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Obama, now Democratic Nominee, Faces Tough Challenges ahead
    2008-08-29 19:31:10     Xinhua
by Wang Wei

On Aug. 28, 1963, U.S. civil right activist Martin Luther King Jr. brought Americans into a dreamland with the resounding "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington D.C.

Exactly 45 years later, Barack Obama, an half African-American, stood on the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, on Thursday night as the first-ever black presidential nominee of a major U.S. party.

As Dr. King foresaw before he was assassinated in 1968, the country now has accepted a person of color to be the presidential nominee.

In the past 19 months after Obama started the journey to the White House, the Illinois senator kept appealing to Americans, in rural cottages or in urban stadiums, to back him and join him in making changes to "the country and themselves."

His plan seems like an overhaul of the present U.S. policies: withdrawal from Iraq, affordable healthcare, first-class education, a fair tax code, energy independence and restoration of America's legacy in foreign policies.

It did not take too much time to convince young people inspired by his underdog stories and upbeat speech, African-Americans sharing the same background and hope, and political independent voters encouraged by his bipartisan messages, to stand behind him.

For those who suffered from the subprime market crisis and economic slowdown, and became tired of paying tax and funding the anti-terror wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama's policies carried more charm to them.

His popularity was more convincingly revealed by the record-breaking amount of campaign donations and donors.

Now, Obama is supposed to become more fearless since Joe Biden joined his fight for the White House, along with his record of more than 30 years of seating in the Senate and current chairmanship in the Foreign Relations Committee, which could be used to fill in the blanks about his foreign affairs record.

Even Republican rival John McCain has predicted that Obama's approval ratings would increase by about 10 percentage points during the Democratic National Convention. How to turn more voters' support for Obama's policies into endorsement on his ability and commitment to implementing them in an effective way is expected to become a priority for Obama and Biden in the next two months leading to the big day in November.

There could not be a better time for Republicans to flex their muscles in foreign and national security areas.

The U.S.-Iraq agreement on the future presence of American troops in the country with a withdrawal timetable took shape as violence in Iraq was on the decrease. The Georgia-Russia crisis over South Ossetia supplants Iraq and Afghanistan wars to become newspaper headlines.

Americans' attention was diverted from domestic affairs to the international ones in the key period of presidential campaigning, leaving Obama no choice but to fight in the battleground.

Despite a national convention that was filled with calls for party unity, it remains an unfinished mission to Obama to woo those voters who used to support Hillary Rodham Clinton but now are considering helping McCain.

Recent polls showed that about 27 percent of the some 18 million Clinton supporters said they would not vote for Obama in the November election.

It is expected that Obama would reload his cannons and target McCain on his domestic policies and link them with President George W. Bush's foreign policies.
 
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