barack_obama_8.jpgSen. Barack Obama on Tuesday became the first black candidate to lead a major party into a campaign for the White House as he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination.

His former rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, indicated an interest in joining the ticket as his vice presidential running mate.

Obama scheduled a victory celebration in St. Paul, Minn., the site of this summer's Republican National Convention. The move was seen as a signal of strength to Sen. John McCain, who will be Obama’s opponent in the race to become the nation's 44th president, according to The Associated Press.

Obama outlasted Clinton in a historic campaign that prompted record turnouts in primary after primary, but also exposed deep racial and gender divisions within the party.

In a campaign of surprises, Clinton's comments about joining the ticket rated high.

Obama sealed his victory based on primary elections, state Democratic caucuses and delegates' public declarations as well as support from 22 delegates and "superdelegates" who publicly and privately confirmed their intentions to The Associated Press. It took 2,118 delegates to clinch the nomination.

CNN projected Tuesday night that Obama had at least 2,119 delegates. The Associated Press counted 2,129 delegates in favor of Obama.

Obama's triumph was built on prodigious fundraising, meticulous organizing and his theme of change aimed at an electorate opposed to the Iraq war and worried about the economy — all harnessed to his own innate gifts as a campaigner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.