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Obama Accepts Historic Democratic Presidential Nomination

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has formally accepted his party's nomination in a speech before at least 80,000 people at an open-air sports stadium in the western U.S. city of Denver, Colorado. The address wrapped up the Democrats' political convention. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Denver.

The huge crowd in Denver's football stadium exploded in applause as Barack Obama made history, becoming the first African-American to accept a major party's nomination for president.

"With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States," he said.

The acceptance speech came in a dramatic setting on a crisp, clear night at the foot of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

It gave the 47-year-old Hawaiian-born son of a Kenyan father and an American mother the opportunity to deliver his message of change to millions watching on television.

Obama says America is at a defining moment, with the nation at war and the economy in turmoil.

"These challenges are not all the government's making," he said. " But the failure to respond is a direct result of broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush."

Obama then took on his general election opponent, John McCain, saying the country can not afford four more years of Republican control of the White House.

"John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time," he said. "Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time?"

Aiming to gain support among middle-class voters, Obama promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families and cut the country's reliance on oil from overseas.

"And for the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president," he said. "In 10 years we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East."

Obama told the convention delegates as commander-in-chief he will never hesitate to defend the nation, but would only send American troops into harms way with a clear mission.

"I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan," he said. "I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression."

Obama pledged to build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century including terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

"And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace and who yearn for a better future," he said.

Obama's speech caps the Democratic Party's four-day convention and came on the 45th anniversary of one of the most critical events of the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The event and this historic convention ended with colorful fireworks and red, white and blue confetti falling on Obama, his family and the huge crowd of supporters.

Republicans hold their convention next week in the Midwestern cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota where McCain will become the party's presidential nominee.

The candidates and the country will then turn their attention to the general election campaign and the November 4 vote for the next president of the United States.