SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 10 -- Illinois Sen. Barack Obama formally launched his candidacy for the White House here this morning, invoking memories of Abraham Lincoln and challenging a new generation of Americans to help bridge political divisions and transform the nation.
Standing on the grounds of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln delivered his famous "house divided" anti-slavery speech in 1858, Obama opened what he described as an audacious campaign for president, one that barely seemed likely only six months ago -- and one that could make him the first African American ever to reach the White House.
Obama's new logo, a blue letter "O" that evokes a rising sun, appeared on buttons and t-shirts. There were traditional campaign trappings as well, from the red-white-and-blue bunting that hung from the windows and groups of volunteers and advisers who spent the preceding day hammering together a set and stage for the speech.
AP (Nedra Pickler):
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama declared himself a candidate Saturday for the White House in 2008, evoking Abraham Lincoln's ability to unite a nation and promising to lead a new generation as the country's first black president.
The first-term senator announced his candidacy from the state capital where he began his elective career just 10 years ago, and in front of the building where in another century, Lincoln served eight years in the Illinois Legislature.
He repeatedly referred to Lincoln and his success in moving a nation. He said it is because of Lincoln that Americans of every race face the challenges of the 21st century together.
"The life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible," Obama said. "He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction. That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He tells us that there is power in hope."