World Welcomes Obama's Win

ABC News gathers reaction on Obama's nomination win from its global reporters.

June 4, 2008 — -- The news spread quickly around the world that Sen. Barack Obama had clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, making him the first black nominee of a major U.S. political party.

And news of the historic night made it to the front pages of most of the world's major newspapers, and the top of radio and TV newscasts.

Here is a sampling of the coverage from around the globe and comments from people gathered by ABC News.


Obama's claim to victory is the lead story today in nearly all the U.K. papers. The press has described Obama's announcement as "historical," an "epic struggle" and a "moment in history."

But newspaper editors have urged caution. The Times reports that "It's fair to wonder, as the 2008 U.S. general election finally gets under way, whether this might be just another false start. It might. But for the time being, Barack Obama is changing the world."

The left-leaning Guardian's headline reads "Game over, game on," continuing, "Barack Obama has the nomination wrapped up, but the real fight is just beginning."

Sen. Hillary Clinton also made it into all the newspapers, with The Independent writing, "Hillary has been beaten. Bill has dishonored himself. And Chelsea? Chelsea need have no regrets. She may be the candidate that brings the family back to the campaign trail again. But that drama is for another decade."


All TV morning shows led with news about Obama's win, speculating about what's going to happen to Clinton and whether Obama is going to offer her the vice presidency.

The ARD/ZDF morning show featured Karsten Voigt, the German government's envoy for transatlantic relations, who said, "Most Germans see Sen. Obama as a kind of mixture of JFK and Martin Luther King."

"Germans perceive Barack Obama as being peace-loving and cooperative, and that is what Germans admire in foreign politicians."

The tabloid newspaper Bild Zeitung called it "a historic victory." The front page of the Koelner Stadt Anzeiger read "Obama wins -- endless marathon is over." The Passauer Neue Presse said, "Obama is the winner -- Hillary ready to run for vice president."

Obama did not make it to the front page of Die Welt, but the online version of the newspaper exulted that Obama has achieved the "impossible -- he's the first black candidate to run for the White House. Commentators compare his win with the first landing on the moon."


Most French TV networks and radio stations led with the Obama win.

The conservative morning newspaper Le Figaro devoted half its cover page to Obama. Next to a picture of Obama and his wife, Michelle, the headline reads, "Barack Obama is ready for the battle for the White House. The candidate has already won primaries in its camp. It remains to be seen how Hillary Clinton will concede and negotiate her way out."


Most Italian radio and TV shows this morning led with either Obama or the onging United Nations food summit taking place in Rome.

The Italian papers La Stampa, La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, Il Messaggero are all reporting the Obama victory, with many suggesting that "La Clinton" (as she is often called here) was ready to be his deputy.


News of Obama's win did not make it to the front pages of Russia's newspapers, but it was reported on every radio news bulletin, and there is mention of it in the online newspapers.,, RIa Novosti and Nezavisimaya all reported that Obama had finished first, beating Clinton. Izvestia focused on Obama's future search for a running mate in the November election.


It is impossible to find consensus in a nation with 1.3 billion people and varying access to news on the U.S. presidential primary.

Obama's win occurred after Chinese newspapers had gone to press, but there has been significant coverage of the Democratic primaries in the nation's main newspapers. Most Chinese do not expect major changes in U.S. foreign policy, no matter who wins the general election.

"As Americans, they will defend American interests," said Peng, a college student who spoke to ABC News and declined to give his first name. "Either way, they won't be much help to China."

However, several Chinese people interviewed by ABC News said that they believe Obama's youth and energy will bring a fresh perspective to Washington.

They also believe that as a black man, he may be more sympathetic to the Chinese. "He is an ethnic minority himself," Peng said. "He won't discriminate against the Chinese people."


The Japanese kept a very close watch on the race to choose the Democratic presidential nominee as the showdown between Obama and Clinton approached conclusion.

Most TV stations, including the national broadcaster NHK, carried live reports from Minnesota as Obama spoke in front of his supporters.

It has been an unusual year for the Japanese media, which do not normally follow the U.S. presidential race at such an early stage. Many Japanese know and recognize the Democratic candidates, as they refer to them as "Obama" and "Hillary."

Opinions of each candidate varied on the streets of Tokyo.

"Barack Obama seems young and inexperienced," said Masaharu Ikenaka, a 23-year-old student who studies management. "Hillary can have support from her husband, and she has some experience in the past. She could have done a better job."

A 26-year-old store clerk, Masami Hayata, said Obama is simply "cool."

"He symbolizes a change," said Hayata, who sees Obama as a good public speaker. "He knows how to reach out to people with his communication skills -- something I have not seen in Japanese politicians."

Although she likes the idea of the possibility of seeing the first African-American president, Fuku Nakamura is not sure how such a precedent will play out in history. "I never thought I would see one [an African-American president] in my lifetime," said the 68-year-old homemaker.

"I don't quite know what that would mean for America and for the world, and that makes me worry a bit."


Obamamania was in full force in Kenya last night and today as Kenyans throughout the country celebrated Barack Obama's primary victory. In his father's village of Kogelo, Obama's family said it was proud of the Illinois senator and was looking forward to the general election. "We are still fighting," said Sarah Obama, his grandmother. "We are praying for him and hope that he wins the presidency."

Across Kenya's capital city of Nairobi, people gathered at bars and around TVs at home to watch the results come in all night. Friends sent text messages -- instant updates on the delegate count, such as "4 more to go."

"Everyone says that America is racist, that there's no way a black man can win," said Michael Kenedege, a Nairobi businessman. "And Obama's win is telling the world that America can rise above it."


Barack Obama's claim to victory was welcomed today in Indonesia, where he spent four years of his childhood.

"I think Indonesian people feel very happy and proud of Barack Obama," said Emi, an English teacher at one of the schools Obama attended, between the ages of 6 and 10, in the capital city of Jakarta.

"I hope Barack Obama can help American people to understand Muslim culture," she said, pointing to her headdress. "American people think that Muslim dress is strange."

"I hope Barack Obama … can change the world peacefully," said Bahasa Indonesian language teacher Buwanto.

"I believe he understands more about the people in developing countries. If he becomes president, he will know … our dreams," said Indonesian political analyst Sukardi Rinakit.

Emi hopes Obama can bridge the cultural divide with the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Many Indonesians hold out hope that it may be possible for someone to go from living in Jakarta to living in the White House. "Obama, good luck," said Rinakit. "I need the younger generation to lead America, and this will inspire us in the other countries and inspire us in Indonesia."


In Iran, many were relieved to see Obama take the Democratic nomination.

Clinton had enjoyed some local support among Iranians who were nostalgic for her husband's presidency. President Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, is remembered for moves toward reconciliation and understanding between the U.S. and Iran.

But much of that support for Clinton dissipated after she threatened to "obliterate" the Islamic Republic if it attacked Israel. What remained was a desire for a swift and sharp change from the policies of the Bush administration.

"I'm so happy to see that finally Hillary is out. … I was so angry with Hillary for staying in the race and forcing Obama to spend energy on the primary," said Sina Tabesh, 23, who follows U.S. politics from his home in Tehran.

"Most of my relatives say they're sick of Clinton and the old Washington system. They're very optimistic about Obama," Tabesh told ABC News.


In much of the Arab world, Obama has been the longtime regional favorite, largely for his message of change and international outlook, and his interracial background.

"He looks like pretty much half of the region -- people can identify with him. The speech he gave about race shows a man who is not just using cliches but who has a fresh look at things," said Hafed Al Ghwell, who works with the Dubai School of Government.

Al Ghwell, who holds dual Libyan and U.S. nationality, sees Obama's win as a boost to America's image in the Middle East.

"It's the first sign that the U.S. is turning the corner. … It's a signal to the world that the United States is back," he told ABC News.

Some people in the Gulf regretted seeing America's strongest hope for its first female president fall flat.

"The suggestion … that Hillary Clinton should accept a cabinet-level position under Barack Obama as president is utter balderdash. She would make a great president herself," Rajendra Aneja of Dubai wrote to the editor of The National, an Abu Dhabi newspaper.


Nearly every day in India, the English-language newspapers have led with stories on American politics.

Indians have closely followed the race. Clinton is well-known here because of her husband and her recent visits to the country. But Obama's popularity here has risen as he gained momentum in the nomination process.

Across the top of today's Times of India is a photograph of Obama and Clinton with the headline (due to the time difference): "Obama Closes In On Dem Win, But Will Hillary Be His Running Mate?"

For those Indians following the race, it is an exciting time.

"It's a very historic moment," said Darius Lam, 38. "It's a contest that we're all looking forward to. You know everybody loves an underdog, and he's someone who has really fought his way to the top so it will be very interesting to see what will happen in November against a very established rival."


Down in Brazil, most people you speak to on the street, in a taxi or in a bar will tell you that they want to see Obama take the White House.

From Rio to Brasilia, Brazilians see Obama as a new face who will refresh America's tarnished image abroad.

President Bush's decision to invade Iraq were very much frowned upon in this country, which has only engaged in one international war -- in the late 19th century -- with Paraguay and Argentina.

Newspapers and TV bulletins are not shy about promoting the senator from Illinois.

Brazilians said that Obama represents a change from the old guard of U.S. politics and will seek to engage in positive relations with Latin America.

Brazil's potential has already been tapped by other countries, such as China and Iran, and the consensus is that if the United States is not going to acknowledge its economic growth, then there are other countries that are only too happy to take the opportunity to do business with Brazil.

And of course there is his race.

Brazil has the highest number of people of African descent outside the African continent, and the country is intrigued by Obama's racial background, saying he almost looks like he could be Brazilian.

Margaret Conley, Sonia Gallego, Dana Hughes, Ammu Kannampilly, Christel Kucharz, Alexandra P. Nadezhdina, Noriko Namiki, Phoebe Natanson, Karen Russo, Christophe Schpoliansky, Lara Setrakian, Stephanie Sy, Emily Wither and The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.