ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Barack Obama is declaring himself the Democratic presidential nominee in a long-time-coming victory speech while reaching out to defeated rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Illinois senator is sending his Republican rival an unmistakable message by delivering the speech in the very hall where John McCain will accept his party's nomination in early September.
In remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday night, Obama said Clinton is "a leader who inspires millions of Americans." He says although they have had their differences during the 17-month campaign, he has seen up close just how hard she works to improve the lives of regular people.
Obama's speech comes on the night of the final Democratic primaries in South Dakota and Montana, and after he secured enough delegates to win the nomination.