Obama thrashes Clinton

Roland Lloyd Parry

Roland Lloyd Parry

VIRGINIA - White House hopeful Barack Obama revelled in a trio of staggering wins over Hillary Clinton as he raised the roof at a Democratic dinner on Saturday with an electrifying speech.

"We won north, we won south and we won in between," Obama told a roaring crowd, referring to his victories over Clinton in Washington state, Louisiana and Nebraska.

"The Democratic Party must stand for change, not change as a slogan, change we can believe in. That is what this campaign is all about," he told about 6000 people.

To deafening cheers, Obama, 46, hammered home to party activists that he was the candidate of change, as he laid claim to the Democratic Party's nomination and down the track of the presidency.

"The Republicans in Washington are already running on the politics of yesterday, which is why your party must be the party of tomorrow, and that is the party I intend to lead as president of the United States of America," he said.

Moving beyond the bitter tussle with Clinton for the Democratic Party's nomination for the November elections, Obama projected himself as the most electable candidate.

And he pledged that "arm in arm ... we are going to remake this country block by block, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, county by county, state by state".

"Virginia, this is our moment, this is our time," he said.

Tomorrow's contests have been dubbed the Potomac Primary, as voters in neighbouring Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, which all lie along the Potomac River, cast ballots.

The three account for some 200 delegates to the Democratic convention in August, which will crown the party's nominee for the November elections.

Obama, bidding to be the first black president, is expected to do well in tomorrow's vote due to the large African-American population in the region. In Virginia, he was also endorsed by Governor Tim Kaine.

Clinton, 60, was earlier warmly received by dinner guests as she cast herself as the only candidate who could win an election against Republican front-runner John McCain.

Clinton, on a quest to be the country's first woman president, stressed the importance of getting the Republicans out of the White House and insisted that both she and Obama were out to "make history".

Clinton and Obama steered clear of directly attacking each other, vowing the party would emerge united from the bruising primary battle. - Sapa-AFP