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Barack Obama claimed the White House, saying his election as the first African-American president of the United States sent a message that “change has come” to a troubled nation.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are 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, 47, told more than 125,000 cheering supporters in Chicago.
A wave of discontent with Republican rule and the nation’s direction powered the Illinois senator to a sweeping electoral victory over Republican rival John McCain. Obama won at least 349 electoral votes, far more than the 270 needed for a majority and the most for a winner since former President Bill Clinton got 379 electoral votes in 1996.
The results should encourage “those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day,” Obama said.
Americans spilled out on the streets in cities across the country to celebrate. Almost four hours after television networks called the race for Obama, people were still cheering and honking non-stop in Washington as thousands gathered by the White House, shouting Obama’s name and his campaign slogan of “Yes we can.” Some simply chanted “U-S-A.”
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Obama Says His Choice as U.S. President Augurs Change
Ken Fireman and Kristin Jensen
Bloomberg, Nov. 5 2008