August 28, Reuters

DENVER (Reuters) - To shouts of "Yes we can," Democrats nominated Barack Obama on Wednesday as their presidential candidate in a historic first for a black American, with strong backing from Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton, who has been slow to warm to Obama after the bruising primary battle that his wife lost, gave Obama an unwavering seal of approval in a speech to a packed convention hall where delegates cheered his appearance for so long that he had to ask them to sit down.

"My fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world," former President Clinton told flag-waving delegates who interrupted him repeatedly with roars of approval.

"Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States," he said.

Clinton also noted that when he first ran for president in 1992, Republicans then, as now, are claiming the Democratic candidate is too young and inexperienced to serve as president.

"Sound familiar? It didn't work in 1992 because we were on the right side of history, and it will not work in 2008 because Barack Obama is on the right side of history," he said.

Earlier, in an emotional moment of unity, Obama's one-time opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, strode onto the floor of the party's national convention during a roll call of the states and formally asked Democratic delegates to suspend their count and approve his nomination by acclamation.

"With eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare together in one voice right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president," she said to roars of approval inside the packed convention hall.

Read more this news quote

photo: Former President Bill Clinton addresses the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, August 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)