By Bernie Becker and Jonathan Easley - 09/06/12 04:11 AM EDT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Obama officially — and unanimously — captured the Democratic nomination for president, in a vote that started late Wednesday evening and spilled all the way into Thursday morning.
The roll-call vote came directly after the president made a surprise appearance in the Time Warner Cable Arena, after former President Clinton gave Obama a lengthy nomination speech.
Obama now captures the nomination unanimously for a second consecutive Democratic convention — after Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a show of solidarity following a bruising primary battle, released her delegates in Denver in 2008 and asked that Obama be nominated by acclimation.
With the late-night start, the president himself left the arena at around 11:40 p.m., with the roll-call vote still in its early stages. Many delegates also made a beeline for the exits, totally blocking some staircases in the arena.
Ohio — a swing state that has gotten close attention from both Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney — supplied the votes to put the president over the top. Several states passed to give the Buckeye State, which Obama won in 2008, the honor. It took 2,778 votes to formally make Obama the nominee.
In officially nominating Obama, Democrats also continued to make their case that Republicans had veered far to the right, and that the president was the best candidate to protect the middle class.
Speaking for the Arizona delegation, the granddaughter of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater said that even her grandfather — a firebrand conservative and the 1964 GOP nominee for president — would have thought the party had gone too far.
"My grandfather wouldn't recognize the Republican Party of today,” said CC Goldwater.
Other states — Kansas, where Obama’s mother was born, and Hawaii, the president’s birthplace — trumpeted their role in the president’s upbringing.
And the Maine delegates referenced one of the more awkward moments at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., last week, when part of the state’s GOP delegation walked out to protest the stripping of some of Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) delegates.
"Maine is so pleased that you have seated all of our delegates at this convention," one of delegate from that state said. "Unlike our friends in Tampa."
At the beginning of his remarks, Clinton told the crowd, "We are here to nominate a president, and I've got one in mind.
"I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside but burns for America on the inside," the president said, "and, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama."
After Clinton's remarks, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention, came out to start the formal nomination process.
"Only one man can nominate, but we can all second," he said.
The crowd shouted its consent.
— Julian Pecquet contributed.
— This story was updated at 12:28 a.m.