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Senator Barak Obama Clinched the Democratic Nomination for President on June 3, 2008. He thus became the first African American to become a major party candidate for President.
Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended Columbia College and then went to Harvard Law School. He taught at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years—teaching constitutional law. Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one. Obama announced his candidacy for US Senate in January 2003 In the March 2004 primary election, Obama won in an unexpected landslide In July 2004, Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in and Obama went on to win an easy victory. Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention seen by 9.1 million viewers. His speech electrified the convention and suddenly thrust him on to the national stage. In 2007, after serving in the Senate for two years, Obama decided to seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 2008.
Obama began his campaign as a long shot candidate, with Senator Hilary Clinton, the presumptive nominee. That ended in the first contest when Senator Obama won the Iowa caucus. Senator Clinton rebounded with a victory in New Hampshire. A long campaign followed in which Obama won more delegates and states, but Clinton won most of the largest states. Obama's campaign raised much more significant sums of money than the Clinton campaign and was initially very successful in getting out his message of change. After a string of victories that followed Super Tuesday Obama seemed unstoppable. Clinton won most of the later contests but was unable to overcome Obama's lead in delegates. On June 3rd Obama became the presumptive nominee and thus the first African-American candidate from a major party for President.
Barack Obama Makes History as First African American Nominee of Major Political Party
Obama makes history as the first African American to lead a major party.
Aug. 28, 2008 -- Full remarks as prepared for delivery and provided by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama as accepts the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 28, 2008, at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation
With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.
We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."
Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.
The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."
A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.
For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.
Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.
You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.
I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.
It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.
Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education keep our water clean and our toys safe invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.
That's the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper I am my sister's keeper.
That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that's the essence of America's promise.
And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.
For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.
And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation poverty and genocide climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
You make a big election about small things.
And you know what – it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments.
I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.
And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain that binds us together in spite of our differences that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
Obama makes history as Democratic nominee
DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- On a historic night in U.S. politics, Barack Obama secured the Democratic Party's nomination for president and emerged for the first time on stage in Denver with running mate Sen. Joe Biden.
Barack Obama, right, and Joe Biden electrified the Democratic faithful in Denver.
Obama on Wednesday officially became the first African American to lead a major party ticket.
Delegates cried and cheered as former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton motioned to cut the roll call vote short, saying "Let's declare together with one voice right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president."
In speeches before the Democratic faithful, Biden and former U.S. President Bill Clinton repeatedly attacked the foreign and domestic policies of Republican George W. Bush. Both criticized the policies of presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain as maintaining Bush policies.
"John McCain is my friend. We've traveled the world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond politics, and the personal courage and heroism demonstrated by John still amazes me," Biden said.
"But I profoundly, I profoundly disagree with the direction John wants to take this country from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Amtrak to veterans."
Citing the emergence of Russia, China, and India as great powers, the spread of lethal weapons and the challenges of climate change and fundamentalism, Biden blamed the Bush administration for what he called "the consequences of this neglect."
"With Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia, Barack and I will end that neglect," Biden said. "We will hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will help Georgia rebuild"
Biden then attacked McCain's judgment on Afghanistan, saying that the Arizona senator had declared Afghanistan a success three years ago.
He cited Obama's call a year ago for "two more combat battalions to Afghanistan," saying the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff had shared a similar view for more troops.
"John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right," he repeated. Watch Biden compare the two candidates »
Biden also highlighted differences between the two candidates on Iran, saying that they differed with regard to dialogue and diplomacy.
Alluding to U.S. participation in nuclear talks with Iran last month, Biden said, "After seven years of denial, even the Bush administration recognizes that we should talk to Iran, because that's the best way to ensure our security.
"Again and again, John McCain has been wrong, and Barack Obama is right."
Similarly on Iraq, Biden said, "Should we trust John McCain's judgment when he says we can't have no timelines to draw down our troops in Iraq . or should we listen to Barack Obama who says shift the responsibility to the Iraqis and set a time to bring our combat troops home?
Biden then pointed out that U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were in talks over a withdrawal deadline.
Biden, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and six-term senator from Delaware, is widely believed to have been chosen for the Democratic presidential ticket based on his foreign policy credentials. Watch Biden accept the nomination »
He gave the last speech on the third night of the convention, which carried the theme "Securing America's Future." Obama joined him on stage at the end of the speech, marking his first appearance at the convention. View an analysis of day 3 »
Earlier in the evening, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Obama was "ready to be president" and urged his wife's supporters to vote for the newly anointed Democratic presidential nominee. iReport.com: Share your reaction to the convention speeches
"Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world," Clinton told delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
Like Republicans, the Clintons had criticized Obama's lack of foreign policy experience when Sen. Hillary Clinton ran against Obama in the primary campaign.
But on Wednesday, the former president said Obama was "right for this job." Watch Clinton say he supports Obama.
Clinton also attacked the Bush administration for what many speakers have said are failed policies at home and abroad.
"Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world," Clinton said. "Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job." Watch Clinton discuss Obama's diplomatic skills »
Sen. Hillary Clinton also offered a gesture of support for Obama Wednesday by moving to nominate him to be the Democratic party's candidate for president in the midst of a roll call vote.
"With eyes firmly fixed on the future, and in the spirit of unity with the goal of victory with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together with one voice right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president," said Sen. Clinton.
The crowd of more than 4,400 delegates then affirmed Obama as their choice with cheers, officially capping a long and hard-fought battle between Obama and Clinton
Clinton released her delegates earlier in the day, freeing them to vote for Obama if they wanted to do so. Watch Clinton address her delegates »
Obama's perceived weakness compared to McCain on foreign policy and national security issues has been a concern to Democratic strategists, especially since Russia's conflict with Georgia intensified this month.
According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, 78 percent of registered voters said they believe McCain can handle the responsibilities of commander in chief, compared to 58 percent for Obama. View poll results on national security »
The poll, conducted Saturday and Sunday, also found 60 percent of voters said they believe McCain would better handle the issue of terrorism, compared to 36 percent for Obama. A majority also said it believes McCain is more likely than Obama to be a strong and decisive leader.
Obama: "I will be the Democratic nominee"
Obama, in his prepared remarks, opens by marking the historical moment, then delivers some extended praise to Clinton before turning to the meat of his speech: a long, confrontational passage linking McCain and Bush.
I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign — through the good days and the bad from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.
At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.
That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.
We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning — even in the face of tough odds — is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency — an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn’t just about the party in charge of Washington, it’s about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.
All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren’t the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn’t do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say — let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.
In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.
Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.
It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.
It’s not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college — policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.
And 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 — a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer.
So I’ll say this — there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.
Change is a foreign policy that doesn’t begin and end with a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged. I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years — especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.
We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in — but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century — terrorism and nuclear weapons climate change and poverty genocide and disease. That’s what change is.
Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy — tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That’s what the American people want. That’s what change is.
Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.
John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy — cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota — he’d understand the kind of change that people are looking for.
Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can’t pay the medical bills for a sister who’s ill, he’d understand that she can’t afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That’s the change we need.
Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can’t even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he’d understand that we can’t afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future — an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. That’s the change we need.
And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he’d understand that we can’t afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That’s the change we need in America. That’s why I’m running for President.
The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon — that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.
Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I’ve walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I’ve sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I’ve worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.
In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.
So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.
So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.
So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines the women who shattered glass ceilings the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom’s cause.
So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that’s better, and kinder, and more just.
America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.
The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Obama counting on Clinton to build on his legacy
Just 16 years ago, a young state senator from Illinois decided to go to the Democratic convention at the last minute. His credit card was declined at the airport car rental counter, reports CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman. He couldn't get a floor pass to get in, so he watched speeches from the Jumbotron outside and left days before the convention ended.
But times have certainly changed for Barack Obama.
Exactly 12 years ago, a 17-minute speech at the 2004 Democratic convention catapulted a then-state senator Barack Obama to the national stage and sparked talk of a presidential run.
"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America!" Mr. Obama said July 27, 2004.
Then a candidate for Senate from Illinois, Barack Obama delivered the keynote address to delegates on the floor of the FleetCenter on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 27, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
After a hard fought 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton, Mr. Obama took to the stage again, this time to accept his party's nomination, making history as the first black presidential nominee of a major party.
"At defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington!" he said during his acceptance speech.
Presidential nominee Barack Obama reacts to the crowd on day four of the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High August 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Win McNamee/Getty Images
"I think he only rehearsed it in full once and he was still writing it that afternoon because it was that important to him," former White House communications director Anita Dunn said.
Four years later, Mr. Obama took the convention stage a third time explaining why he deserved a second term.
President Barack Obama speaks on stage as he accepts the nomination for president during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on Sept. 6, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
On Wednesday night he'll set the stakes for this election to make the case for another history-making nominee -- Hillary Clinton.
"President Obama. will be the testimonial-in-chief," Dunn said. "He'll be the person who was against her, ran against her, defeated her, worked by her side and is now her most enthusiastic supporter."
He's a supporter who's now counting on Clinton to build on his signature accomplishments and initiatives from health care and climate change to the economy.
"My job is to make sure that when I leave this place, America is a little bit better off and it will be up to the next person to continue that process and I'll have a role to play as citizen in making sure that that arc keeps bending toward justice, because it doesn't do it on its own," Obama told John Dickerson on "Face the Nation."
The White House said Mr. Obama has been working on his speech for the past few weeks, including staying up late Monday night. While he'll look back at the last eight years, aides said he'll be more focused on why Hillary Clinton is the candidate to take the country forward.
In 2011, several state legislatures passed new voting laws, especially pertaining to voter identification, with the stated purpose of combating voter fraud the laws were attacked, however, by the Democratic Party as attempts to suppress voting among its supporters and to improve the Republican Party's presidential prospects. Florida, Georgia, Ohio,  Tennessee, and West Virginia's state legislatures approved measures to shorten early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all felons from voting. Kansas, South Carolina,  Tennessee, Texas,  and Wisconsin  state legislatures passed laws requiring voters to have government-issued IDs before they could cast their ballots. This meant, typically, that people without driver's licenses or passports had to gain new forms of ID. Obama, the NAACP, and the Democratic Party fought against many of the new state laws.  Former President Bill Clinton denounced them, saying, "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today".  He was referring to Jim Crow laws passed in southern states near the turn of the twentieth century that disenfranchised most blacks from voting and excluded them from the political process for more than six decades. Clinton said the moves would effectively disenfranchise core voter blocs that trend liberal, including college students, Blacks, and Latinos.   Rolling Stone magazine criticized the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for lobbying in states to bring about these laws, to "solve" a problem that does not exist.  The Obama campaign fought against the Ohio law, pushing for a petition and statewide referendum to repeal it in time for the 2012 election. 
In addition, the Pennsylvania legislature proposed a plan to change its representation in the electoral college from the traditional winner-take-all model to a district-by-district model.  As the governorship and both houses of its legislature were Republican-controlled, the move was viewed by some as an attempt to reduce Democratic chances.    Ultimately they did not do it, leaving their winner take all format intact as of 2020.
Democratic Party nomination Edit
With no incumbent president running for re-election against token opposition, the race for the Democratic nomination was largely uneventful. The nomination process consisted of primaries and caucuses, held by the 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Democrats Abroad. Additionally, high-ranking party members known as superdelegates each received one vote in the convention. A few of the primary challengers surpassed the president's vote total in individual counties in several of the seven contested primaries, though none made a significant impact in the delegate count. Running unopposed everywhere else, Obama cemented his status as the Democratic presumptive nominee on April 3, 2012, by securing the minimum number of pledged delegates needed to obtain the nomination.  
Republican Party nomination Edit
Candidates with considerable name recognition who entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the early stages of the primary campaign included U.S. Representative and former Libertarian nominee Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who co-chaired John McCain's campaign in 2008, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the runner-up for the nomination in the 2008 cycle, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
The first debate took place on May 5, 2011, in Greenville, South Carolina, with businessman Herman Cain, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum participating. Another debate took place a month later, with Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann participating, and Gary Johnson excluded. A total of thirteen debates were held before the Iowa caucuses.
The first major event of the campaign was the Ames Straw Poll, which took place in Iowa on August 13, 2011. Michele Bachmann won the straw poll (this ultimately proved to be the acme of her campaign).  Pawlenty withdrew from the race after a poor showing in the straw poll, as did Thaddeus McCotter, the only candidate among those who qualified for the ballot who was refused entrance into the debate. 
It became clear at around this point in the nomination process that while Romney was considered to be the likely nominee by the Republican establishment, a large segment of the conservative primary electorate found him to be too moderate for their political views. As a result, a number of potential "anti-Romney" candidates were put forward,   including future President Donald Trump,  former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin,  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie,  and Texas Governor Rick Perry,  the last of whom decided to run in August 2011. Perry did poorly in the debates, however, and Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich came into the fore in October and November.
Due to a number of scandals, Cain withdrew just before the end of the year, after having gotten on the ballot in several states.  Around the same time, Johnson, who had been able to get into only one other debate, withdrew to seek the Libertarian Party nomination. 
For the first time in modern Republican Party history, three different candidates won the first three state contests in January (the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and the South Carolina primary).  Although Romney had been expected to win in at least Iowa and New Hampshire, Rick Santorum won the non-binding poll at caucus sites in Iowa by 34 votes, as near as can be determined from the incomplete tally, earning him a declaration as winner by state party leaders, although vote totals were missing from eight precincts.   The election of county delegates at the caucuses would eventually lead to Ron Paul earning 22 of the 28 Iowa delegates to the Republican National Convention.  Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a surprisingly large margin,  and Romney won only in New Hampshire.
A number of candidates dropped out at this point in the nomination process. Bachmann withdrew after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses,  Huntsman withdrew after coming in third in New Hampshire, and Perry withdrew when polls showed him drawing low numbers in South Carolina. 
Santorum, who had previously run an essentially one-state campaign in Iowa, was able to organize a national campaign after his surprising victory there. He unexpectedly carried three states in a row on February 7 and overtook Romney in nationwide opinion polls, becoming the only candidate in the race to effectively challenge the notion that Romney was the inevitable nominee.  However, Romney won all of the other contests between South Carolina and the Super Tuesday primaries, and regained his first-place status in nationwide opinion polls by the end of February.
The Super Tuesday primaries took place on March 6. Romney carried six states, Santorum carried three, and Gingrich won only in his home state of Georgia.  Throughout the rest of March, 266 delegates were allocated in 12 events, including the territorial contests and the first local conventions that allocated delegates (Wyoming's county conventions). Santorum won Kansas and three Southern primaries, but he was unable to make any substantial gain on Romney, who became a formidable frontrunner after securing more than half of the delegates allocated in March.
On April 10, Santorum suspended his campaign due to a variety of reasons, such as a low delegate count, unfavorable polls in his home state of Pennsylvania, and his daughter's health, leaving Mitt Romney as the undisputed front-runner for the presidential nomination and allowing Gingrich to claim that he was "the last conservative standing" in the campaign for the nomination.  After disappointing results in the April 24 primaries (finishing second in one state, third in three, and fourth in one), Gingrich dropped out on May 2 in a move that was seen as an effective end to the nomination contest.  After Gingrich's spokesman announced his upcoming withdrawal, the Republican National Committee declared Romney the party's presumptive nominee.  Ron Paul officially remained in the race, but he stopped campaigning on May 14 to focus on state conventions.
On May 29, after winning the Texas primary, Romney had received a sufficient number of delegates to clinch the party's nomination with the inclusion of unpledged delegates. After winning the June 5 primaries in California and several other states, Romney had received more than enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination without counting unpledged delegates, making the June 26 Utah Primary, the last contest of the cycle, purely symbolic. CNN's final delegate estimate, released on July 27, 2012, put Romney at 1,462 pledged delegates and 62 unpledged delegates, for a total estimate of 1,524 delegates. No other candidate had unpledged delegates. The delegate estimates for the other candidates were Santorum at 261 delegates, Paul at 154, Gingrich at 142, Bachmann at 1, Huntsman at 1, and all others at 0. 
On August 28, 2012, delegates at the Republican National Convention officially named Romney the party's presidential nominee.  Romney formally accepted the delegates' nomination on August 30, 2012. 
Withdrawn candidates Edit
Third party and other nominations Edit
Four other parties nominated candidates that had ballot access or write-in access to at least 270 electoral votes, the minimum number of votes needed in the 2012 election to win the presidency through a majority of the electoral college.
Libertarian Party Edit
- Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico.  Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Gray, retired state court judge, from California 
Green Party Edit
- Jill Stein, medical doctor from Massachusetts.  Vice-presidential nominee: Cheri Honkala, social organizer, from Pennsylvania. 
Constitution Party Edit
- Virgil Goode, former Representative from Virginia.  Vice-presidential nominee: Jim Clymer from Pennsylvania 
Justice Party Edit
- Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City and founding member of the Justice Party, from Utah. Vice-presidential nominee: Luis J. Rodriguez from California. 
Candidates gallery Edit
Ballot access Edit
|Presidential ticket||Party||Ballot access ||Votes||Percentage|
|States||Electors||% of voters|
|Obama / Biden||Democratic||50 + DC||538||100%||65,915,795||51.06%|
|Romney / Ryan||Republican||50 + DC||538||100%||60,933,504||47.20%|
|Johnson / Gray||Libertarian||48 + DC||515||95.1%||1,275,971||0.99%|
|Stein / Honkala||Green||36 + DC||436||83.1%||469,627||0.36%|
|Goode / Clymer||Constitution||26||257||49.9%||122,388||0.09%|
|Anderson / Rodriguez||Justice||15||145||28.1%||43,018||0.03%|
|Lindsay / Osorio||Socialism & Liberation||13||115||28.6%||7,791||0.006%|
Candidates in bold were on ballots representing 270 electoral votes.
All other candidates were on the ballots of fewer than 10 states, 100 electors, and less than 20% of voters nationwide.
Financing and advertising Edit
The United States presidential election of 2012 broke new records in financing, fundraising, and negative campaigning. Through grassroots campaign contributions, online donations, and Super PACs, Obama and Romney raised a combined total of more than $2 billion.  Super PACs constituted nearly one-fourth of the total financing, with most coming from pro-Romney PACs.  Obama raised $690 million through online channels, beating his record of $500 million in 2008.  Most of the advertising in the 2012 presidential campaign was decidedly negative—80% of Obama's ads and 84% of Romney's ads were negative.  The tax-exempt non-profit Americans for Prosperity, a so-called "outside group", that is, a political advocacy group that is not a political action committee or super-PAC, ran a television advertising campaign opposing Obama described by The Washington Post as "early and relentless".   Americans for Prosperity spent $8.4 million in swing states on television advertisements denouncing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 loan guarantee to Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels that went bankrupt,  an advertising campaign described by The Wall Street Journal in November 2011 as "perhaps the biggest attack on Mr. Obama so far".  
Party conventions Edit
- April 18–21, 2012: 2012 Constitution Party National Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee Virgil Goode won the nomination.
- May 3–6, 2012: 2012 Libertarian National Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada Gary Johnson won the nomination. 
- July 13–15, 2012: 2012 Green National Convention held in Baltimore, Maryland Jill Stein won the nomination. 
- August 27–30, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida Mitt Romney won the nomination.
- September 3–6, 2012: 2012 Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina Barack Obama won the nomination.
Presidential debates Edit
The Commission on Presidential Debates held four debates during the last weeks of the campaign: three presidential and one vice-presidential. The major issues debated were the economy and jobs, the federal budget deficit, taxation and spending, the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, healthcare reform, education, social issues, immigration, and foreign policy.
An independent presidential debate featuring minor party candidates took place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.   The debate was moderated by Larry King  and organized by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.  The participants were Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice).   A second debate between Stein and Johnson took place on Sunday, November 4, and was moderated by Ralph Nader. 
Notable expressions, phrases, and statements Edit
- Severely conservative – In a speech he made at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2012, Romney claimed that he had been a "severely conservative Republican governor". Romney's description of his record as "severely conservative" was widely criticized by political commentators as both rhetorically clumsy and factually inaccurate.  Later, the phrase "severely conservative" was frequently brought up by Democrats to make fun of Romney's willingness to associate himself with the far-right of the Republican Party as well as his apparent lack of sincerity while doing so. Conservativeradio hostRush Limbaugh, who played the clip on his radio show, said: "I have never heard anybody say, 'I'm severely conservative.' " 
- You didn't build that – A portion of a statement that Obama made in a July 2012 campaign speech in Roanoke, Virginia. Obama said that businesses depend on government-provided infrastructure to succeed, but critics of his remarks argued that he was underplaying the work of entrepreneurs and giving the government credit for individuals' success. The Romney campaign immediately used the statement in an effort to contrast Romney's economic policies with Obama's and to appeal to small business owners/employees. A major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention was "We Built It".
- 47 percent – An expression Romney used at a private campaign fundraising event, which was secretly recorded and publicly released. At the private event, Romney said that 47 percent of the people would vote for Barack Obama no matter what Romney said or did because those people ". are dependent upon government. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Ironically, Romney received almost exactly 47% of the vote.
- Binders full of women – A phrase that Romney used in the second presidential debate to refer to the long list of female candidates that he considered when choosing his cabinet members as Governor of Massachusetts.
- Horses and bayonets – After Romney said in the third presidential debate that the U.S. Navy was smaller than at any time since 1917, Obama replied, "We have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed." 
- Shovel-ready jobs – a phrase used to describe some stimulus projects promoted by the administration. During the debate on September 23, 2011, Gary Johnson quipped, "My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this president." 
- Romnesia – A term coined by a blogger in April 2011 and used by Obama late in the campaign to describe Romney's alleged inability to take responsibility for his past statements. 
- $10,000 bet – During a Republican debate, Romney facetiously bet Texas governor Rick Perry $10,000 that he (Perry) was wrong about Romney's position on the individual mandate under the Affordable Healthcare Act. The statement was vilified by Democrats as exemplary of Romney being out of touch with working-class and middle-class Americans.
- Romneyshambles – a phrase used by the British press after Romney criticized British preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which was a play on omnishambles. The phrase became a popular hashtag on Twitter and was later chosen as one of Collins English Dictionary's words of the year. 
Electoral results Edit
On the day of the election, spread betting firm Spreadex were offering an Obama Electoral College Votes spread of 296–300 to Romney's 239–243.  In reality Obama's victory over Romney was far greater, winning 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206. Romney lost all but one of nine battleground states and received 47 percent of the nationwide popular vote to Obama's 51 percent.  
Popular vote totals are from the Federal Election Commission report.  The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 4, 2013. 
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral |
|Count||Percentage||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Electoral vote|
|Barack Hussein Obama II||Democratic||Illinois||65,915,795||51.06%||332||Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.||Delaware||332|
|Willard Mitt Romney||Republican||Massachusetts||60,933,504||47.20%||206||Paul Davis Ryan Jr.||Wisconsin||206|
|Gary Earl Johnson||Libertarian||New Mexico||1,275,971||0.99%||0||James Polin Gray||California||0|
|Jill Ellen Stein||Green||Massachusetts||469,627||0.36%||0||Cheri Lynn Honkala||Minnesota||0|
|Virgil Hamlin Goode Jr.||Constitution||Virginia||122,389||0.09%||0||James N. Clymer||Pennsylvania||0|
|Roseanne Cherrie Barr||Peace and Freedom||Utah||67,326||0.05%||0||Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan||California||0|
|Ross Carl "Rocky" Anderson||Justice||Utah||43,018||0.03%||0||Luis Javier Rodriguez||Texas||0|
|Thomas Conrad Hoefling||America's||Nebraska||40,628||0.03%||0||J.D. Ellis||Tennessee||0|
|Needed to win||270||270|
Results by state Edit
The table below displays the official vote tallies by each state's Electoral College voting method. The source for the results of all states, except those that amended their official results, is the official Federal Election Commission report.  The column labeled "Margin" shows Obama's margin of victory over Romney (the margin is negative for every state that Romney won).
|States/districts won by Obama/Biden|
|States/districts won by Romney/Ryan|
|†||At-large results (for states that split electoral votes)|
|Barack Obama |
|Mitt Romney |
|Gary Johnson |
|Jill Stein |
|District of Columbia District of Columbia||267,070||90.91%||3||21,381||7.28%||–||2,083||0.71%||–||2,458||0.84%||–||772||0.26%||–||245,689||83.63%||293,764||DC|
|New Jersey ||2,125,101||58.38%||14||1,477,568||40.59%||–||21,045||0.58%||–||9,888||0.27%||–||6,690||0.18%||–||647,533||17.81%||3,640,292||NJ|
|New York ||4,485,741||63.35%||29||2,490,431||35.17%||–||47,256||0.67%||–||39,982||0.56%||–||17,749||0.25%||–||1,995,310||28.18%||7,081,159||NY|
Maine and Nebraska each allow for their election results votes to be split between candidates. The winner within each congressional district gets one electoral vote for the district. The winner of the statewide vote gets two additional electoral votes. In the 2012 election, all four of Maine's electoral votes were won by Obama and all five of Nebraska's electoral votes were won by Romney.  
Close states Edit
Red denotes states (or congressional districts that contribute an electoral vote) won by Republican Mitt Romney blue denotes those won by Democrat Barack Obama.
State where the margin of victory was under 1% (29 electoral votes):
States where the margin of victory was under 5% (46 electoral votes):
- North Carolina, 2.04% (92,004 votes)
- Ohio, 2.98% (166,272 votes)
- Virginia, 3.87% (149,298 votes)
States/districts where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (120 electoral votes):
- Colorado, 5.37% (137,858 votes) (tipping point state)
- Pennsylvania, 5.39% (309,840 votes)
- New Hampshire, 5.58% (39,643 votes)
- Iowa, 5.81% (91,927 votes)
- Nevada, 6.68% (67,806 votes)
- Wisconsin, 6.94% (213,019 votes)
- Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 7.16% (19,087 votes)
- Minnesota, 7.69% (225,942 votes)
- Georgia, 7.82% (304,861 votes)
- Maine's 2nd Congressional District, 8.56% (28,783 votes)
- Arizona, 9.06% (208,422 votes)
- Missouri, 9.38% (258,644 votes)
- Michigan, 9.50% (449,313 votes)
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)
- Shannon County, South Dakota 93.39%
- Kalawao County, Hawaii 92.59%
- Bronx County, New York 91.45%
- Washington, D.C. 90.91%
- Petersburg, Virginia 89.79%
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)
- King County, Texas 95.86%
- Madison County, Idaho 93.29%
- Sterling County, Texas 92.91%
- Franklin County, Idaho 92.77%
- Roberts County, Texas 92.13%
Romney's concession Edit
After the networks called Ohio (the state that was arguably the most critical for Romney, as no Republican has ever won the Presidency without carrying it) for Obama at around 11:15 PM EST on Election Day, Romney was ready to concede the race, but hesitated when Karl Rove strenuously objected on Fox News to the network's decision to make that call.   However, after Colorado and Nevada were called for the President (giving Obama enough electoral votes to win even if Ohio were to leave his column), in tandem with Obama's apparent lead in Florida and Virginia (both were eventually called for Obama), Romney acknowledged that he had lost and conceded at around 1:00 AM EST on November 7.
Despite public polling showing Romney behind Obama in the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Hampshire, tied with Obama in Virginia, and just barely ahead of Obama in Florida, the Romney campaign said they were genuinely surprised by the loss, having believed that public polling was oversampling Democrats.  The Romney campaign had already set up a transition website, and had scheduled and purchased a fireworks display to celebrate in case he won the election.  
On November 30, 2012, it was revealed that shortly before the election, internal polling done by the Romney campaign had shown Romney ahead in Colorado and New Hampshire, tied in Iowa, and within a few points of Obama in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio.  In addition, the Romney campaign had assumed that they would win Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.  The polls had made Romney and his campaign team so confident of their victory that Romney did not write a concession speech until Obama's victory was announced.  
Foreign leaders reacted with both positive and mixed messages. Most world leaders congratulated and praised Barack Obama on his re-election victory. However, Venezuela and some other states had tempered reactions. Pakistan commented that Romney's defeat had made Pakistan-United States relations safer. Stock markets fell noticeably after Obama's re-election, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and the S&P 500 each declining over two percent the day after the election. 
|2012 presidential election by demographic subgroup|
|Demographic subgroup||Obama||Romney||Other||% of|
|Sex by marital status|
|Protestant or other Christian||42||57||1||53|
|Religious service attendance|
|More than once a week||36||63||1||14|
|Once a week||41||58||1||28|
|A few times a month||55||44||1||13|
|A few times a year||56||42||2||27|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian?|
|White evangelical or born-again Christian||21||78||1||26|
|18–24 years old||60||36||4||11|
|25–29 years old||60||38||2||8|
|30–39 years old||55||42||3||17|
|40–49 years old||48||50||2||20|
|50–64 years old||47||52||1||28|
|65 and older||44||56||0||16|
|Age by race|
|Whites 18–29 years old||44||51||5||11|
|Whites 30–44 years old||38||59||3||18|
|Whites 45–64 years old||38||61||1||29|
|Whites 65 and older||39||61||n/a||14|
|Blacks 18–29 years old||91||8||1||3|
|Blacks 30–44 years old||94||5||1||4|
|Blacks 45–64 years old||93||7||n/a||4|
|Blacks 65 and older||93||6||1||1|
|Latinos 18–29 years old||74||23||3||4|
|Latinos 30–44 years old||71||28||1||3|
|Latinos 45–64 years old||68||31||1||3|
|Latinos 65 and older||65||35||n/a||1|
|Not a high school graduate||64||35||1||3|
|High school graduate||51||48||1||21|
|Some college education||49||48||3||29|
|Big cities (population over 500,000)||69||29||2||11|
|Mid-sized cities (population 50,000 to 500,000)||58||40||2||21|
|Towns (population 10,000 to 50,000)||42||56||2||8|
Hispanic vote Edit
The United States has a population of 50 million Hispanic and Latino Americans, 27 million of whom are citizens eligible to vote (13% of total eligible voters). Traditionally, only half of eligible Hispanic voters vote (around 7% of voters) of them, 71% voted for Barack Obama (increasing his percentage of the vote by 5%) therefore, the Hispanic vote was an important factor in Obama's re-election, since the vote difference between the two main parties was only 3.9%    
Exit polls were conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, New Jersey, for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN,  Fox News,  and NBC News. 
Combined with the re-elections of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama's victory in the 2012 election marked only the second time in American history that three consecutive presidents were each elected to two or more full terms (the first time being the consecutive two-term presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe).  This was also the first election since 1944 in which neither of the major candidates had any military experience. 
The 2012 election marked the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt's last two re-elections in 1940 and 1944 that a Democratic presidential candidate won a majority of the popular vote in two consecutive elections.  Obama was also the first president of either party to secure at least 51% of the popular vote in two elections since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.  Obama is the third Democratic president to secure at least 51% of the vote twice, after Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Romney won the popular vote in 226 congressional districts making this the first time since 1960 that the winner of the election did not win the popular vote in a majority of the congressional districts.  Romney also became the first Republican since Gerald Ford's narrow defeat to Jimmy Carter, in 1976, to fail to win a presidential election while earning a minimum of 200 electoral votes. The same feat would also later repeat itself when Donald Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election to Joe Biden with earning at least that number of electoral votes.
Romney lost his home state of Massachusetts, becoming the first major party presidential candidate to lose his home state since Democrat Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee to Republican George W. Bush in the 2000 election.  Romney lost his home state by more than 23%, the worst losing margin for a major party candidate since John Frémont in 1856.  Even worse than Frémont, Romney failed to win a single county in his home state.   In addition, since Obama carried Ryan's home state of Wisconsin, the Romney–Ryan ticket was the first major party ticket since the 1972 election to have both of its nominees lose their home states.  Romney won the popular vote in every county of three states: Utah, Oklahoma, and West Virginia Obama did so in four states: Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. 
Romney's loss prompted the Republican National Committee to try to appeal to the American Latino population by concentrating on different approaches to immigration. These were short-lived due to activity and anger from the Republican base and may have contributed to the selection of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate four years later. 
Gary Johnson's popular vote total set a Libertarian Party record, and his popular vote percentage was the second-best showing for a Libertarian in a presidential election, trailing only Ed Clark's in 1980.  Johnson would go on to beat this record in the 2016 presidential election, winning the most votes for the Libertarian ticket in history. At the time, Green Party candidate Jill Stein's popular vote total made her the most successful female presidential candidate in a general election in United States history.   This was later surpassed by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Obama's vote total was the fourth most votes received in the history of presidential elections (behind Obama's 2008 victory and both major candidates in 2020) and the most ever for a reelected president. However, Obama also became the first president in American history to be reelected to a second term by smaller margins in every way possible: Compared to his victory in 2008, he won fewer states (28 to 26), fewer electoral votes (365 to 332), fewer popular votes (69.5 million to 65.9 million), a smaller percentage of the popular vote (52.9% to 51.1%), and fewer congressional districts (242 to 209).  Woodrow Wilson is the only other two-term president in United States history to win with less electoral votes in their second election (Franklin D. Roosevelt won with less in his third election than in his second).
The 2012 election marked the first time since 1988 in which no state was won by a candidate with a plurality of the state's popular vote. All states were won with over 50% of the vote.
So far, this is the only presidential election in history where both the Republican and Democratic vice presidential candidates are practicing Roman Catholics. It is also the only presidential election where there are no white Protestants on either major party ticket.
Results by state, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote.
Results by county. Blue denotes counties that went to Obama red denotes counties that went to Romney. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont had all counties go to Obama. Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia had all counties go to Romney.
Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote.
Popular vote by county shaded on a scale from red/Republican to blue/Democratic.
Results by state and the District of Columbia, scaled by number of Electors per state.
Cartogram of popular vote by county shaded on a scale from red/Republican to blue/Democratic where each county has been rescaled in proportion to its population.
Cartogram of the electoral vote results, with each square representing one electoral vote.
Results by congressional district.
Change in popular vote margins at the county level from the 2008 election to the 2012 election. Blue denotes counties that voted more Democratic. Red denotes counties that voted more Republican. Romney's strongest improvements over McCain were in Utah and Appalachia, while Obama's strongest gains were in Alaska, the New York area, and the Gulf states.
Treemap of the popular vote by county, state, and locally predominant recipient
The Empire State Building in New York City was lit blue when CNN called Ohio for Obama, projecting him the winner of the election. Likewise, red would have been used if Romney won. 
The Obamas and the Bidens embrace following the television announcement of their victory.
The Obamas and the Bidens walk on stage at the election night victory celebration at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Former Governor Mitt Romney meets with President Barack Obama at the White House after the 2012 presidential election.
Democrats Make Historic Pick: It's Obama
NPR's Mara Liasson wraps up Day 3 of the convention on 'Morning Edition'
As the Clintons moved to end doubts about backing Barack Obama, the animosity of the primary season seemed to fade from memory.
Barack Obama's Candidacy
Trace some of the steps that brought the 47-year-old senator from Illinois to this historic nomination.
Read transcripts and hear audio from some of Wednesday night's key speeches:
John Kerry's Speech
Bill Clinton's Speech
Joe Biden's Acceptance Speech
Former President Bill Clinton said Obama is "ready to lead America," and he praised Obama's selection of Joe Biden as a running mate, saying "he hit it out of the park." John Moore/Getty Images hide caption
Former President Bill Clinton said Obama is "ready to lead America," and he praised Obama's selection of Joe Biden as a running mate, saying "he hit it out of the park."
Supporters of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton march from Civic Center Park to the Pepsi Center at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver on Tuesday. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images hide caption
Supporters of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton march from Civic Center Park to the Pepsi Center at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver on Tuesday.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Los Angeles celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred displays a petition to enter Clinton's name into the vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Tuesday. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
Democrats Wednesday formally made Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph Biden of Delaware their 2008 presidential and vice presidential nominees, a historic ticket they hope will recapture the White House after eight years of Republican rule.
It marked the first time that a major party has nominated an African-American as its presidential nominee.
In an unscheduled bit of stagecraft, Obama briefly joined Biden onstage at the Pepsi Center, after the vice presidential nominee had revved the crowd up with his acceptance speech.
"I think the convention has gone pretty well so far. What do you think?" Obama said, as delegates cheered and waved.
Obama and his running mate embraced as members of Biden's family filed onto the podium.
Earlier in the day, Obama officially secured his party's nomination after a dramatic, but carefully arranged show of party unity from Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom Obama narrowly defeated after a long and at times divisive primary campaign.
Clinton called on the assembled delegates to unanimously support Obama by acclamation. Later, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, delivered a forceful speech of his own, asserting, "I am here first to support Barack Obama."
Biden's Line of Attack
In his address accepting the vice presidential nomination, Biden talked about his upbringing in Pennsylvania and Delaware as the middle-class son of a car salesman. He said his father fell on hard economic times, but always told him: "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up."
Biden called Obama the great American success story. "You learn a lot about a man debating him," Biden said of Obama, his onetime rival for the nomination.
As he praised Obama, Biden also carried out the traditional running mate's role of taking on the opponent, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.
Biden called McCain, his longtime Senate colleague, a friend, and noted the Republican's sacrifice as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. But he said the challenges that the nation faces "require more than a good soldier."
Biden criticized McCain's foreign policy judgment on issues ranging from Iraq and Afghanistan to Georgia.
"Again and again, on the most important national security issues of our time," Biden said, "John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was proven right."
Historic Roll Call
Biden and Obama's end-of-night appearance together capped a day filled with theatrical moments. Chief among them was Clinton's call during Wednesday's roll call of the states to give Obama the nomination by voice vote.
"Let us declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our president," Clinton told the delegates on floor. It was a gesture that moved many in the convention hall to tears.
Clinton's and Obama's names were both formally placed in nomination shortly after Wednesday's session of the convention began. There were nominating and seconding speeches, and then the traditional roll call of the states.
As the roll call reached New Mexico, a carefully choreographed dance arranged by the Obama and Clinton camps played out. New Mexico's delegates yielded to Illinois, Barack Obama's home state, which in turn yielded to New York. As TV cameras focused on the floor, Hillary Clinton walked through the throng and asked that the rules be suspended and Obama be nominated by acclamation.
The chair of the convention, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then asked the convention for those in favor of the motion to vote "aye." A chorus of "ayes" rang through the hall. Pelosi then asked if there were any nays. Before anyone so inclined could respond, Pelosi banged down her gavel, settling the question.
The Clintons Do Their Part
That ended a delicate, drawn-out process between the Obama and Clinton camps. Clinton wanted to make sure her supporters got their due. Obama's campaign wanted to avoid divisive grumbling that it feared would hamper his efforts to win the White House in November.
Wednesday's second Clinton moment came a couple of hours later, when former President Clinton addressed the convention. Answering those who say he has seemed tepid in his support for Obama, Clinton told the crowd, "Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us."
Calling him the man for the job, Clinton said Obama has the intelligence and curiosity every president needs and has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy. The former president said Obama is "ready to lead America," and he praised Obama's selection of Joe Biden as a running mate, saying, "He hit it out of the park."
Clinton made parallels between his campaign 16 years ago and Obama's, noting that in 1992, he, too, was painted as being too young and too inexperienced to occupy the Oval Office. "It didn't work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history," he said. "And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history."
Next Up: Obama's Big Night
Obama has his own date with history Thursday night, when the convention scene shifts from the Pepsi Center to Invesco Field at Mile High, the football stadium where Obama will deliver his acceptance speech.
During his brief appearance at the Pepsi Center Wednesday, Obama said the goal was "to open up this convention to make sure that everybody who wants to come can join in the effort to take America back." Some 75,000 people are expected to be in attendance.
Obama's speech comes at a historic moment, the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, in which he outlined his goals for a colorblind society. As the nation's first major party African-American presidential candidate, Obama is well aware of the parallel. He is also doubtlessly aware of the last time a presidential nominee made an open-air acceptance speech, John F. Kennedy's address at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960.
Correction Aug. 28, 2008
The introduction to the audio version of this story describes Obama's nomination "by affirmation." He was nominated by acclamation.
Obama Claims Nomination, Making History
NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving says Hillary Clinton's supporters are now likely to look for scapegoats to explain her loss. Who Did This to Hillary? he asks in his column, "Watching Washington."
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the crowd at her primary night event at Baruch College in New York, June 3, 2008. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the crowd at her primary night event at Baruch College in New York, June 3, 2008.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Obama stands on stage with his wife, Michelle, at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. He made history by capturing the Democratic presidential nomination as the first black candidate. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
Obama stands on stage with his wife, Michelle, at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. He made history by capturing the Democratic presidential nomination as the first black candidate.
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during her speech at Baruch College. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during her speech at Baruch College.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Obama greets supporters at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
Obama greets supporters at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul.
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Related NPR Stories
Sen. Barack Obama stood before a cheering crowd in a Minnesota convention hall Tuesday night, declaring himself the Democratic presidential nominee. His speech marked the end to what has been, at times, a bruising five-month-long campaign that history will remember as resulting in the first African-American to win a major party's nomination.
Obama called it "a defining moment for our nation."
A few hours earlier, his main rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, refused to acknowledge Obama's clinching of the nomination during a speech to a boisterous crowd at Baruch College in New York City. Clinton said she was not ready to make any decisions about her campaign's future. At the same time, the New York senator said she was "committed to unifying our party."
Obama secured more than the 2,118 delegates needed to win the Democratic Party's nomination after two final primaries on Tuesday — in South Dakota and Montana — which resulted in a split decision. Clinton won South Dakota, where she and former President Bill Clinton had made several campaign appearances in the past week, while Obama captured Montana.
Obama, appearing on the same stage in St. Paul, Minn., where Arizona Sen. John McCain will accept the Republican Party's nomination in September, wasted no time pivoting to the general election that lies ahead. Sounding a theme that has already become familiar and will likely become more so in the weeks and months ahead, Obama said McCain "decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time" in the Senate last year.
Eyes on General Election Battle
Obama charged that McCain "offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college."
And turning to Iraq, Obama said, "It's not change when [McCain] promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians — a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer."
The Obama campaign estimated some 17,000 supporters were inside the convention arena. They heard Obama give the kind of rousing speech that has become his trademark in the campaign.
"America, this is our moment," the 46-year-old Illinois senator and one-time community organizer said. "This is our time — our time to turn the page on the policies of the past."
McCain took advantage of the focus on the Democratic primaries to deliver a speech in New Orleans in which he criticized Obama for voting "to deny funds to the soldiers who have done a brilliant and brave job" in Iraq.
The 71-year-old Republican said Americans should be concerned about the judgment of a presidential candidate who has not traveled to Iraq, yet "says he's ready to talk, in person and without conditions, with tyrants from Havana to Pyongyang."
Standing before a green banner that said "a leader we can believe in," a play on Obama's campaign slogan "change we can believe in," McCain said, "The choice is between the right change and the wrong change, between going forward and going backward."
The Clinton Question
The biggest remaining question at the end of the lengthy primary season: What are Clinton's plans for going forward? During her speech Tuesday night, Clinton indicated she continues to believe that she would be the stronger candidate in the general election against McCain. But a parade of previously uncommitted superdelegates marched into the Obama camp Tuesday, closing off that option.
Obama lavished praise on his erstwhile rival during his speech in St. Paul, asserting that the Democratic Party and the nation "are better off because of her," and that he is "a better candidate for having had the honor to compete" with Clinton. One course of action would be an Obama-Clinton ticket, a possibility Clinton encouraged in a conference call with the New York congressional delegation on Tuesday, saying she was "open to it."
But the Obama campaign is thought to be cool to the notion of Clinton as a running mate, leaving unanswered the question the candidate herself posed Tuesday night: "What does Hillary want?"
Barack Obama Wins Presidency
In an extraordinary moment in America's history, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has won the 2008 presidential election and will become the 44th president of the United States and the country's first African-American leader.
"Because of what we did on this day, in this election, in this defining moment, change has come to America," Obama told 125,000 supporters gathered in Chicago's Grant Park to celebrate his victory.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," he added.
"A new dawn of American leadership is at hand," Obama said.
Obama's victory comes on the strength of projected wins in battleground states that went to President George W. Bush four years ago - Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa - as well as a victory in Pennsylvania, a state that John McCain had hoped to turn blue to buoy his bid for an upset victory.
As the results came in Tuesday evening, a senior aide told CBS News the McCain camp was hoping for a "miracle," but the Arizona senator was not able to defy expectations in one of the worst election years for Republicans in decades.
"We have come to the end of a long journey," McCain said in a concession speech late Tuesday night. "The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly."
"Let there be no reason now for any American not to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on earth," he added, lauding the historic nature of Obama's victory for African-Americans.
Both McCain and President George W. Bush called Obama Tuesday evening to congratulate him on his victory, the Obama campaign said. The president also called McCain, the White House said, telling the Republican nominee, "John, you gave it your all."
Obama's victory "is in so many ways a complete repudiation of everything about the presidency of George W. Bush," writes CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs.
Hillary Clinton, the New York senator whom Obama defeated in a tough Democratic primary battle, released a statement saying that she will do "all that I can" to support Obama and Joe Biden, the vice president elect, "in the difficult work that lies ahead."
She said that under their leadership, as well as that of a Democratic Congress, "we will chart a better course to build a new economy and rebuild our leadership in the world."
"Obama's ability to retain an overwhelming majority of Clinton support was a key factor in his victory over McCain," writes CBSNews.com political analyst Samuel J. Best.
Democrats increased their majorities in both chambers of Congress on Tuesday, assuring that their party will control Congress and the White House just two years after the Republican Party controlled both.
"The road ahead will be long," Obama said in his remarks. "Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there."
In addition to the above states, CBS News estimates that Obama will win California, New York, Washington, Michigan, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, Illinois, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.
McCain will take Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Tennessee, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Oklahoma, the network projects.
Obama is now estimated to take at least 349 electoral votes, while McCain has 163. 270 electoral votes are needed to take the White House.
CBS News has not yet projected winners in North Carolina or Missouri. For full election results, click here.
Exit polls suggested women helped propel Obama to victory, backing the Democratic nominee 56 percent to 43 percent. Obama also held a slight edge among men.
The Democratic nominee did not win white voters. The group - which made up three quarters of voters - broke for McCain 55 percent to 43 percent. But black voters, 13 percent of the electorate, voted overwhelmingly for Obama, 95 percent to 4 percent. (Click here for full exit poll results.)
Hispanics backed Obama over McCain by a margin of 66 percent to 31 percent, helping him take the Western states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Young voters between 18 and 29 - 18 percent of the electorate - favored Obama 66 percent to 31 percent. Independents also backed Obama, by a small margin.
Exit polls showed widespread pessimism about the economy and the country's leadership. Three in four voters say the U.S. is on the wrong track, while voters gave high disapproval ratings to both President Bush (72 percent) and Congress (73 percent). Voters overwhelmingly cited the struggling economy as the most important issue in their decision.
Obama's win came "on the basis of deep voter concerns about the state of the economy and strong disapproval of President Bush," writes CBS News political consultant Stanley Feldman.
Long lines were commonplace across the country Tuesday as people waited to cast ballots, with waits of up to six-and-a-half hours in Missouri and four hours in Manhattan. But many voters persevered despite the long waits, and elections officials predicted record turnout nationwide.
"This is our moment," Obama concluded in his victory remarks. "This is our time to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids, to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace, to reclaim the American Dream."
His election, he said, was an opportunity to reaffirm "that out of many, we are one, that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can."
OBAMA, THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE? YES HE CAN!
I believe that Barack Obama will defeat Hillary and win the Democratic nomination. I think that this weekend’s victories in states as diverse as Washington State, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Maine illustrates his national appeal and demonstrates Hillary’s inability to win in states without large immigrant and Latino populations.
Hillary’s results on Super Tuesday, which amounted to a draw with Obama, will be her high water mark and will represent the closest she will ever come to the party nomination.
Right now, CBS has Obama ahead in elected delegates with 1134, while Hillary has only 1131.By the time Virginia, Maryland, DC, Wisconsin, and Hawaii vote during the next week, Obama will have a lead over Clinton of about 100 delegates, even counting the super delegates who have thus far committed themselves.
March 4th will, at worst, be a wash for Obama with his probably wins in Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont offsetting his probable defeat in Texas. (Although in Texas’ open primary, Republicans and Independents may flock to the Dem primary to beat Hillary).
And then come a list of states almost all of which should go for Obama, including likely victories in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana. By the convention, he will have more than enough delegates to overcome the expected margins Hillary may rack up among super delegates.
And don’t bet on all the super delegates staying hitched to Hillary. These folks are politicians, half of them public office holders who are really good at reading the handwriting on the wall and really bad at gratitude for past favors.
Since 2004, I have predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee. But, given the consistently amazing performance of Obama, his superior organizational and fund-raising skills, his inspiration of young people, and the flat and completely uninspiring performance by Hillary, it looks to me like it will be Obama as the Democratic nominee.