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AZ delegates nominate Obama with 40 of 67 votes; Clinton steps aside

Hillary Clinton addressed the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 27. She gave her support to Barack Obama and later released her delegates to Obama.

Arizona delegates nominated Sen. Barack Obama during the roll-call vote Aug. 27 at the Democratic National Convention. But the contingent from the Copper State still gave a signficant number of votes to Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won the state during the presidential preference election in February.

Former Senate candidate Jim Pederson announced the tally for the "great state of Arizona" at about 2:50 Pacific Time.

"We proudly cast 40 votes for Senator Barack Obama and 27 votes for Senator Hillary Clinton," Pederson said.

Less than an hour later, the roll-call vote was suspended to allow Clinton to nominate Obama by affirmation. And a few minutes before 4 p.m. Pacific Time, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Obama had clinched the nomination and told an electrified crowd inside the Pepsi Center that Obama had accepted it.  

Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech at the Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium Aug. 28.

Obama, the son of a Kenyan man and a woman from Kansas was virtually unknown to most Americans four years ago when he gave a keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He became the first African-American to clinch the nomination for president by a major party.

The outcome was never in doubt. There was a clear signal that the Democrats have coalesced behind Obama's bid for the White House as state after state, even where Hillary Clinton won in the presidential primary, cast a majority of their votes for him. 

It was especially symbolic, for example, that New Hampshire delegates, a state that Clinton had won, had casted all of their votes for Obama. Several other states where Clinton had won followed the same pattern of either casting a majority of its votes for Obama, or casting all of its votes for him.

Joe Biden also accepted his party's nomination as Obama's running mate.

Appearing on the stage shortly after Biden spoke, Obama vowed to "take America back."

He said he dropped by because he wanted everyone to understand why he is proud to have Biden as his running mate. He commended Hillary Clinton for "(rocking) the house" the previous night and said Bill Clinton "reminded us of what it is like when you got a president who actually puts people first."

"I think the convention has gone pretty well so far. What do you think?" Obama asked the crowd of about 10,000.

Earlier in the day, Clinton had released her delegates, allowing them to vote for Obama. Arizonans were confident that Obama would win the state.

Clinton's emphatic speech the night before (Aug. 26) left her supporters no doubt she wants them to unite behind Obama, declaring her unequivocal support for the senator from Illinois and calming fears among Obama supporters that the week would be contentious.

"I think it was what a lot of people needed to hear," said Katie Hobbs, an Arizona Clinton delegate.

The assessment was shared by other Clinton delgates who spoke to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Judy Kennedy, an alternate delegate for Clinton, said Clinton has moved on.

"I think she did a great job saying exactly what she needed to say at exactly the right time to exactly the right people," said Arizona state Rep. Steve Farley, a longtime Obama supporters.

Farley said he was a little worried going into the convention after hearing reports that some Clinton delegates had said they would rather vote for McCain than Clinton. He said he met a group of protesters on Aug. 25 who said they don't intend to vote for Obama.

"But after last night, my fears were calmed. I think we are going to come out of this so united," he said.

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