Obama crosses 'colour line',
elected first black US president
Nov 5 (IANS) Declaring that "change has come to America",
Barack Obama created history Tuesday with a resounding win
over rival John McCain, crossing the country's "colour
line" to be elected the country's first African American
has come to America," the Democratic candidate said,
addressing the country as the president-elect from an open
blue stage with flags waving behind him before an ocean of
people in his hometown of Chicago.
a long time coming, but because of what we did on this day,
at this defining moment, change has come to America,"
he said to deafening roars from his supporters, many of whom,
particularly blacks, wept at the achievement.
road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not
get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have
never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get
there," he said in a rousing speech that was heard by
millions around the world.
praised his vanquished Republican rival McCain, from whom
he had received a "gracious" call conceding defeat
minutes after major television networks projected Obama the
winner at 11 p.m. EST (9:30 a.m. IST Wed) as he passed the
threshold of 270 electoral votes.
2:00 a.m. Obama had stretched his lead to a formidable 338
to 159, according to CNN projections.
has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot
begin to imagine," he said calling McCain "brave
also congratulated McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin
"for all they have achieved" and said he looks forward
to working with them "to renew this nation's promise."
in turn praised his rival's inspirational and precedent-shattering
campaign. "We have come to the end of a long journey,"
he told supporters.
urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just
congratulating him but offering our next president our goodwill."
of Obama's win set off celebrations by supporters around the
country, from Times Square in New York to Ebenezer Baptist
Church in Atlanta, civil rights leader Martin Luther King's
is a great night. This is an unbelievable night," said
US Representaive John Lewis of Georgia, who was brutally beaten
by police in Selma, Alabama, during a voting rights march
in the 1960s.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader and onetime presidential
contender, joined the celebrations in Chicago, tears streaming
down his cheeks.
extraordinary feat a mere 43 years after the blacks won full
civil rights - and a long 138 years after they got the vote
-in a large measure stemmed from what the New York Times called
his "improbable, unshakable conviction that America was
ready to step across the colour line."
of voters - white and black, Hispanic and Asian, biracial
and multiracial - put their faith and the future of their
country into the hands of a 47-year-old black man who made
history both because of his race and in spite of it."
wept and danced in the streets Tuesday night, declaring that
a once-reluctant nation had finally lived up to its democratic
exulted in small towns and big cities. And white voters marvelled
at what they had wrought in turning a page on the country's
bitter racial history, the Times said.
George Bush, whose long shadow weighed heavily on the McCain
campaign with the election becoming a kind of referendum on
his eight-year rule, too called Obama at 11:12 p.m to congratulate
him on his victory.
President-elect, congratulations to you," Bush said,
according to the White House. "What an awesome night
for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called
to congratulate you and your good bride."
promise to make this a smooth transition," the president
said to Obama. "You are about to go on one of the great
journeys of life. Congratulations, and go enjoy yourself."
became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to receive
more than 50 percent of the popular vote, and made good on
his pledge to transform the electoral map.
overpowered McCain in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania-four
states that the campaign had spent months courting as the
keys to victory.
Democrat easily won most of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic
states that normally back Democrats, including New Hampshire,
and ran strong in states that are normally solid for Republicans,
such as Virginia, Indiana and Florida.