"Road to the White House"

On January 3, 2008, Barack Obama, a first-term Democratic  senator from Illinois trying to become the nation's first African-American president, clinched a surprising victory in the Iowa caucuses.

"They said this day would never come," Senator Obama told a packed crowd during his victory speech in downtown Des Moines.  "They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do."

Before Iowans’ record turnout on caucus night, polls showed New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in a virtual dead-heat with Obama. After months of exhausting campaign stops in rural towns like Boone and Indianola, the Illinois senator won 37 percent of the vote, with former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina taking second, and Clinton finishing third by less than one percentage point.

The nation’s following contests in New Hampshire and Nevada also proved how fiercely competitive the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination would become.

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