*Surrounded by an enormous, adoring crowd, Barack Obama promised a clean break from the "broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush" Thursday night as he embarked on the final lap of his audacious bid to become the nation's first black president.
"America, now is not the time for small plans," the 47-year-old Illinois senator told an estimated 84,000 people packed into Invesco Field, a huge football stadium at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
He vowed to cut taxes for nearly all working-class families, end the war in Iraq and break America's dependence on Mideast oil within a decade. By contrast, he said, "John McCain has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time," a scathing indictment of his Republican rival — on health care, education, the economy and more.
Polls indicate a close race between Obama and McCain, the Arizona senator who stands between him and a place in history. On a night 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a Dream Speech," Obama made no overt mention of his own race.
"I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree" of a presidential candidate was as close as he came to the long-smoldering issue that may well determine the outcome of the election.
Fireworks lit the night sky as Obama accepted the cheers of his supporters. His wife, Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha joined him, and the country music sounds of "Only in America" filled the stadium.
Campaigning as an advocate of a new kind of politics, he suggested at least some common ground was possible on abortion, gun control, immigration and gay marriage.
Obama delivered his 44-minute nominating acceptance speech in an unrivaled convention setting, before a crowd of unrivaled size — the filled stadium, the camera flashes in the night, the made-for-television backdrop that suggested the White House, and the thousands of convention delegates seated around the podium in an enormous semicircle.
Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden. of Delaware, leave their convention city on Friday for Pennsylvania, first stop on an eight-week sprint to Election Day.
McCain countered with a bold move of his own, hoping to steal some of the political spotlight by spreading word that he had settled on a vice presidential running mate. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty canceled all scheduled appearances for the next two days, stoking speculation that he was the one.
The McCain campaign also produced a TV ad that congratulates Obama for his nomination:
"Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight, senator, job well done."