NEW YORK, June 7 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton, the wife of a former president and herself a former senator and secretary of state, declared herself the first woman to win a major party's presidential nomination Tuesday, the day after multiple news agencies reported she had crossed the finish line in her long primary campaign against Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton won California, the largest prize in the Democratic nomination process where 475 delegates were up for grabs. She also took the majority vote in New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, while Sanders won North Dakota and Montana.
While Clinton sought to write her name into U.S. history books as the first woman with a viable chance to win a presidential election, Sanders barely softened his tone. His campaign has argued Clinton cannot be named the party's presumptive nominee because part of her delegate count includes hundreds of superdelegates who are not required to support her and could change their minds prior to the party convention in Philadelphia next month.
Clinton entered her election night rally at the Brooklyn Navy Yard after a campaign video showing landmark figures and moments in women's rights. She was greeted by a large and adoring crowd waving American flags, set to the tune of the Sara Bareilles song "Brave."
Clinton, standing at the podium for a long moment before speaking, waved to supporters, then threw her arms in the air and her head back, as if to say "finally."
The dramatic claim to victory came eight years to the day after Clinton admitted defeat to then-Sen. Barack Obama, famously lamenting she had not broken America's highest glass ceiling, but had left "18 million cracks in it."
She returned to the metaphor Tuesday, with claim to a vastly different outcome.
"It may be hard to see tonight, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now. But don't worry, we're not smashing this one. Thanks to you, we have reached a milestone: first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee," Clinton said. "Tonight's victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible."
Clinton then used her prime time address to attempt to woo Sanders supporters, offering kind words to her opponent.
"I want to congratulate Sen. Sanders for the extraordinary campaign he has run. He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles and he's excited millions of voters," Clinton said. "Sen. Sanders, his campaign and the vigorous debate we've had ... have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America.
"I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate and come up short. I know that feeling well," Clinton said to laughs from the crowd. "But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let's remember all that unites us."
If Clinton was all roses speaking about Sanders, she saved the thorns for Donald Trump.
Clinton mocked the presumptive Republican nominee, saying Americans wanted a leader who believes "we should lift each other up, not tear each other down."
"We teach our children this is one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all -- not just for people who look a certain way, or worship a certain way or love a certain way. For all, indivisible," Clinton said.
"It's about millions of Americans coming together and saying 'we are better than this, we won't let this happen in America.' We are stronger when we are in this together. It really does take a village to raise a child," Clinton said, reprising her oft-repeated mantra when first lady in the 1990s.
President Barack Obama, who it has been reported is preparing to endorse Clinton, issued a statement early Wednesday congratulating Clinton for "securing the delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination for president."
Obama spoke by phone with both candidates and the White House said he will meet in person with Sanders on Thursday.
Sanders seemed to set up a more conciliatory speech later in the week, and did not mention winning the nomination in his speech in California late Tuesday, but vowed to put up a vigorous fight in the final Democratic primary, the District of Columbia, on June 14.
Sanders also acknowledged the numbers are now piled up against them.
"I know the fight in front of us is a very, very, steep fight," he said. "But we will continue to fight for every vote and for every delegate we can." Then he said he would "Take our fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice to Philadelphia."
The Sanders campaign has said the candidate plans to return to his home in Vermont on Wednesday before heading to Washington, D.C., for a campaign event Thursday leading up to the district's primary.