ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Barack Obama will take up the reins of the Democratic drive for the White House on Tuesday night, calling on Democrats to come together for a "common effort to chart a new course for America."
"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," the Illinois senator will say, speaking in the city where Republicans will officially nominate his GOP opponent in September.
"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States."
Obama went over the top in delegates earlier Tuesday as many of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates flocked to his side, making him the first African-American candidate in U.S. history to lead a major-party ticket.
According to the text of his speech obtained by CNN, Obama will laud his chief Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, downplaying divisions sparked within the party by the difficult campaign fight between the two and reaching out to voters who strongly supported the former first lady.
(CNN) – The hard-fought Democratic primary race is winding down, but the veepstakes are just starting to heat up. Do voters in the year’s final contests think Barack Obama – just a handful of delegates away from claiming the party’s presidential nomination – should pick rival Hillary Clinton as his running mate?
South Dakota’s Democrats seem to like the idea; according to early exit polls, 55 of them think Clinton should be on the ticket this fall, while 41 percent do not.
But the state’s Obama voters give the idea a thumbs-down: 56 percent say Obama should not offer Clinton the vice presidential slot, versus 40 percent that do.
Montana’s Democratic primary voters are more divided: nearly half, 49 percent, think Clinton should join Obama on a joint ticket – but 45 percent do not.
NEW YORK (CNN) – Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Brady endorsed Barack Obama for president Tuesday evening, putting the Illinois senator in striking distance of securing enough delegates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama is expected to secure enough delegates by night’s end to claim the nomination.
Brady, a superdelegate who stayed neutral in the 2008 primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton, told CNN he chose not to take sides in an effort to encourage the two candidates to participate in a presidential debate and party dinner earlier this year. Following the debate and dinner, Brady said he then decided it was best to “let the primary run out, and see what happens.”
Clinton defeated Obama in the Pennsylvania primary held on April 22.
The congressman said Tuesday it was time for the party to come together and focus on defeating John McCain in November.
(CNN) - Two very white, working-class Western states. But look closer: there are some very real differences between the two sets of Democratic primary voters in tonight’s final primary contests.
South Dakota’s primary was closed, only registered Democrats were allowed to weigh in. But roughly one in three primary voters in Montana are independent – and that group is heavily supporting Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton may have had an easier time winning over the party’s base - but Obama’s campaign will be counting on his ability to go toe-to-toe with John McCain over independent voters
CNN's Jessica Yellin reports on Obama's effort in the swing states.
(CNN) — Barack Obama is now 4 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination, CNN estimates, with 2,114 delegates.
The Illinois senator now leads Clinton by 202 delegates in overall delegates, 124 in pledged delegates, and 78 in superdelegates.
(CNN) - Barack Obama is now 5 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination, CNN estimates, with 2,113 delegates.
The Illinois senator now leads Clinton by 201 delegates in overall delegates, 124 in pledged delegates, and 77 in superdelegates.
Hillary Clinton's speech Tuesday night is being held in a college gymnasium two stories below ground. Blackberries and cell phones don't work, so reporters have to rely on old fashion phone lines to communicate. (Photo Credit: CNN's Mike Roselli)
Watch part of John McCain's speech Tuesday night.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) - Sen. John McCain will portray himself as the candidate of "right change" during his remarks Tuesday night as Sen. Barack Obama moves closer to the Democratic nomination and the right to challenge McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, in November.
"This is, indeed, a change election," McCain will say, according to excerpts of his remarks provided to CNN. "No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically. But, the choice is between the right change and the wrong change; between going forward and going
"The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of our government have failed. They have failed to keep up with the challenges of our time because many of these policies were designed for the problems and opportunities of the mid to late 20th Century, before the end of the Cold War; before the revolution in information technology and rise of the global economy," he will say.
In his remarks, McCain will call for "widespread and innovative reforms" in health care, energy, the environment, taxes, public education, transportation, disaster relief, regulation, diplomacy and military and intelligence services.
(CNN) – The youngest and oldest voters in South Dakota’s Democratic primary overwhelmingly support their candidate – but as in many contests this primary season, both groups have landed on opposite sides of the Democratic divide, according to early exit polls.
The youngest voters, those aged 18-29, supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, 65 to 35 percent. Voters 65 and older had the exact same level of support for Clinton, voting for her 65-35 percent over Obama.
It’s a problem that’s plagued Obama all year: how to make his case to seniors, who have been critical to Democratic presidential hopes in past campaigns. Can he win them over by November?
(CNN) - Will angry Hillary Clinton supporters take their disappointment out at the polls this November by voting for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain over Barack Obama, or staying home altogether?
Roughly three out of five Clinton’s South Dakota supporters said they’d vote for Obama this fall, in early exit polls. Sixteen percent said they’d vote for McCain; roughly the same number, 17 percent, said they’d stay home altogether.
Among all Democratic primary voters in South Dakota, 55 percent said the party had been energized by the long primary season; 39 percent said it had had the opposite effect.
The tough primary slog may have taken a toll on party unity – is it temporary, or will it cost Democrats dearly this fall? Time will tell.
UPDATE: One more quick note: Clinton’s Montana voters were even more leery of Obama - one in four said they’d vote for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain this fall. And just over half in both states said they were not pleased with the party’s evident presidential pick.
Obama has his work cut out for him – and the level of Hillary Clinton’s support for him will be the big variable in this election-year equation.