Oklahoma reacts to Obama's success

Wednesday, June 4th 2008, 9:19 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

Foregone conclusion or not, history was made Tuesday, as Barack Obama went over the top in the delegate count and became the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee.

Tuesday's primary outcome stirred some local reaction to Obama's achievement and has Oklahomans talking.

Going from total obscurity four years ago, to election to the U.S. Senate and now to contention for the Democratic presidential nomination is impressive enough, but Barack Obama didn't stop there.

"For the first time in history, you have a majority party ticket that's not going to be headed by a white guy; it's as simple as that," Political Analyst Keith Gaddie said.

For political observers, it's been an election year like no other, consolidating an attitude shift that they say has been underway for decades.

"It used to be the Democratic Party was the home of the working class, white guy and what's been happening is, over 35 years, rules change and changes in the pool of people who run for office in the Democratic Party has changed dramatically," Gaddie said.

Oklahoma City businessman Russell Perry knows firsthand the obstacles minorities can face; one reason he's so impressed with Obama's nomination.

"Being a product of total segregation, I'm old enough to have been there," Russell Perry of Perry Publishing & Broadcasting said."We have come a long way in this great country and I am extremely proud of that."

And, analysts say, it is perfectly conceivable that, come November, America could have its first African-American President.

"Absolutely, I think Barack Obama has a chance to win, but he's going to have to overcome some of the things that have happened in a very hotly contested Democrat primary," Bill Shapard of Shapard Research said.

At the same time, analysts say, the primary campaign seems to have shown that, perhaps, one of the things he has already overcome, in history-making fashion, is race.

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