Barack Obama claimed victory tonight, in a speech declaring himself the Democratic presidential nominee, even as he reached out to his rival Hillary Clinton to wrap up the 17-month long primary battle.
Click play to hear CBN News Sr. Political Correspondent David Brody analyze the outcome of Tuesday night's primaries following this report.
Obama is on course to win the party's nod, despite Clinton taking in South Dakota Tuesday night. Obama won Montana, the last state to vote in the primary season.
"America, this is our moment," the Illinois senator said to a cheering crowd in St. Paul, Minn. He delivered his victory speech from the same hall where John McCain will accept his party's nomination in September. Watch Obama's speech
"Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end," he said. "At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office."
"I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations," he said, in his closing remarks. "But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people."
Conflicting reports show Obama just short of the needed delegates to secure the nomination. The Associated Press reports that the Illinois senator has effectively sealed the party's nod, with 2.029 delegates. However, other media reports show him at least a few delegates short of the 2,026 total needed.
Clinton "No Major Decisions Tonight"
In New York, the former first lady praised Obama for inspiring so many Americans get involved in politics.
"And our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result," she said to a crowd of supporters. Watch Clinton's speeech.
One major question she left unanswered: whether she will bow out of the race or keep pressing on.
"Where do we go from here?" she asked the crowd of cheering supporters. "I will be making no decisions tonight."
"I am committed to uniting our party so we move forward stronger and more ready than ever to take back the White House in November," she said.
Obama Claims Victory
Tonight, Obama secured his place in history by becoming the first African American to represent a major party for president of the United States
In his prepared speech for tonight, Obama called Clinton "a leader who inspires millions of Americans."
Despite their difference, he said he has witnessed just how hard she works to improve the lives of regular people.
"Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton," Obama said.
Sights on the General Election
He also turned his sights on John McCain, switching gears from the primary race to the five-month long general election now ahead.
"Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life," he said.
"We may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first," Obama said.
In another historic irony, the Illinois senator will give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in August, the same day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Source: CBN News, The Associated Press