x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Democrats make history

Barack Obama and the Democrats have already made history - no matter who wins the presidential election.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, right, whispers into the ear of his running mate, Senator Joe Biden.
Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, right, whispers into the ear of his running mate, Senator Joe Biden.

DENVER // Barack Obama and the Democrats have made history - no matter who wins the presidential election. His nomination yesterday at the Democratic National Convention puts Mr Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother, just one victory away from taking charge of a nation where, just decades ago, many black people were unable to vote. He walked unannounced onto the stage after running mate Joe Biden used a rowdy vice presidential acceptance speech to laud Mr Obama and to tear into Republican rival John McCain, even as he called him a "friend" whose "personal courage and heroism ... still amaze me." Mr Obama, delighting the crowd with his appearance, praising the one-time front-runner for the Democratic nomination Hillary Clinton, and her husband, the former president, Bill Clinton, as well as his wife for their prime time speeches in support of him this week.

"If I'm not mistaken, Hillary Clinton rocked the house last night!" he shouted. Mr Obama's wife, Michelle, who delivered a tone-perfect address to open the convention could be seen mouthing the words "I love you" from her VIP seat in the Pepsi Center. The long Democratic soap opera near an end - and the Obama campaign no doubt heaved a sigh of relief - after rousing speeches on Mr Obama's behalf by the Clintons - Hillary on Tuesday and Bill Clinton yesterday. They offered unabashed praise for their one-time opponent, whom they had sharply criticised through the grueling 18-month primary contest. That cleared the way for Mr Obama to formally accept the party's nomination before 75,000 people in a Denver sports stadium tonight. Given the country's tortured racial history, the decision is a gamble for the Democrats as they symbolically opened the fall campaign to take back the White House from the Republicans, who will nominate Mr McCain, the 72-year-old senator and former Vietnam war hero, next week. While healing the Democratic party may still prove difficult, the process began effusively last night when Hillary Clinton said Mr Obama is "my candidate, and he must be our president."

Bill Clinton echoed his wife's words the night following, noting that she had told the convention she would do everything possible to get Mr Obama elected. "That makes two of us," he said. *AP