Barack Obama elected next President of the United States after defeating John McCain

Barack Obama elected next President of the United States after defeating John McCain

Mr Obama, 47, whose electoral landslide also expanded his party’s majorities in both chambers of Congress, will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Jan 20, 2009.

The Democratic nominee was projected as the winner in the swing states of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Ohio, all but dooming the chances of his Republican opponent.

The loss of Ohio, which gave President George W Bush a narrow victory in 2004, was a bitter blow for the 72-year-old former Vietnam prisoner of war, and almost certainly snuffed out his presidential ambitions.

Networks also projected Mr Obama as the winner in California; Hawaii; Oregon; Washington; Vermont; Massachusetts; Illinois; Maine; Connecticut; Delaware; Rhode Island; New Jersey; Maryland; Wisconsin; Michigan; New York and the District of Columbia.

Mr McCain was projected the winner in Idaho; Kentucky; South Carolina; Oklahoma; Tennessee; Alabama; Arkansas; Wyoming; North Dakota and Georgia, all expected to be comfortable wins for him.

David Axelrod, Mr Obama’s chief strategist, told CNN that “good things” were happening for the Democrat and trumpeted the result in Pennsylvania: “We like what we see around the country. We like the turnout. We like the early returns.” An aide to Mr McCain told CBS that “at this point we need a miracle”.

In what was shaping up to become a dismal night for Republicans, they lost Senate contests in New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia, and were battling to hold on to at least another five seats in the 100-member body.

A win for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky was one of the few bright spots of the evening for Republicans, and kept alive their hopes of preventing a 60 to 40 majority for Democrats, which would make it impossible to block legislation without some Democratic help.

Obama supporters were already beginning to celebrate as they gathered in Grant Park in Chicago, where the young Illinois senator was preparing to give what his advisers anticipated would be a victory speech.

With just over half the votes counted in Indiana, a conservative state that has voted Republican since 1964, Mr Obama was just three percentage points behind and performing much better than expected in areas Mr McCain was counting on.

Virginia also appeared very close, with Mr McCain leading by one percentage point with 70 per cent of the vote counted and the Republican underperforming badly in conservative rural areas.

A win there for Mr Obama would almost certainly signal a convincing overall victory for him. The Democrat was also leading in Florida, won by President George W Bush in 2000 and 2004.

One early disappointment for Mr Obama, however, was that black voters made up just 13 per cent of all voters, only a narrow increase over 2004. The black vote was unchanged in Virginia, but up by five percentage points to 30 per cent in Georgia, a target state for Mr Obama.

Six out of 10 voters said in an Associated Press exit poll that the economy was the most important issue facing the country, a concern Mr Obama has made the centrepiece of his campaign.

Officials said the long queues and heavy early voting in more than 30 states pointed towards a turnout of between 130 million and 140 million people, up from 121 million four years ago, and 65 per cent of those registered.

This would represent the highest percentage turnout since 1908. Mr Obama’s campaign, which heavily outgunned Mr McCain’s in terms of the number of volunteers, fund-raising and enthusiasm had poured immense resources into registering new voters.

High turnout was a key sign that David Plouffe, Mr Obama’s campaign manager, had succeeded.

As well as facing the likely loss of the White House, Republicans, who surrendered control of both houses of Congress two years ago, feared the loss of about 30 more seats in the House of Representatives.

Democratic gains of up to nine seats in the Senate would give Democrats the 20-seat majority they need to withstand Republican filibusters and herald a new period of untrammeled one-party rule in Washington.

A victory for Mr Obama, who began his bid for the White House nearly two years ago as an unlikely outsider, would be a landmark in the long struggle for racial equality in America. When he was born in Hawaii to a black Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas in 1961, many American states banned interracial marriages. Four years later, blacks in many Southern states were disenfranchised.

McCain aides said they were “stoic” and “realistic”, pointing out that Republicans had faced a very tough electoral environment because of President George W Bush’s unpopularity and the ailing economy.

The mood inside Mr Obama’s camp, in contrast, was one of controlled ebullience with the contender playing a game of basketball – a now traditional election day activity for him – with old friends from Chicago.

Mr Obama, the overwhelming front-runner in opinion polls, and Mr McCain, who would have been the oldest man ever to be first elected to the presidency, cast their ballots in their home cities of Chicago and Phoenix respectively.

People cheered Mr Obama as he held up a validation slip after voting with his wife and their daughters Malia, nine, and Sasha, seven. “The journey ends but voting with my daughters, that was a big deal,” he said.

Mr McCain voted with his wife Cindy at a church before flying to Colorado and New Mexico for final rallies. “I’m very happy with where we are,” he said before voting. “We always do best when I’m a bit of an underdog.”

original source

Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment