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Obama finally defeats Hillary in White House race


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Hillary is OUT of the race for the White House as votes from superdelegates seal it for Obama


By David Gardner

Last updated at 10:58 PM on 03rd June 2008

Hillary Clinton’s White House dream effectively died today with Barack Obama sealed an historic victory in his quest to become America’s first black president.

Once seen as a sure bet for the Democrat presidential nomination, the 60-year-old former First Lady finally bowed to the inevitable.

As voters went to the polls in the final two primaries, the Clinton camp acknowledged the game was up after a 16 month dogged campaign costing £108million.


article-1023878-017902C700000578-721_468x508.jpg End of the road: A downcast Hillary Clinton has lost her bid to become the Democrat nominee for the White House race

However, Mrs Clinton confirmed she would consider serving as Mr Obama’s vice presidential running mate.

The combination would be a ‘dream ticket’ in the presidential campaign battle against Republican John McCain, but critics have warned that choosing her could undermine Mr Obama’s message of change.

Mr Obama too was in no mood to make any snap decisions on the issue.


Mr Obama was expected to make it past the finish line with votes from the final primaries in South Dakota and Montana early tomorrow morning.

And although the states offer just 31 of the 40 delegates he needed, a flurry of superdelegates, including former president Jimmy Carter, backed the Illinois senator and pushed him over the threshold.


And that left the way clear for the 46-year-old - a longshot before primaries began in January - to celebrate one of the most stunning underdog triumphs ever seen in U.S. politics.

An Associated Press tally last based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments, on top of the primary votes, dramatically made him the winner of the Democrat nomination battle.


article-1023878-0176A73A00000578-903_468x286.jpg Winner: Barack Obama has clinched an historic victory over the former First Lady

And Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said that once her rival had passed the magic number of 2,118 delegates needed, ‘I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate him and call him the nominee.’


While she was not planning to concede in her speech to supporters in New York after the primary results, aides said she would bow out once declared superdelegates took Mr Obama past the 2,118 mark.


Heading into the twin primaries just 37.5 delegates short of securing his party's White House nod, he was expecting to reach that point within 24 hours.

Many of the 170 superdelegates yet to declare were private supporters of his but wanted to respect the process by not endorsing him until the final primaries were done, he said.


Two senior Clitnon officials said last night that she would pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care, but for all intents and purposes her campaign was over.


article-1023878-01795A5900000578-251_468x690.jpg Inevitable: Mr Obama has since February been touted by the American media to become the next president

Most staff will be let go though paid until June 15, the officials said.

Mr Obama was set to speak at a victory rally that would effectively serve as the launch of his campaign to defeat Republican nominee John McCain, 71, in November’s presidential election.


In a shot across the bows of his opponents, he was holding his wrap-up party in St Paul, Minnesota, at the arena where the Republicans are holding their national convention in September.


Mr Obama started the day just 40 delegates short of the 2,118 total he needed to put him over the top and make him the first black presidential nominee from a major party.

In addition to sharing the combined 31 delegates from the two states voting yesterday, he was expecting a flood of support from uncommitted superdelegates, the senior Democrats who could side with either candidate.


article-1023878-0179502C00000578-318_468x515.jpg Family man: Mr Obama with wife Michelle and two daughters Malia, top right, and Sasha in May

At least 25 superdelegates from Congress were said to be primed to join the Obama bandwagon as soon as the state results were in and a large majority of the 150 still on the fence were expected to follow suit.


‘We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of bringing the party together,’ Mr Obama said yesterday.


After months of whirlwind never-say-die campaigning, the exhaustion was finally catching up with Mrs Clinton, who was planning to speak to supporters in her home state of New York late last night.


Suffering from a recurrent cough, she had to hand over the microphone twice to daughter, Chelsea, as she struggled to finish a speech in South Dakota on Monday night.


While Mrs Clinton decided to wait until all the votes were in before officially admitting defeat, her former president husband, Bill, grudgingly admitted: ‘This may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind.’



article-1023878-017951BB00000578-297_468x434.jpg Historic: Barack Obama, seen during his childhood in Hawaii, could become the first black president

Mrs Clinton is known to have spoken privately to Mr Obama over the weekend and analysts said one of her key requests in return for her support in the months ahead was for help reimbursing the (pounds) 10 million of her own savings she used to prop up her faltering campaign.


Their battle for the nomination shattered fundraising and voter turnout records, but also exposed racial and gender divisions within the party that threatened to undermine chances of beating Mr McCain.


In a new conciliatory tone between the Democrat rivals, both lavished praise on one another after an often bruising contest.


Mr Obama said he planned to meet up ‘once the dust settles.’



article-1023878-017680C800000578-791_468x286.jpg Support: A campaign badge compares Mr Obama to the charismatic JFK, who became the first Catholic to become president and coined the phrase 'A new generation'



But he refused to be drawn on the idea of a ‘dream ticket’ with Mrs Clinton as his vice-presidential running mate.


Aides point out chosing her would undermine his message of change and he said yesterday: ‘It’s a very important decision and it’s one where I’m going to have to take some time.’

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