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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Obama in Race for Presidency, Takes a Page From Honest Abe

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, citing the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, pledged on Saturday to bridge the partisan divide in Washington, end the war in Iraq and transform American politics as the first black U.S. president.

Starting his 2008 White House campaign outside the building where Lincoln began his fight against slavery with a speech declaring "a house divided against itself cannot stand," Obama said it was time to "turn the page."

"Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation," Obama, 45, told thousands of cheering supporters who braved below-freezing temperatures outside the old State Capitol building.

Obama, a rising party star and the only black U.S. senator, said the United States had overcome many challenges, from gaining its independence to the Civil War to the Great Depression.

"Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today, we are called once more -- and it is time for our generation to answer that call," he said.

Obama's candidacy has intrigued Democrats looking for a fresh face and sparked waves of publicity and grass-roots buzz about the first black presidential candidate seen as having a chance to capture the White House.

He said a fresh perspective could break through Washington's gridlock on issues like energy, health care and the Iraq war.