The crowd waves U.S. flags as it is announced on television that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.
Barack Obama swept to victory as the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in an electoral college landslide that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself. “Change has come,” he told a jubilant hometown Chicago crowd.
The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, the Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his historic triumph by defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground states — Ohio, Florida, Iowa and more. He captured Virginia and Indiana, too, the first candidate of his party in 44 years to win either.
Obama’s election capped a meteoric rise — from mere state senator to president-elect in four years.
Spontaneous celebrations erupted from Atlanta to New York and Philadelphia as word of Obama’s victory spread. Supporters filled Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.
In his first speech as victor, to well over 100,000 people in Grant Park in Chicago, Obama catalogued the challenges ahead. “The greatest of a lifetime,” he said, “two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.”
He added, “There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.”
McCain called his former rival to concede defeat — and the end of his own 10-year quest for the White House. “The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly,” McCain told disappointed supporters in Arizona.
President Bush added his congratulations from the White House, where his tenure runs out on Jan. 20. “May God bless whoever wins tonight,” he had told dinner guests earlier.
Obama, in his speech, invoked the words of Lincoln, recalled Martin Luther King Jr., and seemed to echo John F. Kennedy.
“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder,” he said.
He and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009. McCain remains in the Senate.
Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, returns to Alaska as governor after a tumultuous debut on the national stage.
He will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan.
The popular vote was close — 51.7 percent to 47 percent with 84 percent of all U.S. precincts tallied — but not the count in the Electoral College, where it mattered most.
There, Obama’s audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn’t gone Democratic in years paid rich dividends.
Shortly after 2 a.m. in the East, The Associated Press count showed Obama with 349 electoral votes, well over the 270 needed for victory. McCain had 147 after winning states that comprised the normal Republican base, including Texas and most of the South as well as several in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain west.
By comparison, Bush won the White House twice, and never tallied more than 286 electoral votes.
Four states remained unsettled — Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina. All voted for Bush in 2004.
Interviews with voters suggested that almost six in 10 women were backing Obama nationwide, while men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that Bush carried overwhelmingly in 2004.
The results of the AP survey were based on a preliminary partial sample of nearly 10,000 voters in Election Day polls and in telephone interviews over the past week for early voters. Obama has said his first order of presidential business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.
In Washington, the Democratic leaders of Congress celebrated.
“It is not a mandate for a party or ideology but a mandate for change,” said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California: “Tonight the American people have called for a new direction. They have called for change in America.”
Democrats also acclaimed Senate successes by former Gov. Mark Warner in Virginia, Rep. Tom Udall in New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall in Colorado. All won seats left open by Republican retirements.
In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican Sen. John Sununu in a rematch of their 2002 race, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole fell to Democrat Kay Hagan in North Carolina.
Biden won a new term in Delaware, a seat he will resign before he is sworn in as vice president.
The Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, survived a scare in Kentucky.
In Georgia, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss hoped to avoid a December runoff. His was one of four races that were uncalled. The others were in Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon, and in each, Republican incumbents hoped to eke out victories.
The Democrats piled up gains in the House, as well.
They defeated eight Republican incumbents, including 22-year veteran Chris Shays in Connecticut, and picked up nine more seats where GOP lawmakers had retired.
At least four Democrats lost their seats, including Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney, turned out of office after admitting to two extramarital affairs while serving his first term in Florida. In Louisiana, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux lost the seat he had won in a special election six months ago.
The resurgent Democrats also elected a governor in one of the nation’s traditional bellwether states when Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon won his race.
An estimated 187 million voters were registered, and in an indication of interest in the battle for the White House, 40 million or so had already voted as Election Day dawned.
Obama sought election as one of the youngest presidents, and one of the least experienced in national political affairs.
That wasn’t what set the Illinois senator apart, though — neither from his rivals nor from the other men who had served as president since the nation’s founding more than two centuries ago. A black man, he confronted a previously unbreakable barrier as he campaigned on twin themes of change and hope in uncertain times.
McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam, a generation older than his rival at 72, was making his second try for the White House, following his defeat in the battle for the GOP nomination in 2000.
A conservative, he stressed his maverick’s streak. And although a Republican, he did what he could to separate himself from an unpopular president.
For the most part, the two presidential candidates and their running mates, Biden and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, spent weeks campaigning in states that went for Bush four years ago.
McCain and Obama each won contested nominations — the Democrat outdistancing former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton — and promptly set out to claim the mantle of change.
Obama won California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
McCain had Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
He also won at least four of Nebraska’s five electoral votes, with the other one in doubt.
Supporters cheer as they hear results from television that President-elect Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.
People cheer for an Barack Obama at an election eve results party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008 at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on 125th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York.
Supporters fill Grant Park at the election night party for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008, in Chicago.
Barack’s big win
Obama’s big win
Around the country and around the world, many celebrated the election of Barack Obama to the White House.
Producer: JUDY CARLOCK and DYLAN SMITH/Tucson Citizen
Slide 1 of 19.
President-elect Barack Obama speaks in Chicago.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 2 of 19.
President-elect Barack Obama speaks in Chicago.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 3 of 19.
A sea of supporters wait for Obama to speak.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 4 of 19.
Vice president-elect Joe Biden holds one his grand-daughters during President-elect Barack Obama's election night party.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 5 of 19.
Oprah Winfrey waits with Stedman Graham at the election night party for President-elect Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 6 of 19.
Michelle Moore, of Boise, takes a picture of her husband Tom Moore, as he stands with a Barack Obama life size cutout at the Idaho Democratic Headquarters at the Hilton Garden Inn in Boise, Idaho.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 7 of 19.
The crowd reacts as it is announced on television that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 8 of 19.
Christine King Farris, sister of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., is embraced by Rushie Jones after a cable news channel projected Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as the winner during an election-night party at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Tuesday.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 9 of 19.
Jesse Jackson weeps as returns come in.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 10 of 19.
A group in Japan celebrates Obama's win.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 11 of 19.
A member of Democrats Abroad in the Philippines gestures as she watches results leading to the predicted victory of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama during an election watch in suburban Manila, Philippines on Wednesday.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 12 of 19.
Kenyan family members of U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama celebrate after his victory in the U.S. election was announced, at the family's homestead in Kogelo village, Kenya. The village is where Obama's step-grandmother lives. Barack Obama's Kenyan family erupted in cheers Wednesday, singing "We are going to the White House!" as Obama became the first African-American elected president in the United States.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 13 of 19.
Emily Berkson, from Chicago, left, and Krista Anne Nordgren from Chapel Hill, N.C. watch the speech of President-Elect Barack Obama in an overflow area of Grant Park.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 14 of 19.
Obama celebrates with his daughter, Malia.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 15 of 19.
U.S. Army Sgt. Patrick Kopecky, 24, from Manitowoc, Wis., left, phones home as a television broadcasts U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq
Source: The Associated PressSlide 16 of 19.
Obama kisses his wife, Michelle, after his acceptance speech.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 17 of 19.
Marissa Wilkes, left, and Ladona Miller react as they learn of Barack Obama's victory during an election party for Senator-elect Kay Hagan in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 18 of 19.
The marquee of the famous Apollo theater proclaims the victory of President-elect Barack Obama early Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008 in the Harlem section of New York.
Source: The Associated PressSlide 19 of 19.
In Phoenix, U.S. Sen. John McCain, with running mate Sarah Palin, reassured crowds at the Arizona Biltmore, silencing when they booed Sen. Barack Obama.
Source: The Associated Press
Get updated national election results at tucsoncitizen.com/election
Add another electoral landslide to the record books.
There’s no set definition for what constitutes a landslide, but Barack Obama’s resounding electoral victory seems to fit the bill.
Kathleen Thompson Hill and Gerald N. Hill, in their book, “The Facts on File Dictionary of American Politics,” say a landslide can be defined as “exceeding expectations and being somewhat overwhelming.”
With three states yet to be decided, the electoral vote count was 349 for Obama and 147 for Republican John McCain.
President Bush, by contrast, won with just 271 electoral votes in 2000 and 286 in 2004. It takes 270 votes to win the presidency.
A look at past elections that might qualify as landslides:
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt over Alf Landon in 1936, 523 to 8.
—Theodore Roosevelt over Alton Parker in 1904, 336-140.
—Woodrow Wilson over Roosevelt and William Taft in 1912, 435-96.
—Warren Harding over James Cox in 1920, 404-127.
—Herbert Hoover over Alfred Smith in 1928, 444-87.
—Franklin Roosevelt in all four of his elections, with electoral votes of 472, 523, 449 and 432.
—Lyndon Johnson, who carried the tongue-in-cheek nickname “Landslide Lyndon” for his razor-thin 87-vote victory in a Texas Senate race, over Barry Goldwater in 1964, 486-52.
—Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972, 520-17.
—Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale in 1984, 525-13.
WHERE HE STANDS
A sampling of President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign promises and positions:
Favors abortion rights.
Would add about 7,000 troops to the U.S. force of 32,000, bringing the reinforcements from Iraq. Has threatened unilateral attack on high-value terrorist targets in Pakistan as they become exposed, “if Pakistan cannot or will not act” against them.
Ease restrictions on family-related travel and on money Cuban-Americans want to send to their families in Cuba. Open to meeting new Cuban leader Raul Castro without preconditions. Ease trade embargo if Havana “begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change.”
Supports death penalty for crimes for which the “community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage.” As Illinois lawmaker, wrote bill mandating videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases and sought other changes in system that had produced wrongful convictions.
An $18 billion plan that would encourage, but not mandate, universal pre-kindergarten. Teacher pay raises tied to, although not based solely on, test scores. An overhaul of No Child Left Behind law to better measure student progress, make more room for subjects such as music and art and be less punitive toward failing schools. A tax credit to pay up to $4,000 of college costs for students who perform 100 hours of community service a year. Obama would pay for part of his plan by ending corporate tax deductions for CEO pay. Has backed away from his proposal to save money by delaying NASA’s moon and Mars missions.
Ten-year, $150 billion fund for biofuels, wind, solar, plug-in hybrids, clean-coal technology and other “climate-friendly” measures. Mandatory reductions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, using a market-based, cap-and-trade system that would increase energy costs. Increase federal fuel economy requirements from 35 mpg to 40 mpg. Now would consider limited expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling. Opposes drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Proposes windfall-profits tax on largest oil companies to pay for energy rebate of up to $1,000. Expand federal requirements for ethanol from 36 million gallons to 60 million gallons a year with increase coming from non-corn sources, and require utilities to produce 25 percent of power from renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025. $7,000 tax credit for the purchase of advance-technology vehicles; put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on road by 2015.
Two-year plan offering $3,000 tax credit to businesses for each new job created and enabling people to withdraw up to 15 percent of their retirement money, to a maximum of $10,000, without penalty, except for the usual taxes. Would temporarily extend an expiring tax break that lets small businesses immediately write off investments of up to $250,000, and sweeten small-business loans at a cost of about $5 billion. Estimated cost of proposals: $60 billion. Now favors mandatory 90-day freeze on some foreclosures. Lobbied fellow lawmakers to support $700 billion rescue plan. Extend unemployment benefits, offer tax credit covering 10 percent of annual mortgage-interest payments for “struggling homeowners.”
Opposes constitutional amendment to ban it. Supports civil unions, says states should decide about marriage. Switched positions in 2004 and now supports repeal of Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and gives states the right to refuse to recognize such marriages.
Voted to leave gun-makers and dealers open to suit. Also, as Illinois state lawmaker, supported ban on all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions generally on firearms.
Mandatory coverage for children, no mandate for adults. Aim for universal coverage by requiring larger employers to share costs of insuring workers and by offering coverage similar to that in plan for federal employees. Proposes spending $50 billion on information technology over five years to reduce health care costs over time. Tax Policy Center estimates overall plan’s cost at $1.6 trillion over 10 years.
Voted for 2006 bill offering legal status to illegal immigrants subject to conditions, including English proficiency and payment of back taxes and fines. Voted for border fence.
Initially said he would meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions, now says he’s not sure “Ahmadinejad is the right person to meet with right now.” But says direct diplomacy with Iranian leaders would give U.S. more credibility to press for tougher international sanctions. Says he would intensify diplomatic pressure on Tehran before Israel feels the need to take unilateral military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Spoke against war at start, opposed troop increase. Voted against one major military spending bill in May 2007; otherwise voted in favor of money to support the war. Says his plan would complete withdrawal of combat troops in 16 months. Initially had said a timetable for completing withdrawal would be irresponsible without knowing what facts he’d face in office.
Would raise payroll tax on wealthiest by applying it to portion of income over $250,000. Now, payroll tax is applied to income up to $102,000. Rules out raising the retirement age for benefits.
STEM CELL RESEARCH
Supports relaxing federal restrictions on financing of embryonic stem cell research.
Raise income taxes on families making over $250,000 and individuals making over $200,000. Raise corporate taxes. $80 billion in tax breaks mainly for poor workers and elderly, including tripling Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credit for larger families. Eliminate tax-filing requirement for older workers making under $50,000. A mortgage-interest credit could be used by lower-income homeowners who do not take the mortgage-interest deduction because they do not itemize their taxes. Nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates tax break of $1,118 for the middle 20 percent of taxpayers — those making $37,600 to $66,400.
Seek to reopen North American Free Trade Agreement to strengthen enforcement of labor and environmental standards. In 2004 Senate campaign, called for “enforcing existing trade agreements,” not amending them.
By Citizen Staff Report, Wire Report