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By Meredith Buel
28 August 2008nominated Barack Obama as their presidential candidate. The Illinois senator is the first African-American to be nominated as president by a major U.S. political party. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado.
In a remarkable show of party unity, Obama's one-time opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, asked delegates here at the convention to suspend a roll call vote of individual states.
|Sen. Barack Obama walks on stage during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, 27 Aug. 2008 |
"With eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together in one voice right here right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president," said Senator Clinton.
That led to roars of approval inside the packed convention hall, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called for the historic vote.
Pelosi: "All in favor to the motion to suspend the rules and nominate by acclamation Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate please say aye.
Pelosi: All those opposed please say no. Two-thirds of the delegates having voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted."
Delegates then launched a celebration, dancing back and forth in the convention hall to the song "Love Train."
The nomination sets the 47-year-old Obama, the Hawaiian-born son of an American mother and father from Kenya, on a path to face Republican Senator John McCain in the November election for president.
Later, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who spent months on the campaign trail questioning Obama's qualifications for the presidency, pledged to strongly support the nominee.
|Former President Bill Clinton addresses the crowd as he takes the stage during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, 27 Aug 2008|
"Barack Obama is ready to honor the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," said teh former president. "Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States."
Convention delegates also formally nominated Obama's pick for vice-president, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, slammed the Republican's foreign policy, calling it catastrophic.
"I have been on the ground in Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and I can tell you in no uncertain terms, this administration's policy has been an abysmal failure," said Senator Biden. "America cannot afford four more years of this failure."
|Sen. Barack Obama, (r), and Democratic VP candidate, Sen. Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, 27 Aug 2008|
Then Obama capped off his historic night by making an unscheduled appearance at the convention, bringing a roar of approval from the delegates.
On Thursday, the Democrat's choice for president will accept the nomination at a nearby sports stadium, before at least 75,000 people.
"So we want to open up this convention to make sure that everybody who wants to come can join in the party and join in the effort to take America back," said Senator Obama.
Obama's nomination marks an extraordinary rise in American politics and the culmination of what analysts say was a disciplined and brilliant campaign.