THIS IS OUR MOMENT; 250,000 Delighted Supporters Cheer Barack Obama's Historic Victory Speech DAY THE WORLD REALY CHANGD Tears of Emotion from the Barack Faithful
FOR millions worldwide it will for ever be the moment they stood witness to history - as America's first black president strode to the podium and declared victory.
The speech was everything the world has come to expect from Barack Obama.
Powerful, passionate, inspirational.
Obama, 47, told the jubilant 250,000- strong crowd in Grant Park: "It's been a long time coming but tonight, because of what we did on this day, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even 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."
But somehow it was not the brilliance of his rhetoric that bought a lump to the throat on this most emotional of nights.
It was the faces of those in the huge crowd who wept and laughed, cheered and sobbed and then chanted along with Obama as he repeated his optimistic mantra of: "Yes, we can!"
America's proudest boast has always been that it has moulded its many races and cultures into a single unified nation.
Suddenly, here among this vast crowd was the proof. Black faces and white faces.
Asian faces and Hispanic faces. Young people and old. Male and female.
As the world's TV cameras panned across the crowd they settled on veteran black civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson - tears streaming down his face. A few feet away was an elderly lady, a huge smile on her face as Obama promised: "I'll never forget who this victory truly belongs to.
It belongs to you. It belongs to you."
As his victory rally ended, celebrations were already under way in many cities across America. InWashington hundreds took to the streets near the White House, carrying balloons, banging drums and chanting: "Bush is gone!" Meanwhile, the newly elected 44th president of the United States was taking daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven, to school.
Then he managed a quick work out in the gym before he and wife Michelle grabbed a few hours away from the limelight.
The man who he will replace, George W Bush, was quick to acknowledge the historic nature of the election.
He said: "It will be a stirring sight to see President Obama, his wife Michelle and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House.
"I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride at this inspiring moment." Colin Powell, the black Republican politician, who had endorsed Democrat Obama for the White House, said he would be "a president for all America".
He added: "The fact he is also black has turned America on, it's very emotional.'"
Condoleezza Rice, Bush's secretary of state, said: "This was an exercise in democracy of which Americans across the political spectrum are justifiably proud. As an African-American, I'm especially proud,"
In THE UK, Gordon Brown said he relished the chance to work with Obama.
He added: "Barack Obama ran an inspirational campaign, energising politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future. I know Barack Obama and we share many values."
Obama won around 52 per cent of the vote compared to Republican John McCain's 46 per cent.
He is the first Democrat to get more than half since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
By last night Obama had 349 electoral college votes to McCain's 147, with three states still too close to call. He needed 270 to win the election.
Voter turnout, still being counted, is expected to shatter records.
The Democrats also triumphed in the elections to Congress, which took place at the same time as the presidential poll.
By last night they had a majority of more than 30 seats in the House of Representatives and at least 56 in the Senate.
HIS HISTORIC SPEECH edited version of the 17min oration
IF THERE is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. …