Great Debater Strikes First

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[National News]

In a ground-shaking breakthrough Senator Barack Obama defeated his Democratic challengers today at the Iowa Caucuses.

The Senator from Illinois resoundingly answered affirmatively the question, whether a predominantly white electorate would vote for a Black man. The campaign now turns its attention to New Hampshire, where voters head to the polls for the nation's first primaries on February 5.

Obama's historic win comes in a state that is 95% white.

Obama won with 38%, followed by John Edwards at 30% and Senator Hillary Clinton trailing with 29%. Obama seeks to become the first Black man to become president while Sen. Clinton wants to be the first female president.

To delirious chants of “Obama, Obama, Obama,” the victorious senator told a room packed with faithful followers tonight: “They said this day would never come; they said our sights were set too high; they said this country was too divided; but on this January night, on the historic moment in history you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do.”

He added, “You have done what New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this New Year 2008.”

Obama mentioned his Kenyan heritage --the land of his father, which is currently roiled in turmoil following disputed elections last week -- with pride and said his is a story "that could only happen in America."

There had been some speculation that the outcome could mean the end of Edwards’ campaign. Unlike Senator Clinton, Edwards does not have the kind of money needed to continue. On the Republican side Mike Huckabee was the projected winner.

But Edwards tonight, in a fiery speech, told his supporters during a rally after the vote that he had come in second after Obama.

“The status quo lost and change won,” Edwards said, a clear reference to the fact that Obama came first, while he came second and Clinton, whom he says represents the establishment, came last. "Now we move on," he added.

The reference to “change” winning is also interesting since that is Obama’s campaign message—that the country wants change.

Perhaps Edwards is also positioning himself for an eventual invitation from Obama to become his running mate as vice presidential candidate.

Sen. Clinton held her own news conference shortly after Edwards'.

Obama’s campaign theme “change” was echoed several times by Senator Clinton tonight, when she addressed her followers, flanked by former president Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“We are going to have change and change will be a Democratic president in the White House,” Sen. Clinton said, to chants of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” from her supporters. There was no reference to her “experience,” something that in the past several weeks she had claimed as an asset that she had over Sen. Obama. She congratulated Obama, Edwards and the other minor Democratic contenders.

“Today we have made a case for change and we have made it clear that America needs a new beginning,” Clinton said.

Yet, she did throw a little dig against Obama, when she said, the question now is, “How will we win in November 2008? By nominating a candidate that will go the distance and who will be the best president from day one.”

In recent weeks, Clinton has been criticized including in an editorial in The Black Star News when a senior campaign manager used the race card against Obama The Washington Post later quoted The Black Star's editorial in a news column.

Separately, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut announced that he would drop out of the race.

Republican Huckabee beat Mitt Romney, 34% to 25%. He said Romney had outspent him 1-15 in political advertisements purchased.

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