By DAVID ESPO and MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writers
23 minutes ago
DES MOINES, Iowa – Sen. Barack Obama swept to victory in the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, pushing Hillary Rodham Clinton to third place and taking a major stride in a historic bid to become the nation’s first black president. Mike Huckabee rode a wave of support from evangelical Christians to win the opening round among Republicans in the 2008 campaign for the White House.
Obama, 46 and a first-term senator from Illinois, told a raucous victory rally his triumph showed that in “big cities and small towns, you came together to say, ‘We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come.'”
Nearly complete returns showed the first-term lawmaker gaining 37 percent support from Iowa Democrats. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina appeared headed for second place, relegating Clinton, the former first lady, to a close third.
Huckabee celebrated his own victory over Mitt Romney and a crowded Republican field. “A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government,” the former Arkansas governor told cheering supporters. “It starts here, but it doesn’t end here. It goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
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