Editorials across the U.S. on the morning after largely hailed Barack Obama's win over Hillary Clinton. The San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and many others hailed the historic victory of an African-American, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had some fun comparing Clinton to Peter Pan urging followers to clap their hands and wish and wish for a miracle.
USA Today declared: "Never before has an African-American been a major-party candidate for the highest office in the land. As he declared himself the nominee, Obama left this landmark accomplishment unspoken. But history will record this moment as both a monumental political upset and a dramatic statement from a party that was just shaking off its segregationist wing when Obama was born some 46 years ago."
The New York Times and The Washington Post have not yet weighed in, though columnists for both took a crack at it. Maureen Dowd, in the Times, for example, wrote of Obama and Clinton: "He thought a little thing like winning would stop her?"
The San Francisco Chronicle observed: "The long wait is over. For the first time in its history, a nation that began by discounting the votes of African Americans will have a black man as a major party nominee. Barack Obama, the 46-year-old first-term senator from Illinois who effectively clinched the Democratic nomination Tuesday, could not have escaped the issue of race if he had tried. Today, 143 years after a civil war left more than 600,000 Americans dead and 44 years after the civil rights movement was embedded into law, racial divisions continue to manifest themselves in myriad ways."
The Philadelphia Daily News: "at this moment, the most important person in the Democratic Party is . . . Sen. Hillary Clinton. In the interest of all the people who want to see a woman president in their lifetime, we sincerely hope the female runner-up will rise to the occasion. The way she chooses to exit the presidential race - if she chooses to lead rather than pout - will make a big difference in the general election against Republican John McCain."
The New York Daily News: "Here it is, then, an American milestone, the ascendancy of a man of color to become the presumed presidential nominee of the world's oldest political party, the Democrats," the Daily News wrote. "And a young man of color at that, a phenomenal standout from a new generation of elected leadership, far less tried than many of his elders but far more gifted politically."
At the New York Post (whose owner Rupert Murdoch surprisingly supported Clinton early on): "...while Clinton may harbor regrets, she has no cause for shame. She ran a tough campaign, addressing the issues about which she cares most passionately," the Post stated. "She won dozens of key primaries and proved her ability as a vote-getter across the length and breadth of America." The Wall Street Journal charged that Obama still had not been vetted enough.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch hit Hillary hard: "Echoing Mary Martin in the long-ago TV version of 'Peter Pan,' who urged children to clap if they wanted Tinker Bell to live, Mrs. Clinton urged her supporters to visit her website to tell her what they wanted to do. It was typical of her cynical end game, reminding us of what bothered us about her candidacy from the beginning: the coyness, the parsing of political language, the sense of entitlement, the never-ending "triangulation" between tough issues.
"It wasn't that she refused to concede the field to Mr. Obama after the delegate math became obvious; she had that right. Rather, it was her desperate willingness to pander, to abandon principle in pursuit of political gain.
"And then there was Bill. Always, there was Bill."
The Sacramento Bee: "The first stage is over, although Clinton declined to concede on Tuesday and congratulate the winner. Obama was gracious and made it clear that he believes "when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory."
In an editorial, the Times of London said Obama's campaign "has rekindled America's faith in its prodigious powers of reinvention -- and the world's admiration for America."
Meanwhile, writing here but for a newspaper abroad, Michael Tomasky, U.S. editor of The Guardian in Great Britain, said John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, "wasn't getting an avalanche of press as Obama and Clinton duked it out, but the press he was getting was entirely positive, based on the story he was telling about himself....
"Obama has to change that," Tomasky wrote. "He needs to put McCain on the defensive over his support for the Iraq war and for wanting to keep alive George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. The real charge here is 'flip-flopper,' since McCain originally voted against those cuts."
Roger Simon at Politico writes: "Barack Obama would like to remind you of something: He won and she didn't. It's about him now and not her. He has made history, and she is history."
Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher. His new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq.
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