Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally at Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., on Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. On Tuesday night, Obama became the first African American elected president, earning a landslide Electoral College victory over Republican rival Sen. John McCain of Arizona. (AP photo/Alex Brandon)
|Obama shakes hands at a rally at Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonvlle, Fla., on Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. An estimated 187 million voters were registered to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, and in an indication of national interest in the race for the White House, approximately 40 million had already voted as Election Day dawned. (AP photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON — 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.
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, Virginia and Iowa.
A huge crowd in Grant Park in Obama’s home town of Chicago erupted in jubilation at the news of his victory. Some wept.
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.
Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009.
As the 44th president, Obama 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, 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.
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.(p2)
"More than most citizens, [Barack] Obama has consciously embraced the principles that make America great," the Banner wrote in its Nov. 6, 2008 editorial. More »
"What profound satisfaction I feel to finally see that the very gifts that I admired two decades ago in a skinny first-year law student with a funny name have been delivered to and appreciated by our grand nation," wrote Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. in this Nov. 6, 2008 Banner op-ed. "What a journey it has been." More »
"In one small but brilliant maneuver," writes Banner Executive Editor Howard Manly, "Obama was able to reverse the trend of Southerners voting Republican that Lyndon Baines Johnson had predicted when he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination." More »
Millions of voters flocked to Massachusetts polling places on Tuesday, lining up before polls opened at 7 a.m. and staying even after they closed at 8 p.m. to cast ballots in arguably the most memorable presidential election in American history. More »