POLITICS
06/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Wins Democratic Nomination: Round-Up Of Reactions

A round-up of the reaction to Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary:

Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic:

Yes We Did... As we absorb the news that an African-American is now the presumptive nominee for the presidency of the United States, a few words. No one should allow the tortuous end of this primary journey to obscure the passion and insurrection that made it possible. That passion came from a simple place, the way it often does in politics. It came from the gut instinct that we have lost our way, that the United States needs to start again after the debt, depravity, and destruction of the Bush years. It came from hope that the future need not be as bleak as it seemed not too long ago. It came from a sense that the deepest divisions were not as deep as the political class needed them to be and wanted them to be. And it came from the astonishing nostrum that a liberal, black first-term senator could overturn the biggest machine, the biggest name and the biggest dynasty in Democratic party politics.

Ezra Klein:

Obama's speech tonight was powerful, but then, most all of his speeches are. This address stood out less than I expected. It took me an hour to realize how extraordinary that was. I had just watched an African-American capture the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America, and it felt...normal. Almost predictable. 50 years ago, African Americans often couldn't vote, and dozens died in the fight to ensure them the franchise. African-Americans couldn't use the same water fountains or rest rooms as white Americans. Black children often couldn't attend the same schools as white children. Employers could discriminate based on race. 50 years ago, African Americans occupied, in effect, a second, and lesser, country. Today, an African-American man may well become the president of the whole country, and it feels almost normal.

It was, to be sure, not entirely unpredicted. On March 31st, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. preached his final Sunday sermon. "We shall overcome," he said, "because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Four days later, he was murdered. But 40 years later, his dream is more alive than he could have ever imagined. Not only might a black man be president, but at times, many forget to even be surprised by it.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.:

Senator Obama personifies a uniquely American story -- born to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya. He affirms the motto included in the Great Seal of the United States: E Pluribus Unum -- Out of Many, One. He also reflects the American Dream -- 'a skinny kid with a funny name' who came to Chicago's South Side with 'no money and no connections' can run to become the President of the United States of America. ...

Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President on August 28th -- the 45th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' Speech. In many ways, Senator Obama's nomination as president is a fulfillment of a dream -- a dream long deferred -- envisioning a country where people would 'not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.'

Chuck Todd, NBC News:

This is the greatest political upset maybe in the history of American politics.

Atrios:

It was at the first Yearly Kos in Las Vegas that a prominent Dem staffer told me, "Obama's running." I don't think I quite believed it at the time, though I understood it would be game changing to some degree if true. I think that due to the extended primary season we've lost sight to some extent just how game changing this is.

Being at an Obama party with a substantial African-American presence, it really sunk in how much this is a "holy shit" moment. Whatever happens next, it is an historic moment.

Christine Pelosi:

It's a new day in America.

Barack Obama has captured the imagination of the American people and majority of the popular delegates from caucuses and primaries from sea to shining sea. Barack Obama has the vision, ideas and values needed to bring positive change to our lives, from economic justice to energy independence to an end to the Iraq war and care for our veterans.

Rich Lowry, National Review:

Even if we're going to hear it over and over, it's true--this is a historic moment. That an African-American has a better than even chance to be the next president of the United States is an amazing thing--and heartening about this country's capacity for progress. Also, on a more mundane level, Obama out-campaigned, out-fundraised, out-strategized, out-classed, and--yes--out-spun the Clintons. What a campaign. He and his team should be very proud.