In a historic election stateside, Democrat Barack Obama has won the US presidency, defeating Republican rival John McCain. Obama will become the 44th president of the United States and its first African-American president when he is sworn in on January 20, 2009.
Obama gave his acceptance speech late Tuesday night in front of thousands of supporters, shortly after the results had become clear. “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,” he said. “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.”
Though not all precincts have officially reported, Obama has been all-but-officially declared the winner, with McCain conceding his defeat in a speech given earlier this morning: “I wish godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president…these are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.”
The victory is an electoral landslide for Obama, who is currently projected with 349 electoral votes to McCain’s 147 (270 are needed to win the presidency). The popular vote is closer, with Obama leading 52%-to-46%, though he’s the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to win more than 50% of the popular vote (in the US, the election is determined by electoral votes – each state has a set number of these votes, and the winner of the popular vote in each state receives all of a state’s electoral votes, regardless of the margin of victory. More info here)
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