Obama wins Democratic nomination over Clinton (3rd Lead)
Jun 4, 2008, 2:26 GMT
Michelle Obama (L) gives her husband, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama, a knuckle-bump as a sign of support before he speaks to supporters at the Xcel Center in St . Paul, Minnesota, USA, 03 June, 2008. Barack Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination after a five-month battle with Hillary Clinton, becoming the first African American to lead a major political party into a general election in the United States. EPA/CRAIG LASSIG
Washington - Barack Obama declared victory in the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday night after a five-month battle with Hillary Clinton, becoming the first African American to lead a major political party into a general election in the United States.
Obama captured the majority of delegates needed to win the party's nod on the final day of primaries in the five-month-old battle with Hillary Clinton.
'Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States,' he told supporters in St Paul, Minnesota.
His victory was projected by US broadcast networks immediately after polls closed in South Dakota Tuesday night, which along with Montana held the last in the series of state-by-state contests that began with Iowa on January 3.
Clinton, however, refused to concede defeat and said she has made 'no decisions' about her political future as she continued to plug her own White House credentials.
The former first lady said only that she was 'congratulating Senator Obama and his supporters on the extraordinary race that they have run.'
'This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight,' Clinton said, drawing loud cheers from a defiant crowd of supporters in New York.
Clinton appeared to have one last victory to her name, as US broadcasters projected her the winner of South Dakota's primary. She was leading the state 56 per cent to 44 per cent with 48 per cent of precincts reporting.
But the victory would not be enough to stop Obama from passing the mark of 2,118 delegates required to win the nomination outright. Broadcast predictions showed he also appeared to have won in Montana.
'This is a hugely gratifying evening for us,' Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod told CNN.
Throughout the day a handful of super delegates - party leaders and activists that cast their votes independently of the state primaries - switched their allegiance to Obama, bringing him within 10 delegates of the clinching number before polls had even closed in South Dakota and Montana.