News Source: Yahoo! News
His name etched in history as America's first black president, Barack Obama turned from the jubilation of victory to the sobering challenge of leading a nation worried about economic crisis, two unfinished wars and global uncertainty.
"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep," Obama cautioned.
Young and charismatic but with little experience on the national level, Obama smashed through racial barriers and easily defeated Republican John McCain to become the first African-American destined to sit in the Oval Office, America's 44th president. He was the first Democrat to receive more than 50 percent of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Continue Reading this Entry..
"It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America," Obama told a victory rally of 125,000 people jammed into Chicago's Grant Park.
For the Vice Presidential race, Sen. Joe Biden won against Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Obama scored an Electoral College landslide that redrew America's political map. He won states that reliably voted Republican in presidential elections, like Indiana and Virginia, which hadn't supported the Democratic candidate in 44 years. Ohio and Florida, key to Bush's twin victories, also went for Obama, as did Pennsylvania, which McCain had deemed crucial for his election hopes.
With just 76 days until the inauguration, Obama is expected to move quickly to begin assembling a White House staff and selecting Cabinet nominees.
After the longest and costliest campaign in U.S. history, Obama was propelled to victory by voters dismayed by eight years of George W. Bush's presidency and deeply anxious about rising unemployment and home foreclosures and a battered stock market that has erased trillions of dollars of savings for Americans.
Six in 10 voters picked the economy as the most important issue facing the nation in an Associated Press exit poll. None of the other top issues — energy, Iraq, terrorism and health care — was selected by more than one in 10. Obama has promised to cut taxes for most Americans, get the United States out of Iraq and expand health care, including mandatory coverage for children.
Obama acknowledged that repairing the economy and dealing with problems at home and overseas will not happen quickly. "We may not get there in one year or even in one term," he said. "But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there."
McCain conceded defeat shortly after 11 p.m. EST, telling supporters outside the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, "The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly."
"This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and the special pride that must be theirs tonight," McCain said. "These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face."
Black Americans celebrate Obama's Victory
'CIVIL WAR ENDED'
For anyone with a sense of America's history of slavery and the 19th century Civil War that tore the country apart, Obama's win was a landmark.
Slavery and its successor, a brutal system of racial segregation that prevailed in the South until the 1960s, long tarnished the country's pride in democratic ideals.
"And so it came to pass that on November 4, 2008, shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time, the American Civil War ended, as a black man -- Barack Hussein Obama -- won enough electoral votes to become president of the United States." wrote New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
It was not just columnists seeing a moment to savor.
"This is definitely history in the making," said elementary school teacher Sheneka Mayes, 32, in Atlanta. "This night will be burned into my memory and into the memory of my children."
In a politically polarized country, many conservatives bemoaned the defeat of Republican John McCain but supporters of Democrat Obama delighted in his win, and many of them because he will be the first black president in U.S. history.
A big crowd held a candlelight vigil at King's tomb in Atlanta, setting the election firmly in the context of the movement in the 1950s and 1960s to end racial segregation and win the right to vote for black Americans in the South.
In his victory speech, Obama even told his daughters, "they earned a new puppy that wil come with them to the White House" and thanked his family especially her grandmother who passed away recently.
For more of the election results, you can take a look HERE. Obama's acceptance speech HERE.
McCain concedes. His speech HERE.