2008 US presidential race
Nov 4 (DPA) The 2008 presidential campaign has been one of
the longest in US history, spanning nearly two years, and
the most expensive, totalling about $1.5 billion spent by
20 candidates during the primary and general elections.
President George W. Bush was barred by the constitution from
seeking a third term, and Vice President Dick Cheney was not
interested, making the race the first "open" presidential
election campaign since 1952.
20, 2007 - Senator Hillary Clinton, 59, the former first lady,
announces a widely-favoured bid for the Democratic nomination.
10 - Barack Obama, 45, the young Democratic black senator
from Illinois, declares his candidacy before 18,000 supporters
in the historic state capital of Springfield, Illinois.
- Republican war hero and senator John McCain, 70, declares
his bid, but is seen as an outsider with few chances after
he lost his 2000 bid against current president, George W.
Bush. Later in theyear, there are reports he must lay off
staff due to money problems.
3, 2008 - Primary race opens in western state of Iowa, where
Obama surprises with 37.5 percent Democratic win. For Republicans,
former governor and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee grabs an
unexpected 34 percent.
7 - Emotions get the better of Clinton, who shows unaccustomed
public tears in explaining to voters in a cafe why she wants
to be president. She beats Obama, against projections.
- Former president Bill Clinton stirs racial resentment in
the South Carolina vote, saying civil rights activist Jesse
Jackson had won South Carolina during the 1980s without winning
the nomination. The implication was that black voters supported
Obama because of his skin colour.
5 - Super Tuesday saw party elections in 24 states. The Obama-Clinton
race tightens and raises fears of a divided party.
Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney drops out.
- After another four primaries, McCain emerges the winner
in Republican race. Huckabee drops out.
- YouTube shows clips of Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright,
railing against white people, claiming they infected blacks
with AIDS and saying "God damn America" from the
pulpit. Obama holds a highly praised speech about racism,
in which he says blacks as well as whites are responsible
for the continuing racial divide. In the end, he breaks with
- Obama provokes religious voters by implying the reason white
working men in Pennsylvania supported Clinton was because
they cling to their guns and religion in economic hard times.
- Obama appears ahead, but Clinton wins states like Pennsylvania
and West Virginia, extending uncertainty yet drumming up interest
in the race between two "firsts" - the first black
and female in contention for a major party nomination.
3 - Obama seals the Democratic nomination with wins in South
Dakota and Montana.
24 - Obama travels to the Middle East and Europe, speaking
to 200,000 people in Berlin and promising change for the whole
16 - McCain, Obama meet at a mega church in California to
answer questions from the pastor. Obama sidesteps a question
about when life begins. The Democratic platform supports legalized
23 - Obama, now 47, picks foreign policy heavyweight senator
Joe Biden as his running mate to answer charges that McCain
has stronger national security credentials.
August - Hillary and Bill Clinton give strong support at the
Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado, to Obama, presenting
a unified party front.
- Surprise coup by McCain, now 72, who nominates the little
known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Obama
is ahead, but not by much margin.
- Palin becomes the butt of parodies on comedy shows through
the look-alike comedian Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live, for
example. Liberal America may laugh, but fellow cultural conservatives
form bigger crowds for her on the campaign trail than for
11 - Palin, a strong cultural conservative, gives her first
television interview, and falls short in the eyes of critics
in terms of her knowledge about national security and other
- The finance crisis, with bank collapses looming and government
bailouts, hits the campaigns like a tidal wave, buoying Obama's
support. McCain insists the fundamentals of the economy are
24 - McCain puts his campaign on hold to rush back to Washington
to help "fix" the crisis, but fails to secure support
for the $700-billion rescue plan for Wall Street in the lower
house of Congress.
26 - First Obama-McCain debate. Obama gets good marks, critics
call him the winner.
October - Obama starts pulling ahead in the race.
2 - Palin-Biden debate. The young governor manages to avoid
making big mistakes, which wins her positive reviews.
7 - Second Obama-McCain debate, where McCain is seen as cramped,
bitter and angry while Obama is seen as presidential and calm.
15 - Final Obama-McCain debate. McCain gets good marks for
being aggressive and lively, and introduces "Joe the
Plumber" as the final icon of the election race.
Ohio citizen rose to fame after a recorded campaign trail
encounter with Obama, where he complains Obama's plans to
remove Bush's tax cuts for the very rich might hurt his plans
to own his own business.
of October - Republicans charge Obama is a socialist because
he wants to remove the tax cuts.