On June 3, 2008, US Presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, went on to win the Democratic primaries. The win was a significant step in Senator Obama’s transition to US President Obama, the 44th American President and the first African-American to chair the Oval Office.
Obama’s battle for the democratic candidature against former First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton took on epic proportions and resulted in one of the most spectacular primary campaigns in the history of US elections.
On February 10, 2007, Barack Obama, a junior Illinois senator announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Old State Capitol State Historic Site, Springfield, Illinois. Obama’s choice of venue was symbolic since the Old State Capitol building was the place where Abraham Lincoln had delivered his “House Divided” address, back in 1858. Apart from Senator Clinton, the other Democratic contender in the fray was Senator John Edwards from North Carolina. To secure the Democratic nomination, the candidates needed at least 2,117 votes from the delegates – a simple majority of the 4,233 delegate votes. The votes would come through both Primary elections and caucuses depending on the state.
The victory for Senator Obama, the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father broke many stereotypes and racial impediments. But the victory was an affair not easily won.
Obama’s early win at the Iowa caucus propelled him into national limelight. The following state wins for Senator Obama were hard won following a well-organized and impassioned campaign. Clinton was the popular choice through Super Tuesday. Obama was clearly leading in the rural states while Clinton had the lead in the coastal regions. Following Super Tuesday, Obama clinched all 11 states which were key supporters of Clinton. Clinton still did not end her candidacy till a majority of the 200 super delegates endorsed Obama’s ticket as the Democratic presidential candidate. A highly dramatic contest, the New York Times called it a “Democratic Primary Fight Is Like No Other, Ever”.
As part of his nomination victory speech on June 3, 2008, Senator Obama addressed the nation from St. Paul, Minnesota:
“Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said – because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.”
Also On This Day:
1851 – The New York Knickerbockers become the first baseball team to wear uniforms
1946 – The first bikini swimsuit is displayed in Paris
1965 – Edward White becomes the first American to walk in space
1982 – Israeli ambassador to Britain is shot in London
1926 – American writer Allen Ginsberg is born
1986 – Tennis champion Rafael Nadal is born