Monday, January 15, 2007


Obama a hit as he honors MLK; no presidential announcement

Associated Press Writer
Published January 15, 2007, 10:00 AM CST

CHICAGO -- Sen. Barack Obama was a hit Monday at a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr. even if he didn't deliver what much of the crowd clearly wanted: a declaration that he will run for president.

He emphasized later that he was "not making news today."

Obama received a standing ovation at the annual King scholarship breakfast when the Rev. Jesse Jackson introduced him with an approving reference to the Illinois Democrat's presidential aspirations.

"It's a long, nonstop line between the march in Selma in 1965 and the inauguration in Washington in 2009," said Jackson, the coalition's founder and a one-time presidential candidate himself.

Obama said thinking of the slain civil rights leader's life was humbling, and added: "I've gotten a little attention lately, but the fact of the matter is all I do is stand on the shoulders of others."

He noted that King was six years younger than he is now when he was assassinated in 1968 at age 39.

"Whatever challenges we face are nothing like the challenges our parents and grandparents faced," Obama said. "The torch has been passed to this generation, but we haven't always taken it up. We haven't pushed the boundaries of what is possible. We have much more work to do."

The crowd enthusiastically applauded and cheered his remarks.

Later, in an address at a King remembrance service at St. Mark's Church in suburban Harvey, Obama said: "I'm not making news today. I'm not here to make news. There will be a time for that."

The first-term senator has gained national attention since 2005 when he was sworn into office. He recently has made appearances in key primary states and according to several Democrats, he also has hired policy, research and press staff for a campaign to be run from Chicago.

On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Obama said he'll announce a decision about whether to launch a presidential bid "fairly soon."

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