Obama Presumptive Democratic Nominee - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama Presumptive Democratic Nominee

By Steve Handelsman

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (KHNL) -- It's been the longest and closest Democratic primary campaign ever and Tuesday night there's a presumptive winner: Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Here is a late-breaking look at the delegate numbers.

Hillary Clinton has 1,934.

But Barack Obama has 2,130, putting him above the 2,118 needed to be the nominee.

Before a cheering crowd in Minnesota, Obama declared that he "will be" the Democratic nominee for president.

By doing so, he shattered a barrier more than two centuries old, to become the first black candidate ever nominated by a major political party for the nation's highest office.

Barack Obama came here to celebrate, but he's already looking ahead ...to the fight against John McCain and winning over the backers of Hillary Clinton, now that he's won the competition with her.

After five months and 54 primary contests , Barack Obama wasn't high fiving, even in private, says a top aide, but his supporters in St. Paul went wild...as Obama declared himself the winner.

"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the democratic nominee for president of the united states," said Obama.

He won Tuesday's primary in Montana...and won over dozens of super delegates... But on this final day, Obama lost South Dakota to Hillary Clinton...whom he praised.

"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," said Obama.

She was in New York. Not ready yet to concede that she's lost the nomination.

"And in the coming days I will be consulting with advisers and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interest of our party and my country guiding way," said Senator Hillary Clinton.

But she recognized Obama's accomplishment.

"It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend," said Clinton.  "And I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters."

For the first time today, Clinton told supporters that she would consider the vice presidency if Obama asks.

Obama's focusing on his next race.

"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," said Obama.  "But change is not one of them."

McCain versus Obama could get nasty. McCain tonight...

"I have a few years on my opponent, so I am surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas," said McCain.

Five more months of campaigning ahead. But Tuesday night for Barack Obama: celebration.

Wednesday, both Obama and Clinton will be in Washington. Both facing the same question. Will they form a dream team?

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