N.C. Win Moves Obama Closer To Nomination

This story was written by Saja Hindi,

"I love you, Barack!" someone in the crowd of 4,500 yelled.

"I love you back. I truly do," Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama answered from his podium in Reynolds Coliseum.

Obama spoke to a Reynolds Coliseum audience of which about 1,500 were members of the press Tuesday night, the day of North Carolina's primary -- one that people did not expect to matter at first, but as the race continued, began to count more heavily.

Sen. Obama and Hillary Clinton visited North Carolina several times in the past few months, along with their family members and members of their campaigns, to gain the support of North Carolina voters.

"There were those of you who said North Carolina would be a game changer, but today, North Carolina decided the only game that needs changing is the one in Washington, D.C.," Obama said.

Although Indiana's primary was not yet over and was still too early to call, according to some news stations, Obama congratulated Clinton on her win.

"Tonight, we stand less than 200 delegates away from scoring the nomination for president of the United States," he said.

Obama stressed the importance of staying united as a party no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.

"Ultimately ... this election is about you, the American people, and whether we will have a president and party to lead to a brighter future," he said.

Melissa Williams, a senior at North Carolina State University in biology, nutrition and middle grade science education, said she really hoped Obama would win North Carolina.

"I feel that he offers something different than the other candidates," Williams said.

And according to her, the crowd was a lot smaller than she expected.

"It was awesome ... I got to shake his hand," she said.

Taylor Massey, a junior in textiles engineering said he came to see Obama because he likes him and believes in his message.

"[We need] overall change in Washington," he said. "I don't really like all the people there now. They're not really doing enough to help us out -- the real people. Obama will make the right change in the right places. He has the right ideas."

But Massey said the crowd was larger than he anticipated considering students had already gone home for exams.

Obama talked about ending the war in Iraq in his speech, saying he trusted that the American people would not see it as surrender rather a chance to better security, and also said he hoped the American people would see the wisdom in talking with not only America's friends but its enemies.

"Opportunity is yours if you're willing to reach for it and work for it," he said.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Ed Funkhouser, one of the faculty member attendees at the event, brought his daughter with him to the party because they are both Obama supporters.

"We hope he can do well and win the nomination and the election," he said.

Funkhouser said people from the Obama campaign asked him to sit on the bleachers behind the stage where Obama stood and he gladly accepted.

According to Funkhouser, Obama's explanation of the reasons he was runnng for president were important and well-received by the crowd.

He also said Obama's plans for the economy were essential because he is talking about the "economy in a nation, which should be the strength of our nation."