LOS ANGELES Fresh from their feud on the campaign trail, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama beat Bill Clinton in a contest almost as closely watched as the primaries being waged across the United States -- the music industry's Grammy Awards.
Obama on Sunday won the spoken word Grammy for the audiobook version of his blockbuster tome "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." It marked his second statuette, following a win in 2006 for "Dreams From My Father," an audiobook for a memoir first published in 1995.
The Illinois senator, who is engaged in a neck-and-neck race with Clinton's wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, for the Democratic presidential nomination, was not present at the awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. He was scheduled to attend a rally in Virginia later in the day.
Bill Clinton was seeking his third Grammy with "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World," a call to public service. Another former Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, also was in the running, with "Sunday Morning in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World," a collection of Bible lessons. Carter won the award last year.
Actor Alan Alda and poet Maya Angelou, a three-time winner, rounded out this year's nominees in the category.
Not to be outdone by Obama, Hillary Clinton won the spoken word prize in 1997, while she was still first lady, for her book "It Takes a Village."
No Republican politician has won the category since Everett Dirksen, an Illinois congressman and senator, in 1968.
Published in October 2006, Obama's latest book posited that Americans have more in common than their polarizing politics suggest. It included personal anecdotes about his struggles to balance public service and family life. His appearances to promote the bestseller generated a rock-star atmosphere, helping to stoke his presidential ambitions.
In recent weeks he has faced Bill Clinton's wrath. The former president dismissed Obama's contention of consistently opposing the Iraq war as a "fairy tale," and said that putting Obama in the White House would be a roll of the dice. Obama described Clinton's remarks as "troubling," and Clinton has toned down his campaign rhetoric.
(Editing by Steve Gorman)