Overnight Barack Hussien Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, opening a new chapter in the country’s history as the first African-American to hold the world’s most important job.
Americans emphatically elected Democrat Senator Barack Obama in a transformational election which will reshape US politics and the US role on the world stage.
Senator Obama, 47, will be inaugurated January 20, 2009, and inherit an economy mired in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a nuclear showdown with Iran.
Television networks projected his victory over Republican John McCain after Senator Obama solidified traditional Democratic states and cut deep into the Republican territory which his rival needed to control to win the White House.
Obama’s win was greeted with euphoria by a vast crowd gathered in his home city of Chicago, as his supporters, screamed, waved American flags as they waited for him to arrive to deliver his victory speech.
New York’s Times Square exploded in joy at a moment of healing for America’s racial scars, a huge crowd gathered outside the White House and the result immediately reverberated around the world.
Democrats also made ground in Congress and will hold an unshakable monopoly in power in Washington after a rare generational and political realignment.
Senator McCain was gracious in defeat, and noted that his election was a moment to cherish for African Americans.
“The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love,” he said.
“Though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours,” he told a crowd of supporters in Phoenix in his home state of Arizona.
President George W. Bush who has steered his country through eight turbulent years by stumbling from one disaster to another also congratulated Senator Obama.
“Mr president-elect, congratulations to you,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino quoted the president as saying in a phone call to Senator Obama.
“What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. Laura and I called to congratulate you and your good bride.”
Senator Obama’s historic inauguration will complete a stunning ascent to the pinnacle of US and global politics from national obscurity just four years ago and close an eight year era of turbulence under controversial president, George W Bush.
Senator Obama is promising to renew bruised ties with US allies and to engage some of the most fierce US foes like Iran and North Korea. He has vowed to tackle climate change and provide health care to all Americans.
His presidency also marks a stunning social shift, with Senator Obama, the son of Kenyan father and white mother from Kansas, the first African American president of a nation still riven by racial divides.
Forty-five years after civil rights icon Martin Luther King laid out his “dream” of racial equality, Senator Obama’s election broke new barriers and may have helped heal the moral wounds left by slavery and the US civil war.
When he launched his campaign on a chilly day in Illinois in February 2007, Senator Obama forged a mantra of change which powered him throughout the longest, most costly US presidential campaign in history.
With a stunning grassroots political movement, powered by massive multi-million dollar fund raising, Senator Obama first beat Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party’s then pre-eminent political machine.
Senator Obama strode towards victory last night by capturing the states of Pennsylvania, the key battleground which Senator McCain needed to win to keep his long-shot hopes of victory alive.
In a sweet moment for Democrats, he also seized the mid-western battleground of Ohio and captured New Mexico and Iowa, two states won by Bush in 2004 to close out McCain’s possible route towards the White House.
He later added Ohio, the decisive state which swept Bush to victory in 2004 and another Republican state, Virginia, which had not voted Democrat since 1964.
He also won Florida, ground zero of the 2000 recount debacle and captured other Republican states including New Mexico and Iowa.
So far he has won 27 states including his home turf of Illinois for 338 electoral votes.
McCain has won 17 but had not broken out of the Republican heartland and the south.
Senator Obama had led national and battleground polls and had capitalized on the fear of Americans pitched into the deep financial crisis, especially as he appeared to be presidential in a string of debates.
McCain had argued that Obama was too inexperienced to be US commander in chief and would pursue “socialist” redistribution policies that would leave the economy mired in recession.
McCain, 72, an Arizona senator, would have been the oldest man ever inaugurated for a first term in the White House.
Tens of millions of people had earlier stood in long lines to cast votes with America locked in a moment of deep crisis, mired in the worst financial meltdown since the 1930s and waging two foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senator Obama gave early notice of the way the night would unfold by capturing the key northeastern state of Pennsylvania – McCain’s best hope of winning a Democratic state and stopping his rival from claiming the White House.
In the Senate, Democrats wrested control of five Republican seats including in the traditionally Republican state of Virginia, followed by New Hampshire, North Carolina and New Mexico.
Like billions of people across the globe, Mr Monkey feels safer knowing that George W Bush and his war-mongering associates will no longer be able to treat the American military as a private army to fulfil their own agenda.
Congratulations President Barack Hussien Obama!