Obama ’08: The road to victory

A look back at how the race for the White House unfolded throughout 2008.


At the start of 2008 the Republicans were just as uncertain as the Democrats as to who their candidate for the presidency would be. Leading the other Republican nominee hopefuls by a 15-point margin, John McCain seemed the most likely Republican candidate for the 2008 presidential election, though this position was by no means secure. The future was even less clear for Barack Obama, who was behind Hillary Clinton 41 per cent to 44 per cent in January 2008. Their competition over the next couple months kept both of them – and their supporters – on their edge of their seats.


Super Tuesday: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are locked in tight race to secure the Democrat nomination with Obama winning 827 delegates compared to Clinton’s 822.

John McCain pulls ahead of his rivals winning the votes of 625 delegates compared to Romney’s 201 and Huckabee’s 168.

Mitt Romney abandons his campaign because of his poor performance, leaving Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul as the only challengers to John McCain.


John McCain pulls ahead in his bid to secure the Republican nomination for president after winning primaries in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. Mike Huckabee withdraws and pledges his support to McCain.

Hillary Clinton revives her campaign with wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, while Barack Obama wins Vermont.

Barack Obama is forced to distance himself from his former pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jnr after controversial remarks about race in America.


Hillary Clinton wins the Pennsylvania primary but still trails Barack Obama in the overall Democrat race.

Obama leads in the delegate count – 1,694 to 1,556.

Barack Obama raises massive funds of $132 million for his campaign far more than Hillary Clinton’s $68.5 million and McCain just $38 million.


John McCain remains way ahead of his rivals gaining 73.5 per cent of the votes in the North Carolina primary and 77.6 per cent in Indiana.

Clinton just edges the Indiana Primary by 1.4 per cent but Obama remains ahead overall and is helped by the defection of Joe Andrew, the former Democratic national chairman appointed by Bill Clinton.


The final Democratic primaries are held and Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination after defeating Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton endorses Barack Obama and ends her bid for president.

Polls across five of the world’s richest nations indicate Barack Obama to be their favourite candidate for president.


John McCain reveals his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Barack Obama tours nations including the UK and Israel.


Barack Obama selects Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential candidate for the election. Senator Biden a foreign policy expert, having chaired the Senate’s foreign relations committee.

In a surprise choice Alaska governor Sarah Palin is selected by John McCain as his Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Barack Obama accepts the Democratic party presidential nomination for president during a speech in Denver, Colorado, becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party.


McCain accepts the Republican party nomination at his party’s convention in St Paul, Minnesota.

McCain and Obama’s first televised debate ends in stalemate.


Senator Biden edges televised debate with Governor Palin in St Louis Missouri.

Obama and McCain clash in final televised debate.


Obama has momentum going into the election and most pollsters put him ahead of rival John McCain.

Barack Obama is elected 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to do so.