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French newspapers salute Obama after historic nomination
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French newspapers on Thursday joined the rest of the global press by unanimously saluting Barack Obama after he scored a historic first in the nomination of a presidential candidate for the United States Democratic Party ahead of elections expected later in November.

Nevertheless, most of the newspapers were skeptic about the actual chance of Obama to beat secured Republican nominee John McCain without "forging an alliance with Hillary Clinton", wife of former US President Bill Clinton, whom he defeated in the nomination process.

"With Obama's phenomenal victory, a certain idea of America is back: that of a generous society where the equality of opportunity is not an empty word but rather a reality," said Pierre Rousselin in the daily Le Figaro.

"However", Rousselin is quick to point out that "the fierce resistance that was mounted by Hillary Clinton until the very end of the nomination battle could have sidelined many democratic voters."

"Keeping away from her would mean a lack of elegance..., offering her a place in the sun could also be a decoy and instead of acting as unifying force for the party lead to a multiplication of weaknesses," according to the Le Figaro editorialist.

"The gigantesque battle that has pitted Obama against Hillary Clinton has consumed much energy and will leave many traces of bitterness," wrote Guillaume Goubert in the La Croix daily.

"This can potentially lead the Democratic Party to a defeat at the hands of Republican John McCain," said the editorialist of the predominantly Catholic newspaper.

"However, Obama has a lot to do to prove his worth," said Fabrice Rousselot of La Liberation daily, warning that "John McCain will do him no favors on the way to Washington."

"To reconcile the democratic family, Obama and Clinton will have to demonstrate sensitivity in their inevitable dealings. Perhaps, even much boldness," said Andre Schlecht in Alsace. "This will be strategic as it will help to bring together two powerful vote reservoirs, including Americans of African origin and women," according to the daily.

The nomination of Obama is a display of real optimism, according to Michel Vagner of L'Est Republicain, who describes "the event as historical, whatever the outcome of the forthcoming elections."

"It embodies the upheavals of a society that is fighting hard to overcome racial affiliations", said Vagner.

But writing in the L'Independant du Midi, Bernard Revel leaves no hint of doubt on the election prospects for Obama, saying that he is "big enough to defend himself and convince voters. He claims the legacy of both Roosevelt and Kennedy, but hopes to be the image of the future."

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2008)

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