Obama’s election ‘extraordinary step forward’ for US: Rice

November 6th, 2008 - 3:33 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 6 (DPA) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised president-elect Barack Obama for his victory and said Wednesday the US has taken an “extraordinary step” by electing the first African American to the White House.”One of the great things about representing this country is that it continues to surprise. It continues to renew itself. It continues to beat all odds and expectations,” Rice said in a brief appearance before reporters.

Rice said Tuesday night’s election was “extraordinary” and called Obama “inspirational”, while also praising his defeated Republican opponent, John McCain, as “gracious” and a “great patriot”.

Rice became the first African American woman to serve as secretary of state. Her predecessor, Colin Powell, was the first black to hold the job. Both were appointed under the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.

“As an African American, I’m especially proud, because this is a country that’s been through a long journey, in terms of overcoming wounds and making race not the factor in our lives,” Rice said.

“That work is not done, but yesterday was obviously an extraordinary step forward.”

Rice was to depart Wednesday to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt on a five-day trip designed to keep focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as the Bush presidency winds to a close.

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