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Sunday 29 May 2016

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Barack Obama is the next US president

By Jim Dee , in Boston, and Johnny McCambridge

Published 05/11/2008

Barack Hussein Obama
Stephanie Casillas takes a picture of Maya Landry, 3, in a John McCain mask and Alex Vincelette, 3, in an Obama mask while their preschool class visits the Arroyo Vista Park polling place in Moorpark, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/The Ventura County Star, James Glover II)
President-elect Barack Obama, left, his wife Michelle Obama, right, and two daughters, Malia, and Sasha, center left, wave to the crowd at the election night rally in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama kisses wife, Michelle, after his acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses supporters at a rally in Manassas, Va., Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
*** CORRECTS NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER *** University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students celebrate on the Alma Mater after Obama was announced the president-elect early Wednesday morning, Nov. 5, 2008 in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/The Daily Illini - Ramzi Dreessen)
Supporters of President-elect Barack Obama cheer in the streets in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Stacie Freudnberg)
Dennis Caudill, of Crown Point, Indiana, places a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the mantle at the home of Palin friends Brad and Kristan Cole, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Wasilla, Alaska. Caudill was part of a group of McCain supporters and friends from across the country gathered to watch election returns in Wasilla. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, is joined by Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, during a rally with supporters on election night in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Joan Crecca kisses a life size cutout of presidential candidate John McCain at the Republican election party in Bellevue, Wash on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Crecca's husband Joe was a POW in Viet Nam at the same time as McCain. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Barack Obama today won a stunning and historic victory in the American presidential election and then delivered a message to the world — change has arrived.

The 47-year-old senator from Illinois will become the first black president of the United States after he won a series of key battleground states during a night of high electoral drama.

During his victory address the president-elect told an audience of tens of thousands in Chicago that a “new dawn of American leadership is at hand”.

Defeated republican opponent John McCain paid gracious tribute to his opponent before urging his supporters to throw their weight behind the President-elect Obama and his running mate Joe Biden.

There were euphoric scenes across the nation as thousands of people poured onto the streets of major cities in the US to herald the result which could transform race relations.

Questions will now be asked about Mr Obama’s commitment to politics in Northern Ireland

with the US facing its worst economic crisis in 75 years and involved in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, he has already stated that he will retain the US special envoy to the province and has created a team of prominent Irish-American legislators to counsel him.

The election was settled as Mr Obama swept a series of battleground swing states leading to a landslide in the electoral college voting system. The first major blow to the 72-year-old McCain was when the Democrats held Pennsylvania. When Mr McCain also failed to win Ohio, it was clear that his White House bid would fail.

When California also declared for the Democrats at 4am UK time, it pushed Mr Obama through the 270 electoral vote mark which ensured he would become the 44th President of the United States. He will be sworn in on January 20.

Hours later he delivered a powerful speech in Chicago’s Grant Park where he was joined by wife Michelle and daughters Malia (10), and Sasha, seven.

He said: “The new dawn of America leadership is at hand. To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you.

“To those who seek peace and security, we support you.

“And to all those who have wondered if American's beacon still burns as bright, tonight we've proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope. That's the true genius of America.”

He went on: “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 than I am tonight that we will get there.

“I promise you, we, as a people, will get there.”

Many in the crowd were crying and even political pundits on major US TV networks wiped tears from their eyes as the man who could transform race relations in America ascended to the highest office in the land.

America is a place where all things are possible and the “dream of our founders” is alive, he said.

“We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

He said it was time to put “hands on the arc of history and bend it once more to the hope of a better day.

“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.

Earlier Mr McCain addressed subdued supporters in his home state of Arizona with running-mate Sarah Palin by his side and pledged to do everything he could to support Obama.

The former Vietnam prisoner of war said Mr Obama's victory was historic and had a particular significance for African Americans.

He said: “This is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.”

Mr McCain placed the blame for defeat squarely on his own shoulders, prompting chants of “No!” and “We want John” from the crowd. “We fell short. The failure is mine not yours,” he said.

There were joyous scenes in Kenya, the birthplace of Mr Obama’s father, which has declared tomorrow to be a national day of celebration.

World leaders have acclaimed the President-elect. Gordon Brown said: “The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is vital to our prosperity and security.

“Barack Obama ran an inspirational campaign, energising politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future.”

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