The AP, fresh off its confident claim that Hillary will concede this evening (a claim her campaign denies), has gone a step further this afternoon: It's declared Barack Obama the winner of the Democratic primary. The journalists there say they've added up the delegates they know about, and the total puts Obama over the amount he needs to clinch it. "The AP tally was based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments," reads the report. "It also included a minimum number of delegates Obama was guaranteed even if he lost the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana later in the day." They then go on to write the 1,300-word article they've clearly been waiting to publish for a long time:
Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.
Campaigning on an insistent call for change, Obama outlasted former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic race that sparked record turnout in primary after primary, yet exposed deep racial divisions within the party.
…Obama's triumph was fashioned on prodigious fundraising, meticulous organizing and his theme of change aimed at an electorate opposed to the Iraq war and worried about the economy—all harnessed to his own innate gifts as a campaigner.
Clinton campaigned for months as the candidate of experience, a former first lady and second-term senator ready, she said, to take over on Day One.
But after a year on the trail, Obama won the kickoff Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, and the freshman senator became something of an overnight political phenomenon.
It's kind of exciting, right? Our first black party candidate! The next step in the 2008 election! A gloriously upstart campaign that broke all the rules! Except it's totally not over yet. The AP headline "Obama effectively clinches nomination" (emphasis ours) includes a hedge that is not reflected in the tone of the article. Even Obama himself is unlikely to claim victory until Hillary concedes. We're excited to see who follows suit now that the AP has broken the seal.