Obama holds Martin Luther King as personal hero
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama was two years old and growing up in Hawaii when Martin Luther King Jr, the American civil rights leader, delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Fifty years later, the nation's first black president will stand as the most high-profile example of the racial progress King espoused, delivering remarks on Wednesday at a nationwide commemoration of the 1963 demonstration for jobs, economic justice and racial equality.
Mr Obama believes his success in attaining the nation's highest political office is a testament to the dedication of King and others, and that he would not be the current White House occupant if it were not for their willingness to persevere through repeated imprisonments, bomb threats and blasts from billy clubs and fire hoses.
"When you are talking about Dr King's speech at the March on Washington, you're talking about one of the maybe five greatest speeches in American history," Mr Obama said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
"And the words that he spoke at that particular moment, with so much at stake, and the way in which he captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation I think is unmatched."