Sen Obama Becomes Dem Nominee for US President

Sen Barack Obama, addressing a cheerful and sporadically cheering crowd of supporters in Saint Paul tonight, declared victory in the primary contest and established his status as the Democratic candidate for the US presidency.

With the final Democratic primaries finishing earlier this evening in Montana and South Dakota, and with a significant number of undeclared super-delegates lining up behind him in the last 24 hours, Sen Obama today secured the 2,118 delegate votes necessary to attain an insurmountable lead over Sen Hillary Clinton.

“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States,” he declared confidently in the hall where his Republican opponent, Sen John McCain, will accept the GOP nomination in September.

Striking a statesmanlike tone and in a clear effort reunify his Democratic base as he shifts his attentions to the general election, Mr Obama paid homage to Sen Clinton, citing her efforts with healthcare and children’s issues. “It was an honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said.

Setting the stage for the general election, Obama focused most of his energy tonight on Sen McCain. Visiting most of the liberal touchstones of the current election – Iraq, universal healthcare, US energy policy, ‘wealthy CEOs’, and ‘tax breaks for big corporations’ – Obama worked strenuously to tie McCain to the ‘failed policies’ of President Bush, giving a clear hint of what his strategy will be in the coming months.

While Sen Clinton congratulated her opponent earlier today, she has yet to officially withdraw from the race and there is continued speculation that she is seeking a negotiated exit from the competition.

Sen McCain spoke earlier this evening to his supporters in New Orleans.

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