Obama to become next president
Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday November 4, 2008

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Obama: CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NJ, NM, NY, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, WI
McCain: AL, AR, AZ, GA, KY, KS, LA, MS, ND, NE, SC, SD TX, UT, WV, WY
Too close to call: IN, MO, MT, NC

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is projected to become the next President of the United States, capping a historic campaign that makes him the first African American president in history.

Obama was greeted by an extended, raucous ovation from tens of thousands of his supporters before his victory speech Tuesday night.

"Americans have sent a message to the world," Obama said, "That we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states, we are and always have been the United States of America. ... Change has come to America."

Relating the story of a 106-year-old woman who cast her vote this year, Obama traced the progress of the country over the last century. From recovering from the Civil War, to World War II to overcoming segregation, to putting a man on the moon and beyond.

"America we have come so far, we have seen so much, but there is so much to do," Obama said. "So let us ask ourselves, if our children live long enough to see the next century ... what change will they see? What progress will we have made? This is our chance to answer that call."

Obama also thanked his supporters and family, including his two young daughters.

"Sasha and Malia ... you have earned the new puppy that is coming with us to the White House," he said.

The president-elect acknowledged the tough times he is inheriting, with two wars abroad, an economy sinking into recession, but he promised to pull America from its morass, although he acknowledged doing so would not be easy.

"The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep," Obama said. "We may not get there in one year or even in 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."

The victory marked a stunning transformation in a country where just over a half-century ago racial segregation was the law of the land in many states. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was a leader during the civil rights movement, seemed close to tears as he discussed the implications of Obama's victory.

"We are a different people -- we are a better people," Lewis said on MSNBC. "We are prepared to lay down our dark past and look toward a bright future."

At 11 p.m. Tuesday night, all the major news networks projected an Obama victory based on an impressive string of upsets in traditionally red states while the Democratic candidate held on to solidly blue states. Tens of thousands of Obama supporters were gathered in Chicago, where Obama was expected to speak around midnight.

As news of Obama's route emerged Tuesday evening, supporters exploded in celebration all over the country. Video of the Obama supporters is available here.

About 20 minutes later, Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, conceded the race and pledged to do whatever he could to help Obama lead the country.

The Democratic presidential candidate won a landslide victory, including at least a half-dozen states President Bush carried four years ago. Obama won Ohio, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada as of 11:30 p.m. Remaining states that were too close to call had all been red states in 2004.

Network pundits were all-but calling the election for Obama before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday -- a stark contrast to the nail-biters of 2000 and 2004, where the winner wasn't known until the morning or month after Election Day.

All Obama needs to do is win California, Washington and his home state of Hawaii and he will exceed the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. All three of those states have been considered solidly in Obama's column essentially since the election began.

New Mexico -- another formerly red state -- also was projected to go for Obama.

In Pennslyvania, the state that gave John McCain perhaps his only chance to win, Obama was quickly declared the projected winner.

The win in the Keystone State delivers a massive blow to McCain's campaign, which had spent significant time in the state over the last two weeks.

"The McCain campaign strategy for victory has crashed," MSNBC's Chris Matthes said as soon as the network made its projection.

The Republican candidate's strategy had largely been predicated on his chances to take Pennsylvania from Obama. His failure to do so leaves him an extremely narrow path to victory.

CNN, Fox News and ABC also projected an Obama win in Pennsylvania, once votes began coming in.

Obama also won New Hampshire, further upsetting McCain's hopes of an upset.

Networks projected solidly blue Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts would remain in Obama's column while Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia would continue to back the Republican candidate.

Among the most interesting picture was beginning to emerge in Indiana, a state that has been among the most solidly Republican for decades. Obama, from bordering Illinois, was holding close with McCain in early tallies and substantially outperforming John Kerry's showing in the state four years ago. An hour after polls there closed, no votes had yet been tallied in Democratic strongholds like Indianapolis, Bloomington or the state's northwestern counties that border Chicago.

Several others remained too close to call, with Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia as the most closely watched states of the early poll closings. A few traditionally red states, like Alabama and Missouri, were not projected for McCain as soon as polls closed.

At 11 p.m. polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington state.


The following updated map was created by MSNBC: