Obama, the Clintons turn Selma marches into campaign event

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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SELMA, Ala. (AP) - In Selma Sunday, Barack Obama reached out to the civil rights generation on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march, saying the protesters helped pave the way for his campaign to become the first black president.

The Democratic senator from Illinois addressed hundreds at a breakfast to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the clash between voting rights demonstrators and police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Says Obama: "I stand on the shoulders of giants."

On his first visit to Selma, Obama comes face-to-face with Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as the candidates seek support from the party's loyal black constituency.

Obama and Clinton, joined by the former president, planned to speak at the same time from pulpits three blocks apart. They also were to appear together at a rally later today before making the ceremonial walk to the bridge to honor the Selma-to-Montgomery marches.

Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, who introduced Obama at the breakfast, says blacks can tell their grandchildren they can be anything if Obama is inaugurated as president on January 20th of 2009.

Bill Clinton is being inducted later today into Selma's Voting Rights Hall of Fame. Hillary Clinton had intended to appear on his behalf.

But as plans were being finalized late Thursday for the dueling Obama-Clinton appearances, the Clinton campaign announced the former president would make the ceremony after all.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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