**This post will be updated frequently throughout the night, with the most recent updates appearing at the top.**
Update 13 – 10:39 PM: The soaring speech is over. Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC tonight that sources in the Clinton campaign are saying that Hillary wants to meet with BO, perhaps as early as tomorrow.
Update 12 – 10:09 PM: The Democrat nominee and his wife take the stage in MN.
– Says his thank yous.
– Here’s the text of his speech.
Update 11 – 10:00 PM: Polls are closed in Montana. I suspect Obama will be making his speech shortly, perhaps if the networks call MT for him within the next half hour.
As I was writing that, Fox called MT for BO.
Update 10 – 9:32 PM: Hillary prepares to take the stage. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is playing in the background.
– Thanks SD.
– Thanks Senator Obama for “extraordinary race” – our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result.
– Been an honor to contest the primaries with him. Honored to have him as a friend. Cheer him and his supporters for all they have accomplished.
– 16 months ago we began a journey to remake history and America. Millions have registered to vote, young, old. Parents telling their kids “see you can be anything you want to be” when you look at Hillary and Obama.
– Thanks senior women – they were born before women could vote. Wanted to be part of history.
– People in all 50 states, DC, territories all had a chance to make their voices heard. Came out in record numers. Nearly 18 million cast your votes for our campaign. More votes than any primary in campaign history.
– I am so proud we stayed the course together.
– I am committed to uniting our party to help take back the WH in Nov.
– Last seven years have seen a president who ignores some people.
– Talks up healthcare, education, enviornmental policy reform.
– What does Hillary want? I want what I have always fought for: I want to end the war, I want to turn economy around, I want healthcare for all Americans, every child to live up to potential, want 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected and heard, and not invisible.
– Public service is about helping people. (really?)
– Touts universal healthcare.
– I want to restore America’s leadership in the world.
– Crowd is chanting “Denver, Denver!”
– Where will we go from here? I will be making no decisions tonight. I will be speaking with party leaders in the coming days to decide what to do with the best interests of the Dem party at heart.
– Thanks family, supporters willing to share stories on campaign trail.
Update 9 – 9:28 PM: Terry McAuliffe is introducing Hillary Clinton prior to her speech.
Update 8 – 9:21 PM: Fox is reporting that Hillary will not be throwing in the towel tonight, and that she will spend the next two days talking to uncommitted delegates and superdelegates to make her case for the presidency.
Hillary will be speaking at 9:30 in NYC.
Update 7 – 9:07 PM: Fox has called SD for Hillary. Brit Hume makes a good point that on the night Obama wins the nomination he loses one of the states he’s competing in the same night.
More news outlets are now calling the Dem nomination for Obama.
Update 6 – 9:00 PM: Polls are closed in SD. Nets aren’t calling it because it’s too close to call.
Update 5 – 8:35 PM: Jindal is introducing McCain.
– McCain commends Clinton and Obama.
– “Pundits and party elders” have declared Obama the nominee. Heh.
– The choice is about the right change and wrong change, going forward or going backward. Americans always have believed our best days are ahead of us.
– The right kind of change will initiate reforms where we need it most. Economy, school system, diplomacy, military, etc.
– To keep us safe, we must rebuild military, capabilities of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, strengthen alliances, preserve moral credibility. Must prepare far better than we have to calamaties.
– Katrina failure exposed failure of gov’t at all levels.
– Obama favors failed ideas revolving around gov’t control. Surprising for a young man.
– Gov’t bureaucracy is not change we can believe in.
– Obama will paint me as Bush’s third term. Why does Obama believe it’s important to repeat that idea because he knows it’s very difficult to believe something that they know is false. So he tries to repeat it rather than debate honestly the different directions he and McCain will take the country. Americans know McCain, and are just getting to know Obama (McCain snickers).
– I am America’s imperfect servant first and always.
– Bush and I disagreed over Gitmo, climate policy, direction of war in Iraq, I called for the change in strategy that is now succeeding.
– No ambition is more important to me than the security of the country I have defended all my life.
– Obama opposed surge, voted to deny funding to troops. None of the progress in Iraq would have happened if Obama had had his way (does McCain read ST?).
– Americans ought to be concerned about a candidate who wants to meet unconditionally with Iran’s leader, etc – but won’t visit Iraq and meet with generals.
– The course Senator O advocates will take us down a dangerous path.
– Touts energy independence. Senator Obama voted in favor of Bush/Cheney energy bill. I opposed it. (He’s really touting his “maverick” status right now).
– Special interests should not be put ahead of the people’s interest.
– Touts conservative principles vs Obama’s liberal principles (even with your energy policy, Mc?).
– Obama thinks we can build a bigger economy by being a populist, anti-free trade.
– Empty promises of bringing back manufacturing jobs is not change we can believe in.
– Leaders don’t hide from history – they make history.
– DC is consumed by partisanship.
– Americans are sick of the political culture of Washington, DC. One of us has the ability to change that, that other doesn’t.
– He makes a good first impression, but not ready to make a tough call – won’t stand up to his own party, reach across the aisle on tough issue.
– We belong to different parties, but not different countries.
– I am not running for president because I feel like I’ve been anointed to lead it. My country saved me. I’ll reach out my hand to anyone who will help me change, fix what needs to be fixed, give this country a gov’t as capable and good as the people it serves.
– I’ll work with anyone and don’t care about getting the credit, as long as America gets the benefit.
Update 4 – 8:29 PM: Here’s the text of Obama’s speech he’ll give later tonight.
“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.”
Other than that, mostly nothing more than hollow rhetoric, as usual.
Update 3 – 8:18 PM: Check out the front pages of the European media via Drudge. The obsession with Obama’s “history-making” candidacy goes full force.
Oh, and thanks for making the case for McCain, Hillary. A flashback from March 3rd:
Update 2 – 8:07 PM: Fox is saying the polls close in SD at 9 PM ET. I thought most of them closed at 8 ET. My bad.
I’m getting conflicting info on what time McCain will make his speech. Fox is saying 8:30 ET, but the Globe reported 9 PM. Keep it tuned to your favorite news network, which I’m sure will be carrying the speech.
Update 1 – 7:36 PM: At 9 PM, McCain will be giving a speech in just outside of New Orleans that will be considered the “official” launch of his general election campaign. An excerpt:
“You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They’ve seen me put our country before any President — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always.”
He’ll be standing alongside LA Governor Bobby Jindal.
The mediots are declaring the race all but over – and it very well may be . Nevertheless, undeterred voters in South Dakota and Montana are making their voices heard today, and record turnout for both states has been predicted. 15 delegates are up for grabs in SD, and MT has 16. Most polls in SD will close at 8pm ET, the others that are in the Mountain time zone will close at 9pm ET. Montana polls will close at 10pm ET.
The drama over tonight has been building for months, as both candidates have run neck and neck, with Obama having the edge where it mattered the most: the delegate count. The only question has been who would be the last person standing. We now know without a doubt who that person is.
In the days and weeks to come, we will see many retrospectives written about both campaigns, about how the inexperienced junior Senator from Illinois managed to defeat the Clinton political machine, and why Hillary Clinton, whose nomination was once thought to be inevitable, couldn’t close the deal when it counted. Partisan politics aside for the moment, I, like NRO’s Rich Lowry, will give Obama his due.
Tonight will be the night Obama claims victory in the very convention hall McCain will be accepting the Republican nomination in in September. It’s symbolic and meant to send a message, just like Obama’s victory speech will be in August on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. But even though Obama will continue to enjoy fawning media coverage as a result of speeches like that in the months to come, the scrutiny on him and his background will intensify a great deal. The scrutiny that comes from the primary season is intense, but once it comes time to go toe to toe in the general, it magnifies significantly. Obama may be battle worn and tested from a tough primary season, but McCain has been down the general election road many times as a longtime politician, and knows the rules of the game.
Perhaps, though, more eyes will be on Hillary Clinton tonight than Barry O. – will she concede or won’t she? Will she endorse Obama or not? Will she put her party ahead of personal ambition? Is she really open to a VP slot, as was reported earlier today? Her speech tonight will probably be one of the most – if not the most – watched speeches of this campaign season, because a concession from her would finally signify that the general election battle between Obama and McCain can finally and officially get on without further delay. If she doesn’t concede, I think it will only be a matter of days before she does.
Updates will follow.