World Reacts to Obama's Democratic Race Win

We call reporters in Germany, Russia and Lebanon to get the international reaction to Barack Obama's presumptive nomination. Many Germans are very happy with the Democratic primary outcome. Russians and Lebanese are more skeptical and taking a "wait and see approach."

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And what about internationally? For a look now at how the media around the world are covering Barack Obama's presumptive nomination, we called reporters in Germany, Russia and Lebanon.

CHADWICK: And we began with Daryl Lindsey, he's the editor of Der Spiegel online. He spoke with us from Berlin.

Mr. DARYL LINDSEY (Editor, Der Spiegel Online): There was a sense of elation in Germany. Karsten Voigt, who works in the German Foreign Ministry and is the head of German-American relations, has called Germany Obamaland. He's also compared Obama directly to Kennedy and also to Martin Luther King. And I think that that thinking sums up what many people feel. It's sort of the sentiment across Germany.

He represents a shift to a new generation. One problem Obama's going to have here, though, he really has no relationship with Europe yet. You know, he hasn't traveled here yet as a candidate. Less than half of the populations of all Western European countries and only 30 percent of Germans have a positive view of the United States. So that's what Obama is going to be starting with if he's elected president.

CHADWICK: Daryl Lindsey in Berlin. Germany had the most positive response.

BRAND: NPR's Gregory Feifer in Moscow says it's hard to tell what Russians think of the news.

GREGORY FEIFER: The official reaction has been quite muted. Russians were largely on the fence in terms of whether they prefer Obama or Hillary Clinton. This is quite a misogynistic society. It's also a very racist society. So I am sure there'll be people, plenty of people, arguing against both candidates. They know little about the issues confronting the States, and I have to respond to the images of the two candidates and I think that Obama just has the larger personality. He's a more natural-seeming speaker. I think Russians like that, they like what they saw. Russians generally tend to prefer Republicans than Democrats. Democrats are seen as standing up more for human rights, and Russia is very sensitive about getting criticism for its human rights record.

So I think Russians will see Obama's victory and his campaign with some trepidation. I think that even though Moscow is - has been one of the biggest critics in the world of the foreign policy of the Bush administration, Russians generally would prefer to see a Republican in the White House.

BRAND: NPR's Gregory Feifer in Moscow.

CHADWICK: And now to the Middle East. Rami Khouri, he's editor at large of Lebanon's Daily Star Newspaper, and the feeling there?

Mr. RAMI KHOURI (Editor, Daily Star Newspaper, Lebanon): Skeptical and slightly indifferent among the man in the street. And this is based on decades and decades of experience of seeing different American presidents come and go, and American policy staying more or less the same. Vis-a-vis things like the Arab-Israeli conflict or other major issues in the region. I think there's asense that anything is going to be better than Bush, so people do say that there are some nuances that differentiate Obama, say from McCain or from Clinton or others, that - for instance, his attitude to Iran is significantly different in that he would start a diplomatic process with Iran. But on the whole, not major expectations.

CHADWICK: Rami Khouri, editor at large of Lebanon's Daily Star Newspaper.

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Obama Claims Nomination, Making History

Analysis

NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving says Hillary Clinton's supporters are now likely to look for scapegoats to explain her loss. Who Did This to Hillary? he asks in his column, "Watching Washington."

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton at Baruch College in New York. i i

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the crowd at her primary night event at Baruch College in New York, June 3, 2008. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton at Baruch College in New York.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the crowd at her primary night event at Baruch College in New York, June 3, 2008.

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama secures enough delegates to win the Democratic Party's nomination. i i

Obama stands on stage with his wife, Michelle, at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. He made history by capturing the Democratic presidential nomination as the first black candidate. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama secures enough delegates to win the Democratic Party's nomination.

Obama stands on stage with his wife, Michelle, at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. He made history by capturing the Democratic presidential nomination as the first black candidate.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband. i i

Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during her speech at Baruch College. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband.

Hillary Clinton gets a hug from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during her speech at Baruch College.

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters. i i

Obama greets supporters at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters.

Obama greets supporters at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Barack Obama stood before a cheering crowd in a Minnesota convention hall Tuesday night, declaring himself the Democratic presidential nominee. His speech marked the end to what has been, at times, a bruising five-month-long campaign that history will remember as resulting in the first African-American to win a major party's nomination.

Obama called it "a defining moment for our nation."

A few hours earlier, his main rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, refused to acknowledge Obama's clinching of the nomination during a speech to a boisterous crowd at Baruch College in New York City. Clinton said she was not ready to make any decisions about her campaign's future. At the same time, the New York senator said she was "committed to unifying our party."

Obama secured more than the 2,118 delegates needed to win the Democratic Party's nomination after two final primaries on Tuesday — in South Dakota and Montana — which resulted in a split decision. Clinton won South Dakota, where she and former President Bill Clinton had made several campaign appearances in the past week, while Obama captured Montana.

Obama, appearing on the same stage in St. Paul, Minn., where Arizona Sen. John McCain will accept the Republican Party's nomination in September, wasted no time pivoting to the general election that lies ahead. Sounding a theme that has already become familiar and will likely become more so in the weeks and months ahead, Obama said McCain "decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time" in the Senate last year.

Eyes on General Election Battle

Obama charged that McCain "offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college."

And turning to Iraq, Obama said, "It's not change when [McCain] promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians — a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer."

The Obama campaign estimated some 17,000 supporters were inside the convention arena. They heard Obama give the kind of rousing speech that has become his trademark in the campaign.

"America, this is our moment," the 46-year-old Illinois senator and one-time community organizer said. "This is our time — our time to turn the page on the policies of the past."

McCain took advantage of the focus on the Democratic primaries to deliver a speech in New Orleans in which he criticized Obama for voting "to deny funds to the soldiers who have done a brilliant and brave job" in Iraq.

The 71-year-old Republican said Americans should be concerned about the judgment of a presidential candidate who has not traveled to Iraq, yet "says he's ready to talk, in person and without conditions, with tyrants from Havana to Pyongyang."

Standing before a green banner that said "a leader we can believe in," a play on Obama's campaign slogan "change we can believe in," McCain said, "The choice is between the right change and the wrong change, between going forward and going backward."

The Clinton Question

The biggest remaining question at the end of the lengthy primary season: What are Clinton's plans for going forward? During her speech Tuesday night, Clinton indicated she continues to believe that she would be the stronger candidate in the general election against McCain. But a parade of previously uncommitted superdelegates marched into the Obama camp Tuesday, closing off that option.

Obama lavished praise on his erstwhile rival during his speech in St. Paul, asserting that the Democratic Party and the nation "are better off because of her," and that he is "a better candidate for having had the honor to compete" with Clinton. One course of action would be an Obama-Clinton ticket, a possibility Clinton encouraged in a conference call with the New York congressional delegation on Tuesday, saying she was "open to it."

But the Obama campaign is thought to be cool to the notion of Clinton as a running mate, leaving unanswered the question the candidate herself posed Tuesday night: "What does Hillary want?"

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