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Democrats rally behind Obama as national convention starts
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[Pictures: Activists protest before Dems National Convention]

Democratic current and former officials, lawmakers, prominent figures and voters vowed their support for Barack Obama's bid for the White House as the Democratic National Convention kicked off on Monday in Denver, Colorado.

About 5,000 Democratic officials, delegates from 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as U.S. territories, and foreign guests gathered in Denver to witness the Illinois Senator's moment to accept the presidential nomination on Aug. 28, the last day of the four-day convention.

"During our national convention, we will demonstrate to all Americans why we need Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the White House," Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an opening address.

"American realizes we cannot have four more years of the same, ineffective approach to governing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, noted that the country is standing at a "defining historical moment" and a "crossroad," needing a president who knows that health care is a right, quality education is the key to Americans' future and the U.S. democracy depends on a strong middle class, who will create millions of good-paying jobs right at home and will once and for all end our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and invest in renewable, clean energy.

"Barack Obama's change is the change America needs," she said. "Whether in Illinois or in Washington, Barack Obama has bridged partisanship to bring about significant reform."

Democratic leading members including former President Jimmy Carter and senior Senator Edward Kennedy as well as the other dozen of speakers addressed the convention, hailing Obama's earlier community services and outstanding performance in the president primary, among others.

Several common voters shared with the mass their personal experience and concerns as well as their devotion into Obama's campaign.

The first day also featured Obama's family members, including his wife, Michelle, and younger sister, Maya Soetero-Ng, disclosing the other side of the politician in his personal life.

"And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months (since Obama announced his bid for the White House), the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer," Michelle said as a headline prime-time speaker of the night. "I come here today as a wife who loves her husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president."

The convention will also see the adoption of the 2008 Democratic National Platform containing the party's campaign and administration guidelines.

Obama has won the Democratic presidential primary over former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and became the presumptive presidential nominee in June.

He is gearing up currently for the November showdown with his Republican rival, John McCain. The two are in a neck-and-neck tie in recently national polls with Obama having a very slim lead.

It was the second time for Obama's name to shine the Democratic National Convention. He rose as a political star after he addressed the 2004 convention as the keynote speaker at the invitation of then presidential nominee John Kerry.

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2008)

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