This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
In the United States, the sixteen-month battle between the Democratic presidential candidates has come to a close.
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois made history Tuesday when he claimed enough delegates for the party’s nomination. The son of a Kenyan father and white American mother will be the nation's first black presidential nominee of a major party.
The nomination will not be made official until the delegates vote at the Democratic National Convention in August. The Republican convention is in September. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the expected Republican nominee.
Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York met privately in Washington Thursday night. Later, her campaign said she would end her candidacy on Saturday and urge her supporters to unite behind Senator Obama. She would have been the first woman nominated for president by a major party.
The two candidates competed in fifty-four primaries and caucuses across the United States and territories. In the last two primaries on Tuesday, he won Montana and she won South Dakota.
Some of her supporters are pushing for Senator Obama to choose her for vice president. A Clinton spokesman said the former first lady is not seeking the vice presidency and that the choice is Senator Obama's alone.
Barack Obama has said that competing against Hillary Clinton made him a better candidate. But he says he will not talk about the process of choosing a vice president until he has chosen one.
Senator Obama entered national politics less than four years ago.
Until now, major-party nominees for the White House have always been white. Blacks were kept as slaves in the South until the eighteen sixties. And racial discrimination remained legal in many American states until the nineteen sixties.
Nominees have always also been male, except for Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro in nineteen eighty-four. American women could not even all vote before nineteen twenty.
Hillary Clinton began her race as the strong favorite among the Democratic candidates. Unless she becomes vice president, she will likely continue her work in the Senate. She could seek the presidency again in four years if Barack Obama loses the November election.
Senator Obama is forty-six years old. Senator McCain is seventy-one. Early in the primary season, which began in January, the Arizona senator was almost out of campaign money and supporters. But he fought back.
He says Barack Obama is too liberal and too inexperienced to lead the country. Senator Obama says John McCain is too conservative and too much like President George Bush.
When campaigning began last year, the top issue was the Iraq war. Now the candidates also have to deal with a weakened economy and record-high oil prices.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I’m Steve Ember.