Invoking Lincoln and promising “a new dawn of American leadership,” Barack Obama assumed the historic mantle of president-elect of the United States on Tuesday night, capping a campaign that saw him rise from unlikely candidate to the first Democrat since 1976 to win 50% of the popular vote. Obama, who five years ago was unknown nationally, is now poised to become the first African-American president in U.S. history. Speaking to tens of thousands gathered at Grant Park in his adopted hometown of Chicago, the 47-year-old junior senator from Illinois said the nation faces enormous challenges but “at this defining moment, change has come to America.” With the crowd chanting “Yes, we can,” Obama spoke of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and economic turmoil facing the country. He said, “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But America, I have never been more hopeful. I promise you, we as a people will get there.” His rival in the hotly contested campaign, Republican John McCain, called from his home state of Arizona to concede the race shortly after news media outlets, including the Free Press, declared Obama the winner with the closing of polls on the West Coast. He held a 338-159 Electoral College vote lead over McCain with several states still in play. Obama needed 270 to win. “Sen. Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country,” McCain said in his concession speech to supporters in Arizona, calling on them to show “goodwill and earnest effort to come together.” In a lighter moment in Chicago, Obama said he would make good on another promise — to get a puppy for his daughters, Malia and Sasha. His historic rise was felt intensely by people in metro Detroit and across the nation. “I'm extremely proud of him,” said Nicole Jackson, a 35-year-old Detroit real estate broker who took her son, 10-year-old Horatio Williams, with her to vote for Obama on Tuesday. “He has stood out.” Indeed. For Michigan, which was called based on exit polls for Obama just after voting concluded at 9 p.m., and the rest of the country, there's much on the line. The nation's economic struggles that have been felt here for years and the credit crunch is hitting automakers at a time when they can ill afford it, sapping consumers' ability to buy cars. Obama, hoped many, could turn things around. Like Royal Oak's Susan Payne, who is in real estate and said she's hoping Obama “will bring confidence back to consumers.” It's a tall order perhaps — but voters turned out in record numbers to give their full-throated approval to his message of change. Inevitably, his election will be greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm for its historic nature. But he takes on a nation divided by partisan politics that is fighting two wars and is wrestling with how best to answer questions about its economic future on Wall Street and Main Street. His calibrated, careful, dogged campaign paid off Tuesday on a night as Democrats picked up congressional seats across the nation, and a sense of history pervaded the electorate. One by one, the battleground states that McCain needed to compete — New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada — fell to Obama, meaning that even if McCain took the others in play, like Missouri or North Carolina, he still couldn't catch the Democrat. Obama was the first African American to be the presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party — and he entered Tuesday as the front-runner. McCain had proven through the years — and through this campaign particularly — to be a formidable candidate, one capable of preaching a bipartisan message tied to a conservative agenda. But he failed to hang onto the coalition of states courted and won by President George W. Bush four years ago. The campaigns took vastly different paths to get to this point. Announcing his candidacy on the steps of the old Statehouse in Springfield, Ill., Obama was virtually unknown before a Democratic convention speech in 2004 and his election that year to the U.S. Senate. Improbably, he mounted a campaign that burst fund-raising records, invigorated a generation of young voters and methodically defeated the favorite — former first lady and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. McCain, on the other hand, had been seen as a player in this election as far back as his 2000 loss to Bush. Those chances seemed to disappear in the summer of 2007, when his campaign suffered organizational disarray and a lack of money. He put together a shoestring campaign and, building off a win in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, defeated all comers, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills. Labeling himself “the original maverick,” McCain's campaign was characterized by strong — and sometimes erratic — moves in the general election season. He named the virtually unknown Palin his running mate — energizing the conservative base which had been slow to warm to McCain but raising questions about her level of readiness to take over for him in a crisis. McCain — a prisoner of war in Vietnam, former Navy pilot and Arizona senator — would have been the oldest man ever to ascend the presidency at age 72. Meanwhile, Obama's reserve came in handy as an issue that already worked to the Democrats' benefit, the economy, came to the center of the race. Across metro Detroit and the nation, the election generated record interest — and turnout, which was widely expected to benefit Obama. Voting at the William A. Pfromm Educational Center in Warren, 77-year-old Bob McBean backed McCain but expected Obama to win. “I don't like either one of them very well,” he said. At Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit, the mostly African-American congregation was far from being so cynical. Said the Rev. Edgar Vann to his flock during a prayer session Tuesday: “History's being made and you're here. You're part of it.”
Before you say ah he's jumping on the bandwagon now.. Here's the deal after long hours of soul searching I came to understand this is larger then my disappointment of Hillary losing or how other dems treated one another during the primaries. A McCain victory would mean four more years of Reagan and Bush like policies something the US couldn't withstand. Now I ask for forgiveness because I was wrong and I hope those who voted for Obama in 2008 will come back and ensure an existing Democratic majority in 2010. The Republicans might took the lose this round be sure they will be back.