DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan 3, 2008 (AFP) – Democrat Barack Obama triumphed in the first 2008 White House nominating contest Thursday, dealing a severe blow to Hillary Clinton’s hopes and boosting his own chances of being the first black US president. “We are choosing hope over fear. We’re choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America,” Obama told a raucus, cheering crowd.
Obama won with a strong 38 percent of the votes, compared to 30 percent for John Edwards and only 29 percent for Clinton.
On the Republican side, ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee drubbed his top rival in the race Mitt Romney, 34 percent to 25 percent, casting serious doubt on the former Massachusetts governor’s national viability.
Obama’s triumph vindicated the 46-year-old senator’s soaring message of hope and political change even as it cast a long shadow over Clinton’s aspirations to be the first woman president of the United States.
“They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high,” he said.
“Years from now, you’ll look back and you’ll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope.”
It confirmed Obama, son of a black Ken