A long time coming’
After a 21-month presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama accepted victory in front of a crowd of 125,000 people at Chicago’s Grant Park on Tuesday, becoming the first black president-elect.
"If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," Obama said, speeking to the nation for the first time as president-elect. "It’s been a long time coming, but tonight… change has come to America."
For Obama, though, there were not many bumps on the "road to 270."
At press time, Obama led Sen. John McCain with a landslide of 338 electoral votes, while McCain trailed with 155.
In Ohio, Obama led McCain 51 to 47 percent – an approximately 174,030-vote margin – with 85 percent of precincts reporting. No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, and Obama was the victor from the onset. Obama was ahead in the early count and throughout Tuesday night, not once falling behind McCain.
Races tightened between the candidates for Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio early in the night. At press time Obama led in Florida by 198,888 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Obama led 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent in North Carolina with 100 percent of precincts reporting and in Missouri 49.4 percent to 49.3 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Indiana, Missouri, Montana and Alaska remained undecided as of press time. Obama led Indiana 50 to 49 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Missouri remained the most highly contentious state. McCain led Missouri by less than 400 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting as of press time.
"This has been almost a perfect storm for Obama and against McCain," news analyst William Bennet told CNN.
Bennet said America tends to "give the other guy a chance."
With eight years under the Bush administration, coupled with the state of the economy, the people of America declared their want for change.
"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder," Obama said.
Obama’s campaign was not about a person, but rather a movement, analysts said, as was shown by his campaign rallies with tens of thousands of attendants as well as his Tuesday night speech.
"Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world," Obama said. "We have never been just a collection of red states and blue states. We have been and always will be the United States of America."
Some are optimistic, while others are worried about a new direction and unhappy with the outcome.
Obama is inheriting multilayered issues including a debt to China, a financial implosion greater than anything seen since the Great Depression and America’s involvement in unpopular war. The economy, he said, will be the first issue he deals with.