CHICAGO - Barack Obama’s election as the first ever African-American, to take the White House – the country’s highest office – has shattered 200 years of history and almost entirely obscured news coverage worldwide.
The 47-year-old, Illinois Senator, made history Tuesday night by trouncing his rival, Sen. John McCain, a well-known Republican maverick.
An enormous crowd of people jammed the Chicago Grant Park, where he addressed the nation for the first time as its president-elect.
However, millions of people the world over also followed the US election to its extraordinary climax – his acceptance speech.
“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 told thousands of people who had gathered for the victory celebration in Chicago later.
Overcoming racial barriers as old as America itself, Obama, a freshman senator who inspired millions with his public speaking and hopeful rhetoric, defeated the Republican presidential nominee by a comfortable electoral vote margin – neat electoral votes of two to one.
It is the first time, since Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, that a Democrat received more than 50-percent of the popular vote.
Obama did not only carry all the Democratic states but also won several states that went to President Bush four years ago.
He trounced his rival in every state carried by Democrat John Kerry in 2004 while adding Republican traditional states such as Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
Earlier, Obama had been projected to win key battleground states. He was also projected by several news organisations to be the winner in Florida, where the Democrat Party had faced bitter disappointment in the recent past elections. His rival conceded defeat in a speech a little after the deal was done.
Saying that the Democrat had achieved a “great thing for himself and for his country,” Sen. McCain congratulated Obama and urged his supporters to rally behind the newly elected president.
“American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly,” McCain said.
“In a contest as long and as difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance.”
“That he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president, is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving,” McCain said.
Commentators point out that in many years, this was the highest voter turnout as more Americans than ever before turned out to cast their ballot.