victory set up a five-month campaign with Republican
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a race between a first-term Senate
opponent of the Iraq War and a 71-year-old former Vietnam prisoner
of war and staunch supporter of the current U.S. military mission.
And both men seemed eager to begin.
McCain spoke first, in New Orleans, and he accused his younger
rival of voting "to deny funds to the soldiers who have done a
brilliant and brave job" in Iraq. It was a reference to 2007
legislation to pay for the Iraq war, a measure Obama opposed citing
the lack of a timetable for withdrawing troops.
McCain agreed with Obama that the presidential race would focus
on change. "But the choice is between the right change and the
wrong change, between going forward and going backward," he said.
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