Barack Obama Makes Surprise Appearance After Joe Biden DNC Speech

Biden lauds first black major party candidate Obama; launches attack on McCain.

ByABC News
August 27, 2008, 2:25 PM

DENVER, Aug. 27, 2008 — -- Barack Obama made a surprise appearance Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, but it was just a warm up for the history making moment that awaits him tonight when he becomes the first black man to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party.

Obama will claim the nomination tonight before a crowd so large the convention will be moved to a 70,000 seat sports stadium, Invesco Field. Adding poignancy to his remarkable moment, he will become the party's leader on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech."

The Democrats' new leader popped out of the wings Wednesday night after a rousing speech by his vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden.

As delegates roared inside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Obama referred to a speech by his wife on Monday: "I think Michelle Obama kicked it off pretty well, don't you think?" he said.

Michelle Obama mouthed, "I love you," from her skybox seat.

"If I'm not mistaken, Hillary Clinton rocked the house down last night!" Obama said, referring to his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, who addressed the convention Tuesday.

Obama even offered praise for Bill Clinton, who had been aggressive toward Obama on the campaign trail, but enthusiastically endorsed of the Democratic nominee before the convention crowd earlier Wednesday.

Obama called Clinton "someone who reminds us what it's like when you've got a president who actually puts people first. Thank you, President Clinton."

A night that could have been all about former President Clinton's speech now also will be remembered for Obama's appearance.

Obama walked out onto the stage after Biden praised his Democratic ticket mate and delivered an aggressive attack on their Republican rival, John McCain.

Watch Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos at the Democratic Convention TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Democrats earlier made Obama's nomination official when party delegates formally picked him as their 2008 presidential candidate, making Obama the first African-American ever nominated by a major party.

Obama was at a Denver hotel with his wife, Michelle, and his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and extended family when he learned that he was officially the nominee.

A woman delegate was seen weeping as Obama's primary rival Sen. Hillary Clinton moved to nominate Obama by acclamation.

Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe said the candidate was moved by the moment.

"Even though we became the presumptive nominee some time ago, it became reality last night. And to see Sen. Clinton be so gracious in moving our nomination by acclamation, and really to see the eruption in the hall and the sheer sense of joy and excitement about the election was really a special moment," Plouffe told "Good Morning America."

Hollywood stars and musicians were in the audience as history was made. Director Steven Speilberg and his wife Kate Capshaw sat in a skybox. Musician Melissa Etheridge performed "God Bless America."

Biden was formally nominated as the party's vice presidential candidate Wednesday, as well. His nomination was seconded by his son, Beau, as more than two dozen additional family members joined them in the convention hall, including Biden's 92-year-old mother, Jean.

An emotional high point came when Beau -- Delaware's attorney general, who is deploying to Iraq in October -- described the days after a car crash killed his mother and sister.

"One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, Dad always at our side," Beau Biden said. "We, not the Senate, were all he cared about. He decided not to take the oath of office. He said, 'Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can't get another father.' However, great men like Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey -- men who had been tested themselves -- convinced him to serve."

Tears rolling down her face, Michelle Obama dabbed her eyes with a tissue throughout Beau and Joe Biden's speeches.

Members of the crowd were on their feet cheering when Biden took the stage and said, "Yes, yes, I accept your nomination!"

He reminded voters of his working class background in Scranton, Pa., and Wilmington, Del.

"Barack Obama and I took very different journeys to this destination, but we share a common story," he said. "Mine began in Scranton, Pa., and then Wilmington, Del., with a dad who fell on hard economic times, but who always told me, 'Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.'"

Biden told how his mother helped him through a stuttering problem as a child.

"My mother's creed is America's creed: No one is better than you. You are everyone's equal, and everyone is equal to you," Biden said.

Then Biden launched into an aggressive assault on McCain, playing the attack role of vice presidential candidates in the past.

"Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late," Biden said. "As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they're talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed."

Biden said millions of Americans are asking questions about their economic security.

"That's the America that George Bush has left us, and that's the future George, excuse me, John McCain ... will give us -- Freudian slip! Freudian slip," he said.

"As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history," he said. "The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out."

Contrasting Obama and McCain on foreign policy, Biden said, "The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver change -- the change everybody knows we need. Barack Obama will deliver that change."

"Now, after six long years, the Bush administration and the Iraqi government are on the verge of setting a date to bring our troops home," Biden said, "John McCain was wrong. Barack Obama was right."

"This is his time, this is our time," Biden added. "God bless America and protect our troops!"