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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Obama Clinches Nomination

Aired June 3, 2008 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN can now also project that Barack Obama will win the Montana Democratic presidential contest tonight, Barack Obama winning in Montana based on the exit polling that we had been doing in Montana throughout today.
Earlier, we projected that Hillary Clinton will win the South Dakota Democratic presidential nominee, in other words, a split decision on this, the final two contests of this very long presidential primary season. It's all over right now, no more projections. The next time we will be making some projections will be on November 4. That's when the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain will take place.

But, once again, take a look at this map. You can see it right there. The light blue are the states that Hillary Clinton has captured. The dark blue are the states that Barack Obama has captured.

Texas, we got both -- both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama winning. She won the primary. He won the subsequent caucuses in Texas, as a result, a split decision in Texas. But, right now, we project he has 2,127 delegates, and the number needed to nominate, 2,118.

Let's go back to Anderson. He's looking at all of this.

As I said, Anderson, if you thought Hillary Clinton was going to concede tonight, you were mistaken.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, if you were expecting the word "suspension," as in suspension of the campaign, you wouldn't have heard that word, nor the word conceding.

We should remind our viewers, we are just minutes away from Barack Obama speaking. That is the crowd there, some 20,000 people assembled in Saint Paul. We, of course, will bring you his -- his comments live to you.

As we continue watching this picture, though, let's weigh in with our panel.

Wow.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We were joking that the theme song "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner kind of summed it all up there, as she made her argument, she made her case again that she is the better candidate, the stronger candidate. And one of the reasons why, I think, not only the reasons that she gave, is that it is so close for her. And it is just beyond her grasp. One person I spoke to said that, still, her -- her -- Obama can still feel her breath on the back of his neck, that it was that close. It is something that has just been very, very difficult to let go of.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Well, she certainly made sure to remind anyone watching that: We won in the states needed for an electoral victory. We won the popular vote, by her math.

BORGER: Yes.

COOPER: She said, each of your votes was a prayer for our nation.

David Gergen, did this address surprise you?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Very much so.

This was a defiant speech, against all the kind of advice, all the people within the -- the heavyweights in the Democratic Party, let's close this down; let's unite. That's why all these superdelegates came over to Barack Obama today, to bring an end to this, to bring unity. She's continuing her campaign. And...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: She said: "I will be making no decision tonight. Share your thoughts." Go to her Web sites.

GERGEN: And share your thoughts. Now, dare I say this? This is probably -- I'm sure this is unfair.

COOPER: Dare, David, dare.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: But I'm sure it's unfair to her, but one of the first speeches I ever remember like this in American politics was Richard Nixon and Checkers.

It was a famous speech when he said, please write your letters about what I should do, whether I should stay on the ticket or not.

And I think, here, she can almost guarantee that a lot of these notes are going to come in and say, fight to Denver.

BORGER: Hey, fight on.

GERGEN: Fight on.

COOPER: The crowd, in fact, chanted "Denver, Denver."

(CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: But what does that mean, fight on? This election is over.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Right.

And, by the way, if I were Barack Obama, if I heard this speech, I would not be very happy. I would say that this is the -- this is not what Barack Obama wanted to hear.

And I would also say that this is about political leverage right now. Putting it out there. Here are the poker chips, dear. I have got 18 million.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: How do you get more leverage by arguing about something that's over? Hubert Humphrey is not contesting the 1968 election anymore.

BORGER: They are living in parallel universes right now.

COOPER: I want to bring in James -- I want to bring in James Carville, who has got a big smile on his face.

Again, just reminding our viewers, we're minutes away from Barack Obama.

We're going to bring that to you live -- James.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, I don't know why anybody got the impression that she was going to concede tonight.

Certainly, no one in the Clinton campaign gave it. And, secondly, she said that she would make a decision on what's the best interests of the party and the country. I suspect that she will have an announcement to make in the next three or four days.

These things take time. She has to bring people along. But I'm sort of stunned myself that people are stunned that she didn't concede. Everybody in the world said, she's not conceding tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: And I'm a little befuddled by people surprised that she didn't.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Jeff, you were saying it's the way she didn't concede?

TOOBIN: It was the way she didn't concede. I mean, I think David's right. When you ask people to write in, you are not asking people to write in to say: Hang it up. You're done. It's over.

People are going to write in and say: Fight on. It's terrific. You're our hero.

And she ran a really admirable campaign, and she came closer than any nominee in the history of the primary era, but she finished second.

BORGER: And she continued to make her case tonight about why she should have been the nominee.

Nobody expected her to concede, James.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: We have talked to people in the campaign. We knew that she wasn't going to concede tonight. But there's a tone. There's a tone.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: She did everything but offer Barack Obama the vice presidency.

(LAUGHTER)

CASTELLANOS: I mean, that was a pretty defiant speech.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I think she's got to bring her people along. I don't think that she is going to sit there and issue an edict. She said she would decide in the best interests of -- quote -- "the party and the country."

And I have got to tell you, I was not shocked by this. And I didn't expect her to concede at all.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: In answer -- she said, what does she want? She says, "I want the 18 million-plus people who voted for me to be respected, heard, and no longer invisible."

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: These people have to vote for the party in November.

And a lot of -- again, I go back and say this. When she wants to work for the ticket, she wants to be sure that her people are excited about this. Tonight was not the night to do something like that. The time will come to do this. And it will be done correctly and it will be done in good time.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Suzanne, what about the discussion of the vice presidency?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that she does want -- and she's at least floated it out there -- is the idea of being number two on the ticket here. I mean...

COOPER: That was floated out today in a conference call.

MALVEAUX: In a conference call with the New York delegation, and before, through informal channels, that that message was delivered to the Obama campaign.

And, so, in some ways, I mean, it is a kind of defiant speech, yes, but...

BORGER: But this is not a way to get the vice presidency.

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: It is not the way to do it. But, at the same time, she's demonstrating her strength.

And she also has this parallel kind of campaign...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Why isn't this way to get to the vice presidency?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: If you have 18-plus million people behind you, why not flex that muscle?

BORGER: Well, because, first of all, this is a decision -- this is a lot of noise right now, Anderson.

This is a decision that Barack Obama is going to make some time late this summer, not right now. And no presidential nominee wants anything shoved down his or her threat at any time.

COOPER: David?

GERGEN: This is a speech that's going to alienate more deeply a lot of people around Obama, who had thought that she would -- on a night that is historic, that we have all talked about -- we opened it up by saying this is a big, breakthrough night, first African-American in history, and she does not concede.

They're going to take that as a slap. They're going to take as one more indication that she's very difficult to work with. And I tell you, it will intensify their opposition to her coming on.

She's acting as if -- to go to James Carville's point, James may be absolutely right. A few days, more phone calls, it will all end. But there was a quality about the speech, an implication in the speech, is: I'm leading 18 million people. I'm the leader or 18 million people. And if you want those, Barack Obama, you're going to have to deal with me and negotiate with me over some things.

COOPER: Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, emerging now.

Jamal Simmons, you're a supporter of Barack Obama. What did you think when you heard her speech?

(LAUGHTER)

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, I think everyone walked in the door today talking about being very generous, very magnanimous, was prepared to talk a lot about all of the things that Hillary Clinton did on behalf of this campaign.

But you watched the speech, and she really just kind of beat the drum some more. And what you would have, at the moment that people were chanting "Denver, Denver," she would have said, no, everybody, let's relax. This is going to be -- she would have done something to just tone it down a little bit.

And there was none of that.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Jessica, let's listen in, 20,000 people in this auditorium. Let's listen to the...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

COOPER: An extraordinary moment for Barack Obama, for his wife, Michelle Obama, for all of those supporters, not only gathered in that -- in that stadium tonight, but people watching around the country, even those who may not support Barack Obama certainly taking this moment to reflect on the historic nature of what is happening on this evening.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Minnesota. Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.

What a -- what a wonderful reception. Thank you, Saint Paul. Thank you, Minnesota.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you, Joan Severson (ph), for the wonderful introduction.

Thank you, Michelle Obama and Malia Obama and Sasha Obama.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you to my brothers and sisters. Thank you to -- thank you to my staff. Thank you to our volunteers.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you to my political team. Thank you to our campaign manager, David Plouffe, who never gets any credit, but has built the best political organization in the country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Thank you to my grandmother, who helped raise me...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... and is sitting in Hawaii somewhere right now, because she can't travel, but who poured everything she had into me, and who helped to make me the man I am today. Tonight is for her.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Tonight, Minnesota, after 54 hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Sixteen -- 16 months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled; millions of voices have been heard.

And because of what you said, because you decided that change must come to Washington, because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest, because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears, but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another, a journey...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... a journey that will bring a new and better day to America.

Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: But I want to thank -- I want to thank all those in Montana and South Dakota who stood up for change today. I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign, through the good days and the bad, from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls.

And, tonight, I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.

At this defining moment, at this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for office.

I have not just competed with them as rivals. I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

And that is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: She has made history not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she is a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

I congratulate her on her victory in South Dakota, and I congratulate her on the race that she has run throughout this contest.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We've certainly had our differences over the last 16 months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning -- even in the face of tough odds -- is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago, what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as first lady, what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency: an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be.

And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country -- and we will win that fight -- she will be central to that victory.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen.

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.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well, I say that, because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: There are independents and Republicans who understand this election isn't just about a change of party in Washington, but also about the need to change Washington.

There are young people, and African-Americans, and Hispanic- Americans, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing.

We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say: Let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I honor, we honor the service of John McCain, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: My differences with him -- my differences with him are not personal. They are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign, because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college, policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

It's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians, a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I will 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, but "change" is not one of them.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: "Change" is not one of them, because change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years, especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in, but we -- but start leaving we must.

It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care and the benefits they deserve when they come home.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change, Minnesota, is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy: tough, direct diplomacy, where the president of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We must once again have the courage and the conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy. That's what the American people demand. That's what change is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and the workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a middle-class tax break to those who need it, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy -- cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota -- he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and the wealthy.

She needs us to pass health care right now, a plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need, Minnesota. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Maybe if John McCain went to Pennsylvania and he met the man who lost his job, but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators.

That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future, an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need, Minnesota.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And maybe if John McCain spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul, Minnesota, or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, Louisiana, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early-childhood education; and recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; and finally decide that, in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the few, but a birthright of every American.

That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for president of the United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Now, the other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a good thing. That is a debate I look forward to.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: It is a debate that the American people deserve on the issues that will help determine the future of this country and the future for our children.

But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: What you won't see from this campaign or this party is a politics that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to polarize, because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Despite what the good senator from Arizona may have said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself.

I have walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the south side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools.

I have sat across the table from law enforcement officials and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent 13 innocent people to death row.

I have worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break, to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent, and reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because, behind all the false labels and false divisions and categories that define us, beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.

And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union, and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the greatest generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines, the women who shattered glass ceilings, the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better and kinder and more just.

And so it must be for us.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: America, this is our moment. This is our time, our time to turn the page on the policies of the past...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face, our time to offer a new direction for this country that we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge -- I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations, but I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people.

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ... this was the moment when we ended a war, and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: This was the moment, this was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

Thank you, Minnesota. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

COOPER: For Barack Obama and his family, truly a remarkable evening. From the hall in St. Paul, Minnesota, where a few months from now the Republicans will gather. Barack Obama surrounded by a crowd of some 20,000 people, listening in rapt attention to his words, cheering him on throughout.

This is the moment, this is our time, he repeatedly said.

Earlier, talking about John McCain's comments earlier, he said, "I respect his accomplishments," talking about John McCain, "even if he chooses to deny mine."

And again, we heard him repeating over and over, "We are always Americans first, whether we are Republicans or Democrats."

David Gergen, as you -- as you watch Barack Obama work this crowd, a remarkable speech whether you support him or not as a candidate, whether you want him or not as president. This is a man who certainly knows how to speak to a crowd.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: We haven't had a speaker publicly speak this well since Reagan. There are echoes, obviously, of Martin Luther King in this speech. There are echoes of Lincoln in this speech. Bill Clinton could give a heck of a speech. Obama may be even a better speaker.

And you have to think tonight -- I keep coming back to Hillary's speech and what we saw earlier tonight. This -- one thought (ph) over this, Anderson, is this was a night, the last night until September, when the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate are going to be on national television on the same night, being seen by everybody. And I think there's no question that Barack Obama gave a better speech.

At the same time, think how much more of a lift he would have had if she had endorsed him tonight and he had gone and given that speech, how Democrats might have come together. And the fact that she did not, I think, leaves this with a terrific speech, but there is, over this, still the cloud of can they heal the party?

COOPER: If there was a cloud over him, though, he certainly did not give any hint of that tonight in his comments about Hillary Clinton. Clearly going beyond just boilerplate thanking her, really making a huge effort to -- to praise her, her role in this campaign, her role in history.

BORGER: This is really kind of the universal appeal about this speech. He started off thanking his grandmother. I think everybody can kind of relate to that. But he said that tonight is for her.

What was striking is that he didn't talk about the historic nature of being the first African-American to hold this position, to open the door for others. He really gave and recognized that it was Hillary Clinton that was breaking a barrier for women.

He has never really wanted to focus on race. He was forced really into that kind of discussion to address the issue. But he has always tried to reach out to people, all kinds of people. And that was something that he did this evening.

TOOBIN: I was struck by the fact that this was not a speech about Barack Obama. He did not talk about himself very much. He paid tribute to his grandmother, and it was all about other people.

We're talking about the historic nature of this. We're talking about the first African-American nominee of a party. He didn't say a word about it.

BORGER: In fact, he's saying that this is -- America, this is our moment. Not that it was his moment as an African-American.

And I just want to make a point about what he said about Hillary Clinton. I mean, he was incredibly gracious to Hillary Clinton, talking about her strength and her courage and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight. He went on at some length about her and then went right to John McCain.

COOPER: Seventeen thousand people, I'm told, inside this hall. Fifteen thousand people, according to the fire marshal, outside of the hall, listening to the comments of Barack Obama tonight.

Our coverage on AC 360 continues. We have to take a short break. There's also an online discussion on our blog, CNN.com/360. Bill Schneider is live blogging there, as well, joining in on the conversation. You can join that conversation, CNN.com/360. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to 360. Our continuing political coverage. A remarkable evening. We've just heard from Barack Obama. Earlier in the night we heard from Hillary Clinton, John McCain. Three distinct politicians, three distinct speeches. You could get any more different speeches from three American political candidates.

Let's -- we're have more with our panel. First, let's check in with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks, Anderson, very much.

I want to go to Tanzania right now, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson is standing by. I wanted to get his thoughts on this historic day. He's joining us on the phone right now.

Reverend Jackson, history made here in the United States. It was 146 years ago that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and tonight a major party has gone forward and decided that an African- American should be the party nominee. You fried to do that years ago, didn't succeed. But what's going through your mind right now as you watch this historic moment?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: I'm overwhelmed with a sense of joy. This is a high mountain-top moment for America and for world history. If you put it in that context, I just really wish (UNINTELLIGIBLE) some of the martyrs who made this possible. Barack has won a tremendous last leg on really what is essentially a 54-year journey, from the law changing in 1954 which made racial division and race supremacy illegal to 1965 when he has embodied that legacy and tradition and made a major step towards becoming the president.

BLITZER: Is it your sense that the country is now ready for this historic moment? Going forward, it's going to be a tough campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain.

JACKSON: Well, everything about this season (ph) has made the nation ready. I think of the moment when, in Mississippi, when you saw whites voting for -- when you saw whites voting for an African- American, and you saw men voting for a woman (UNINTELLIGIBLE) It's a new and more mature, more mature America. Speaking all along the way, every (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has become a boost for him.

And I saw at the end that he had "He was the right man, with the right message of a generation (ph). And the infrastructure to make it happen. All America has reason to rejoice tonight. It's a great victory. BLITZER: Giving your personal feelings, what you're going through right now. I know you're in Africa right now. But you're -- I'm sure you're watching this about as closely as you possibly can.

JACKSON: Well, I am. And to me, to be in Africa, African- Americans should (ph) focus on the reconciliation between Africa and America, to have an African-American who has two bloods running through his body. He is the epitome of that structure (ph), really puts a new face on America and its possibilities.

If you remove the -- the artificial roof over what's possible, and so that becomes a great (ph). I happen to think about the '84 campaign. And there's a shock value to it. In '88 we were able to change the rules of personality to reduce the threshold, the 15 percent (ph) and democratize the process of possibility.

You seize upon these moments. I remember (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Mondale and Hart (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was possible. I mean, he never stopped allowing that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and to blossom. And all those people made this moment possible. I guess that's what's on my mind the most at this point, is that the -- the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Thurgood Marshall to Rosa Parks to Dr. King to the Little Rock 19, all these battlegrounds from changing law (UNINTELLIGIBLE) democratize America and simplify it.

Americans will benefit from this. There is a great sense of a new America emerging that gives a sense of joy to a lot of people.

BLITZER: People all over the world are watching history being made in the United States right now. Reverend Jackson, thanks for spending a few moments with us. Appreciate it very much. Safe trip back to the United States.

This is the night that Barack Obama went over the top, secured more of the delegates than are needed in order to capture the Democratic presidential nomination. We have now heard from him. We heard from Hillary Clinton earlier. Earlier before that, we heard from Senator John McCain.

Hillary Clinton did not concede. She is considering what her next steps should be. But, if you take a look at the math, he has more than enough delegates to be assured of the Democratic presidential nomination. And he's going forward in this general campaign now against John McCain.

So we heard the opening shots, Anderson, the opening salvos between these two candidates tonight. They're not mincing any words, and I suspect it's going to heat up.

COOPER: They're not, although without a doubt, Barack Obama was very gracious in his comments about Senator McCain, even though Senator McCain did take some shots directly at Barack Obama.

Three very different speeches, Donna Brazile, that we've heard tonight. Obviously, as one person on this panel said, the Hillary Clinton speech does cast something of a pall over Barack Obama's speech, but you wouldn't have known it if you were sitting in that auditorium tonight.

BRAZILE: Well -- well, Senator Obama not only gave a great speech, but he sent a message, I believe, to Senator Clinton's supporters that it's time to come together. It's time to not only bring our party together but to prepare to fight for the fall.

I thought it was a very gracious speech. He touched not only our hearts, but he also, I think, inspired people who may not be ready to come onboard, to listen to him but also to be prepared to help him win this -- not win the nomination but win the presidency this fall.

COOPER: I've got to ask you. You're a super delegate. Are you prepared to endorse now?

BRAZILE: Well, he doesn't need my vote to put him over the top. But he will need my support and the support of many other Democrats, including Senator Clinton.

Look, I'm disappointed that Senator Clinton tonight did not reach out a little bit more to Senator Obama. You heard his speech. You heard the generous spirit, his -- his respect and admiration for his leadership and he talked about -- he already began to turn a corner...

COOPER: Do you believe that's genuine?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. Senator Obama and I talked yesterday, and he didn't call to ask for my support. He called to talk about unity and how he wanted to bring the country together, but more importantly, how he wanted to reach out to Senator Clinton.

And I heard that same message tonight. His speech, it was a little expanded version, but it was a great speech and a moment for Senator Clinton as she began to ponder her next move to listen to that speech.

COOPER: Did he tell you in that phone conversation that you had privately with him about how he plans to do that, how he plans to reach out, how he plans to unify?

BRAZILE: Of course he's told anyone that he plans to sit down with Senator Clinton.

COOPER: I think he hasn't told anyone else, just you.

BRAZILE: Anderson, you're not my boo. Look...

COOPER: I want to be your boo.

BRAZILE: Anderson...

COOPER: I don't even know what it means.

BRAZILE: Are we still on TV? I think I better watch my words.

COOPER: I'm not sure what that means exactly. BRAZILE: This is a very good -- this is a historic moment. Senator Obama didn't use those words, but we all know what he was conveying when he got up tonight, and he spoke to not just the people in Minnesota but he spoke to America. He said thank you.

And I want to say thank you too, because this is a moment that has made everyone proud. Not just of Senator Obama and the Democratic Party. But proud of this country for what we have accomplished together. This is a good moment for our country.

BORGER: It's interesting to me, that -- and we were pretty tough on Hillary Clinton's speech, and you've just talked about that too, Donna. I got some e-mails from some Hillary Clinton people saying, you know, this needed to be her night. You've got to be patient for...

BRAZILE: What? What?

BORGER: I'm telling you.

TOOBIN: What does that mean?

BORGER: I didn't write it. I just got it.

MALVEAUX: OK, but wait a minute.

COOPER: But I got to say this is the kind of e-mail all of us have been getting.

BORGER: Let me just finish. This was from a very wonderful person who's a Clinton supporter. And said, you know, this needed to be her night. You have to give her time. And she's got to get out of it, you know, at her own timetable.

But here's the problem for Obama. That by doing this tonight, she put the spotlight on herself and not on him. And a lot of people, I think, in the Democratic Party, including some super delegates, whom I know we don't care about anymore, though we love you, they're going to be upset because they're going to say, you know, this was a time for her to get the party together. And we're tired of this and that she missed an opportunity.

And in the Obama camp, I'm sure they're not happy about this at all, because she's still on the stage, and he needs to be at the center of everything right now because he's the nominee.

MALVEAUX: A lot of people in the Obama camp has been looking for is some sort of gesture, conciliatory gesture from Hillary Clinton to come just a little bit farther than she has. They were looking for that tonight.

But at the same time, that is what she's floating. That's what she's pitching and there was nothing that they could work with. And people are saying that's what they needed from her to somehow come together. And if they're not going to get that, then there's no point in trying to bring that unity together. TOOBIN: The Obama campaign announced right as the polls closed that 26 more super delegates HAD signed on. The margin is now without dispute. We're not talking about one or two delegates here. He has won the nomination. So, you know, without the deranged narcissism of the Clintons, I don't understand why this isn't...

BORGER: What do you really think?

TOOBIN: What does that mean, it's her night? He just won.

BORGER: Well, the point -- the point he was making to me was, you know, you guys, it's hard to...

COOPER: We get it, it's hard. David?

GERGEN: I must say, I disassociate myself from deranged narcissism. But I do think that this night has been coming for a long time.

This was the only night on national television in front of a large television that he would have a chance to claim the nomination. And she had a long time to prepare for this psychologically. She had a long time to make calls to super delegates and to others to make the preparations.

It does seem to me that the Obama people have a point in believing, "This was supposed to be our night. This was supposed to be a night when we began coming together as a party and shoved off from there." And that he had this...

COOPER: It's interesting. We're hearing from her supporters, saying this is about her. From Barack Obama, we're not hearing, "This is about me." We're hearing, "This is about our party. This is about our country."

BORGER: Well, there's the difference. Right. There's the difference.

MALVEAUX: Also hearing there are people in living rooms. There are people in college campuses who -- and they're older African- Americans who are feeling like they would never think that they could live to see a day like this.

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