HISTORY MADE: Democrat Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States.
Democrat Barack Obama wrote his name indelibly into the pages of American history on Wednesday, engineering a social and political upheaval to become the country’s first black president-elect in a runaway victory over Republican John McCain.
The 72-year-old Arizona senator quickly called his opponent to concede defeat and congratulate his rival in the longest and most costly presidential campaign in American history.
The 47-year-old Illinois senator, son of a white mother from Kansas and an African father from Kenya, mined a deep vein of national discontent, promising Americans hope and change throughout a nearly flawless 21-month campaign for the White House.
Obama stepped through a door opened 145 years ago when Abraham Lincoln, a fellow Illinois politician, issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed African-Americans from enslavement in the rebellious South in the midst of a wrenching civil war.
The powerful orator lays claim to the White House on Jan. 20, only 43 years after the country enacted a law that banned the disenfranchisement of blacks in many Southern states where poll taxes and literacy tests were common at the time.
With victories in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other battleground states, Obama built a commanding lead over McCain after surging in the polls in the midst of a national financial crisis. He and his fellow Democrats sought to link McCain to the unpopular George W. Bush.
Obama soared into the national spotlight with his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he was making his first run for the Senate and polishing his message of unity in a country that was mired in partisan anger.
Democrats also were expanding their majorities in both chambers of Congress.
With 67 per cent Americans not wishing to see another debate between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, both the White House hopefuls have hit the stretch in the battleground and critical states hoping to put behind “Joe The Plumber” and “Joe The Six Pack”.
The polls of the last few days may have shown Senator Obama in the lead of at least eight points; but the latest CNN Gallup showed the race was really tightening and even close to about a two-point spread between the candidates in favour of the Illinois Democrat.
At the heart of the candidates’ struggle is the political mid-west like Ohio and Pennsylvania that the candidates have started hitting very intently; but some of the focus is also on states like New Hampshire that Senator Obama slipped in the primaries to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Three debates, and over 20 months, John McCain still has not explained a single thing he would do differently from George W Bush when it comes to the most important economic issues we face today. Not one. Here’s the truth, New Hampshire, John McCain voted with George Bush 90 per cent of the time. That has not change. It is more of the same,” Obama said in New Hampshire.
“He wants to keep giving tax cuts to corporations that ship our jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the US. He wants to give more tax cuts to CEOs. I want to give 95 per cent of working families the tax relief that they deserve. He wants to double down on health care policies that will only work for the healthy and the wealthy. I want to cut costs and expand coverage for all Americans,” Obama said in a rhetoric that is all too well known on the political trail.
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