Just days before Barack Obama is set to make history as the nation's first black president, the woman who battled him for the Democratic nomination has been honored by a leading civil rights organization.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state designee, received the "Salute to Greatness" award at a fundraiser Saturday night for the King Center in Atlanta.

The event came just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, marking what would have been the slain civil right's leader's 80th birthday.

Clinton echoed King's theme of service and called on citizens to rally behind Obama.

She praised Obama as "a young man of such enormous promise," and said his election brought King's dream within reach.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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