Page One Today / Obama’s Historic Victory

November 5, 2008: An excerpt from a story in the Chicago Tribune:

Barack Obama, our next president

By MIKE DORNING and JIM TANKERSLEY 

Barack Obama won the presidency Tuesday, the first African-American to claim the highest office in the land, an improbable candidate fulfilling a once-impossible dream.

A nation that in living memory struggled violently over racial equality will have as its next president a 47-year-old, one-term U.S. senator born of a Kenyan father and Kansan mother. He is the first president elected from Chicago and the first to rise from a career in Illinois politics since Abraham Lincoln emerged from frontier obscurity to lead the nation through the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.

Obama’s resounding victory over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) repudiates an unpopular incumbent and an ongoing war, shifts national leadership to a new generation and provides dramatic proof to the world of the American ideal of opportunity for all.

The Illinois senator won a larger share of the popular vote than any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. He redrew the electoral map, sweeping nearly all the traditional battleground states –including Ohio and Florida — and winning some longtime Republican strongholds, such as Virginia.

“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 declared at a victory rally at Grant Park.

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November 5, 2008: An excerpt from a story in the Chicago Sun-Times:

A dream fulfilled

By DAVE MCKINNEY and ABDON M. PALLASCH

Forty years later, the world again watched Grant Park on Tuesday to see history created.

Instead of cringing at war rioters and club-wielding National Guardsmen, America cast aside centuries of racial prejudice and elected its first black president.

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” Barack Obama said to cheers in Grant Park.

The Harvard-educated favorite son of Chicago’s South Side swamped John McCain in a historic landslide driven by the nation’s ruined 401(k)s and its disgust over the Iraq war.

On an unseasonably warm night, more than 100,000 revelers stood shoulder to shoulder in Grant Park to mark arguably the city’s most memorable political event ever and bear witness to Illinois sending its first leader since Abraham Lincoln to the nation’s highest office.

The presidential race that took two years to play out effectively ended at 10 p.m. when the Associated Press and the television networks declared Obama the winner over McCain.
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November 5, 2008: An excerpt from a story in The Washington Post:

Obama Makes History
U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President; Democrats Expand Control of Congress

By ROBERT BARNES and MICHAEL D. SHEAR 

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was elected the nation’s 44th president yesterday, riding a reformist message of change and an inspirational exhortation of hope to become the first African American to ascend to the White House.

Obama, 47, the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, led a tide of Democratic victories across the nation in defeating Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a 26-year veteran of Washington who could not overcome his connections to President Bush’s increasingly unpopular administration.

Standing before a crowd of more than 125,000 people who had waited for hours at Chicago’s Grant Park, Obama acknowledged the accomplishment and the dreams of his supporters.

“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,” he said just before midnight Eastern time.

“The 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. I promise you: We as a people will get there.”
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November 5, 2008: An excerpt from a story in The New York Times:

Obama Is Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls

By ADAM NAGOURNEY

Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

The election of Mr. Obama amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country.

But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

Mr. Obama, 47, a first-term senator from Illinois, defeated Senator John McCain of Arizona, 72, a former prisoner of war who was making his second bid for the presidency.

To the very end, Mr. McCain’s campaign was eclipsed by an opponent who was nothing short of a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds epitomized by the tens of thousands of people who turned out to hear Mr. Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago.

Mr. McCain also fought the headwinds of a relentlessly hostile political environment, weighted down with the baggage left to him by President Bush and an economic collapse that took place in the middle of the general election campaign.”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,” said Mr. Obama, standing before a huge wooden lectern with a row of American flags at his back, casting his eyes to a crowd that stretched far into the Chicago night.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the president-elect added, “but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.”
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(See also: Page One Today / The Front Page Primary, June 2008)

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