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As it happened: How the results came in

Obama makes victory speech

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

By Jude Sheerin

0618 Well, that's it from me - thanks for following our results coverage on the night history was made in the United States. This live page coverage will continue throughout Wednesday with analysis, anecdotes and reaction from around the world. Enjoy.

And if you haven't already, please refresh your browser as our live video stream has now ended and we have a nice new picture at the top of the page.

0610 Earlier this morning Barack Obama made his acceptance speech to a huge adoring crowd in Chicago, before being joined on stage by his wife and children.

0605 Israeli-US relations face "a bright future", Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says in reaction to Obama's win.

0559 Analysts expect Obama to put his official economic team together quickly, perhaps by 15 November, when he is expected to join President Bush at a major summit in Washington to discuss the global financial crisis.

0557 It's very early morning in America but despite all the talk of unity tonight from both candidates, there was booing at Obama's name during McCain's concession speech. That could signal a brief honeymoon for the new president, who takes office in January.

comment from blogger
A reader, The Atlantic blog: I feel so much hope.  I feel so much pride. I feel like my one vote was a single drop of water in a great Tsunami of change. I feel like I was one of a million voices screaming in the night, "I love my country and I'm taking it back!" I'm so proud of the country that I love and have so much hope in my heart that we can together heal the wounds that have been such a source of pain and anger to us all. Read more on The Atlantic.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: At the moment, there are five uncalled states. Those five are Alaska, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, and Montana. Without them the Electoral College stands at 338 for Obama to 155 to McCain. According to current vote totals, Obama has slim leads in both North Carolina and Indiana. Should he carry those two, and lose Montana, Alaska, and Indiana, he would be at 364 electoral votes. Why is that number significant? Why because that is what we predicted in the Uni V.a Center for Politics' Crystal Ball, of course! Don't believe us? See it yourself at The Crystal Ball

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TheMBC tweets: President-Elect Barack Obama, I like it. Read TheMBC's tweets.

comment from blogger
Jonathan Martin, Politico blog: It was plainly a difficult moment for a man who has eyed the presidency for decades and has now lost two White House runs. And for the few thousand friends and supporters who gathered in the massive courtyard at Phoneix's Biltmore hotel - where McCain married his wife, Cindy - it was a disappointing night. Read more on Politico.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: The Obama crowd looks like modern America. This they have to face and accept in Strongsville, Ohio and Pottsville, Pennsylvania and a thousand other small towns across the nation. The question now - can Obama reach out to Pottsville? He will try. Will they reach out to him?

e-mail sent in by reader
Erick Dillard in Virginia, United States says: My family came here as slaves in 1703. For the first time in my life I feel like an American. No longer a black American, just an American. This is a toast to America, may we be truly one nation and one nationality. More of your comments.

0531 We're still awaiting results from Montana, Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina. But whatever the outcome in those four states, Obama will be president.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Sarasota, Florida: The next president has just finished speaking, watched by the Democratic faithful at their party here. Plenty of moist eyes; a mood of elation, exhaustion and not a little disbelief. People shouting "yes we can". A grinning man in a beery "change" t-shirt grins and says "NOW it begins".

e-mail sent in by reader
Kyle Holter in Sugar Grove, United States says :I am completely ashamed right now. Those who support Obama to not see beyond his empty words and charismatic ways. His views are borderline, if not, socialistic. More of your comments.

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dpolitis tweets: Certainly an historic day and moment. May Obama's actions ring as loud as his words. Read dpolitis' tweets.

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Ezra Klein, The American Prospect blog:September 11 has not disappeared from our memory, of course, but we have recovered from the blow. We have forgotten how it felt to be afraid, and so, yesterday, we forgot to vote our fears. And in doing, we have elected a black president with a Muslim name. Fear again proved but a temporary detour from our history's long arc toward justice. Read more on The American Prospect.

0519 Obama finishes to one of his signature preacher-like crescendos: "While we breathe, we hope. Where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us we can't, we will reply: Yes we can." Joe Biden, the new vice-president-elect has joined Obama on stage.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: You watch Obama making his speech - cogent and thoughtful and, to many Americans, profoundly moving. And you wonder: how long does this last? Four years like Carter? Eight years and longer like Reagan? Odd seeing Jesse Jackson in the crowd. Secretary of State? Only kidding.

0515 Obama tells story of a 106-year-old black woman who cast her vote in Atlanta, Georgia. He says he thinks of all the "heartache and hope" she has seen during her American century. There's scarcely a dry eye in the crowd. They are taking up the campaign chant: "Yes we can".

0512 Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is heading back to Alaska, according to her spokeswoman, Tracey Schmitt. The governor has two years remaining in her first term and could then run for re-election if she chose. Palin also has a busy family time coming, she will be a grandma soon. Her daughter Bristol is due to give birth in about six weeks.

0512 McCain's concession speech: viewed by commentators as gracious and typical of the man who has made a career of reaching across the political divide.

0510 Obama's already launched his campaigning for 2012! He says they might not meet all those challenges America faces in one term.

0509 Obama: What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

0507 Obama says his supporters understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead, the "greatest of our lifetime", amid two wars and a once-in-a-century financial crisis.

0505 Obama thanks his team for running the "best campaign in the history of politics", but says the victory belongs to his supporters.

0505 Obama thanks running mate Joe Biden and the nation's next first lady, "the rock of my life", Michelle Obama. He tells his daughters: "You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House." He also says: "I know my grandmother's watching."

0503 Obama says: "McCain has endured sacrifices for America that most of us can never imagine, he is a brave and selfless leader."

0502 Obama continues: "Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of individuals, we are and always will be the United States of America." He adds: "It's been a long time coming, but change has come to America."

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mylkqueen tweets: I didn't think it would happen in my life time, but it has. Now, I wait to see what Obama will do. America is a hot mess that needs cleanup. Read mylkqueen's tweets.

0501 Obama says: "If there's anyone out there who still doubts whether America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer."

0459 America's new First Family walks on stage. Barack Obama with his wife Michelle and two daughters Malia and Sasha.

0458 Obama has arrived at Grant Park in Chicago and is on stage to address a delirious crowd.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: Looking at the McCain crowd in Arizona, you realise that the Republican party is in trouble. To base a party on white and elderly and socially conservative people is to base a party on a dwindling electoral resource. To manage to lose Hispanic people, as McCain appears to have done, is beyond careless. The Republicans will find someone to gather a new coalition together but it will not be Sarah Palin.

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lyneration tweets: No words to describe this feeling. Amazing. Thank you America for making the right choice. Read lyneration's tweets.

The BBC's China correspondent James Reynolds, in Beijing: Have just been watching news of the Obama victory on Chinese TV (it's the second story here after an update on a trip to Taiwan by a senior Chinese official). If you're Chinese, what do you think of Mr Obama's win ? What will it mean for US-China relations ?

0453 Immediate impact of the result on election merchandise: The price of a "McCain-Palin Victory '08" T-shirt has plunged from $15 to $2, reports the BBC Washington bureau.

0451 More details from Bush's phone call with Obama: He told his successor: "I promise to make this a smooth transition. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself." Bush also extended an invitation for the president-elect and his family to visit the White House soon, at their convenience.


e-mail sent in by reader
Amy Scullane in Boston, United States says: I find myself strangely emotional about this. I want to go wake up my neighbours and hug them, and I'm a 30-something white woman. I can only imagine what this must feel like for African Americans. More of your comments.

0448 In Kenya, Barack Obama's friends and relatives have been celebrating his victory.

0443 What next for the Republicans? A very ugly blame game and deep soul-searching may ensue. After the party was briefly recast in the image of a maverick bipartisan, the GOP may now face some tough questions.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in Pennsylvania with the Republicans: Chris Brennan, a Pennsylvania Republican says: I gotta tell you it could have been a lot worse. The Democrats don't have sixty seats in the senate. I am not happy with the result but it was tough sledging out there for us this year.

0436 World leaders are beginning to send their plaudits and who else would be first to lunge for the hotline but Nicolas Sarkozy, France's hyper-president, who has already congratulated Obama on his "brilliant victory".

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: If the remaining states that are too close to call stay Republican (since all uncalled states are traditional red ones), the electoral map will be mostly changed at the margins. but spots of Blue in North Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri would be undeniable inroads into deeply Republican territory.

0433 Could it be that with the election of its first black president, the Land of the Free may have gone some way to atoning for its original sin: slavery?

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lynnftw tweets: I am so glad my vote for Obama helped turn Virginia blue!!! Read lynnftw's tweets.

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Sara in the United States says:Can't stand the man, but he is our President Elect and I must respect that. More of your comments.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania republicans applaud loudly as John McCain pays tribute to Sarah Palin in his concession speech.

0429 Outgoing President George W Bush has telephoned Obama to congratulate him on his "awesome night," says White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

0426 McCain gets his biggest cheer as he thanks Gov Sarah Palin, who is standing by his side, beaming. Palin 2012 it is, then.

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mellanella tweets: thinks McCain's concession speech is very classy...like the old McCain I respected. Read mellanella tweets.

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Kevin Ritch in New York says: Excellent result. Brilliant. More of your comments.

0425 McCain is very gracious in defeat: He urges all his supporters to congratulate Obama and find ways to come together as Americans, putting aside differences. Chants of "USA! USA!" McCain reminds everyone, a little late, why they liked him so much.

0424This is the moment it became clear Barack Obama was going to be the next president of the US.

Democratic donkey
0422 Obama is projected to win the key battleground state of Florida. He has 333 electoral votes, on the way to a landslide.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix:Sarah Palin and John McCain on stage now here in Arizona, giving his concession speech. His voice is breaking.

Republican elephant
0420 McCain concedes, telling an unhappy crowd he has congratulated Obama by telephone; he has to silence a chorus of boos.

0419 In Kenya, there are some very nervous fattened cattle right now. The BBC's Karen Allen in Kogelo says the celebrations are in full swing there. The small rural western village was where the new US president's father, who died in a car crash when Obama was young, used to herd goats.

comment from blogger
Ross Douthat, The Atlantic blog: I don't think there are any words adequate to the occasion of America electing its first black President, so I'll just say this: This may be a bleak day for the Republican Party and for conservatism, but come what may in the years ahead, it's a great day for our country. Barack Obama deserves congratulations, tonight, but so does the nation he's about to govern: We've come a long, long way. Read more on The Atlantic.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix: We expect McCain out soon. We're at the main party, a few metres from the stage. I just spoke to John Voigt the actor and father of Angelina Jolie, who said he's proud of John McCain and hands his congratulations to, as he put it, President Obama.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Sarasota, Florida: Wild jubilation at the Democratic party here. People dancing, crying, screaming. A projection appears on screen that Sarasota County - which has not voted for a Democrat since 1944 - is backing Obama. The noise is thunderous.

0412 McCain, the man who once said the only cure for presidential ambitions was embalming fluid, must be looking every one of his 72 years right now at his Arizona eyrie, haunted by the Banquo's ghost-like legacy of George Bush, at the coronation banquet that never was, reflecting on the sound and fury of a campaign that came to nothing.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: No need for legal action in Virginia - but the celebrations of an Obama win there seem to me to speak more of a changing America than of Obama managing to triumph in an unlikely place. Virginia is a changed state - it has grown by 50% in 10 years. Those newcomers are not your granny's Virginians. Virginia looks and feels different. And as Virginia goes, so goes the nation - this is the immutable fact which wise Republicans (Pawlenty et al) grasp. Unwise Republicans think abortion and gay bashing and gun toting can still win them the future…

comment from blogger
Joshua Marshall, Talking Points Memo blog: Barack Obama: 44th President of the USA. It's over. Read more on Talking Points Memo.

0409 Many years from now, political science students will still be debating how a black guy from a broken home beat a war hero and ex-beauty queen to the US presidency. How did a freshman senator with such a flimsy resume out-hustle two of the most formidable machines in American politics: the Clintons and the conservative right? Bill Clinton's scathing dismissal of the Obama story as a "fairytale" during the primaries has turned out to be ironically prescient.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: On every level America will be changed by this result - its impact will be so profound that the nation will never be the same. In a sense, the policy changes could be the least of it. It's the way the nation sees itself that will change. And the way outsiders see America. To think some ignorant folk think US elections are all about balloons and nonsense. To think some ignorant folk think America is not capable of change.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: And with that: victory. And with that: defeat. With California, Washington, Hawaii, and Oregon all projected firmly in Obama's camp, it is all over. In January, this country will swear in its first African-American president, Barack Obama.

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chrisrevon tweets: Oh yeah Obama is the President of the US. Read chrisrevon's tweets.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Obama now appears to be paused mid-step over the threshold. There are a number of states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, and others) where it remains too close to call. The bad news for McCain: those are all states that went Republican in 2000 and 2004!

0404 The Big Enchilada, California, with a whopping 55 electoral votes, has propelled Obama to victory! The Democrat has also notched up a seismic win in Virginia; a truly epochal result. Virginia contains Richmond, once the capital of the Confederate slave states; it hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1964. This is a state where, as recently as 1961, Obama's parents' mixed marriage would have been ruled illegal.

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drimington tweets: Congratulations President Obama - Enjoy your victory tonight - The real work will be upon you soon enough. Read drimington's tweets.

0401 Obama is projected to cross the 270 electoral vote threshold to become the 44th president of the United States!

0400 Polls are about to close in Idaho (expected to go for McCain), but also in Hawaii, Oregon, California and Washington, (tipped for Obama) which would give Obama 77 electoral votes, thrusting him over the threshold of victory and into the history books.

comment from blogger
Ben Smith, Politico blog:Oprah Winfrey told reporters at Grant Park that a President Barack Obama "doesn't even feel real. I am going to try not to fall down and cry," Winfrey said, describing what she would do when she sees Obama, Carrie Budoff Brown reports. Read more on Politico.

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rholland50 tweets: Let's try this for size: President Obama. Joe the Vice President. Read rholland50's tweets.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson, Downing Street, London: I've been at the American Embassy party with the British political classes. Both main parties here have been trying to claim an Obama victory for themselves. Everyone's racing to get close to Obama, to hang onto his coat tails. I believe that in a few hours time, if Obama is confirmed as president-elect, Gordon Brown and David Cameron will both try to claim the victory for themselves.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix:The party here in Phoenix is underway, and the drinks are flowing. There's a good atmosphere, but I can't find any sense of fun. There are still many thousands here, but they know they are on the losing side. I just chatted to a senior Republican here who said that while the figures are not all in yet, the "trend" is clear. She said however that there is no way McCain will lose Arizona. One speaker on stage said he doesn't give up until all the votes are in, for which he received a huge cheer, but it sounded pretty hollow.

0351 Unconfirmed report that McCain will speak soon, but not necessarily to concede.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in Pennsylvania: As Fox News are projecting that Barack Obama has carried Virginia, a Rrepublican official from Cumberland County takes the microphone and tells the party faithful that he hasn't given up on Pennsylvania yet. Keep the faith he tells the crowd, only 40% of the votes have been counted, wait till 100% are in.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: It looks as if the Democrats will NOT get to the 60/40 Senate majority that would have allowed a sweeping of the boards. Someone at the McCain wake has told an AP reporter: "I'm very afraid that we're going to lose our freedoms, that the country will be controlled by almost a dictator." That person will be relieved - or should be - by the Senate results. One senator can hold up legislation - unless crushed by the 60/40 supermajority. Dictatorship might be held at bay...

Gavin Hewitt
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt, in Chicago: The mood in the crowd here at Grant Park is that the election is won. They believe that the projected wins for Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio have clinched it. Even so it may be some time before we see Barack Obama. He won't appear before polls have closed on the west coast. Otherwise it disenfranchises Californians.

0344 Potentially very big development: Fox projects an Obama win in Virginia.

0343 The race is tick-tock tight in North Carolina; with 86% of precincts counted, it's 49% for McCain and 49.5% for Obama. To use another Ratherism, the race there is "hotter than the Devil's anvil".

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Liisa in Syvasalmi, Helsinki says:Hello from Finland! Me and my friend are still up - it's 5am! We simply couldn't sleep, this is too exciting! Really hoping Obama will win. More of your comments.

0339 Some networks are calling South Dakota for McCain. Again no surprise.

0338 Nebraska is projected, as expected, for McCain, although the state is one of two (the other is Maine) which does not operate a winner-takes-all rule, so Obama could still pick up a couple of the five electoral votes up for grabs there.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: One place where much was made of Obama's surge was North Dakota. In the end, it wasn't even close. With 50% of the precincts in, McCain is winning by over 17%.

comment from blogger
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic blog:So how did Obama win Ohio? Obama showed up. He went to places that John Kerry couldn't afford to go. He campaigned in 18 different counties versus Kerry's nine. He had twice the number of field offices and three times the number of staffers. In a place like suburban Cincinnati's Butler County, Obama had more field offices and staff than Kerry had... in 2004. Read more on The Atlantic.

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kikarose tweets: Close friend has ticket to see Obama speak tonight. We are insanely jealous. Read kikarose's tweets.

0330 Reuters is reporting that Senate Democrats appear certain to fall short of a 60-seat super-majority, according to senior Democratic aides.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Sarasota, Florida: Democrats at their campaign party here have started to relax. One lady told me she felt as if she had been holding her breath for weeks and was finally daring to breathe again.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: While the electoral map clearly favours Obama at this moment, there is one interesting sign for Republicans: the popular vote. The popular vote is almost as tight as can be, hovering around 51% for Obama and 49% for McCain. Considering many observers had projected margins of victory for Obama in the 5-7% range, that's a deficit many Republicans can live with.

0325 Back to the Senate elections, Fox News is projecting that Republican incumbent Sen Roger Wicker has won in Mississippi, beating back a strong challenge by Democrat Ronnie Musgrove.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in Pennsylvania with the Republicans: Two former Hillary Clinton supporters are watching dolefully. Linda Peifer and her daughter Laurie Hess are disappointed. We are concerned by Obama's affiliations, says Laurie. What will his connections with the Palestinians mean for his policy towards Israel? And who is funding him? Where are these billions of dollars coming from? He is way too liberal, says Laurie, and I don't like what his tax plans will do for my small renewable energy business.


justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: How satisfying for Obama that he - apparently - is going to take Iowa. Mainly white, wholly un-Kenyan, yet willing to take this guy to their hearts. Iowa is one of my favourite places - Des Moines is a wonderfully laid-back city and the state, in the January snow, glistens like a Christmas scene. He met them, they liked him, and they support him - that's the mid-western way. The race issue is interesting here as well - in states where there are few black people and no economic competition between the races, he sails home.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: With Ohio off the table and in the Obama column, all eyes turn to the Congress. Senate races have broken for Dems with big gains reminiscent of the 2006 cycle. Looking for drama? The real question is whether there will be a surprise upset that will deliver to Democrats that landmark 60th seat.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix:There are some young Republicans talking about 2012. They have read the writing on the wall. One network says McCain and Palin are meeting at the moment. That would be fun to see.

e-mail sent in by reader
Ali Bin Zahid, Ottawa, Canada says: Not pleased with how things have gone so far. Yes, Obama was the favourite to win, but I was hoping for different results in a couple of states. Can McCain take California? More of your comments.

Jane Hamsher
Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake blog reports great excitement from the left hemisphere of the blogosphere about Sen Elizabeth Dole's defeat by Kay Hagen, citing LibertyAir's post - "Libby Dole's disgusting campaign at the end torpedoed her race."

0306 Some networks are calling Texas, as expected, for McCain. Perhaps in the home of the cowboy, they thought the Democrat was all hat and no cattle. Meanwhile, the Mormon-majority state of Utah is also projected for McCain.

0302 Obama is immediately formally projected to win in Iowa; if he doesn't it'll be a big upset. Analysts say McCain did not help his cause in Iowa by barely concealing his opposition to ethanol subsidies and a farm bill; he also hardly showed up there to contest it during the Republican primaries. But the state backed Bush in 2004 so it's a turnover.

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mallmus tweets: Are there ANY McCain supporters in my Twitter feed?! Read mallmus' tweets.

0259 Obama has built a commanding lead and his election as 44th president of the United States is beginning to look inevitable, according to the way the pundits are talking.

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Tenetia Cleare, Nassau, Bahamas says: We are following the election and we are all very excited. We have been selling pictures, mugs, t-shirts, shoes and accessories. We all hope that Barack Obama wins. More of your comments.

Kevin Connolly
The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in Chicago: An Obama victory would mean that the age of internet politics has truly begun. In future everyone will raise funds, recruit volunteers and organise campaigns just as Obama has this time around. But my colleague met a Republican who voted for McCain today but who bought his ticket for the Grant Park rally on an internet classified ad site for $150. Look carefully at the TV pictures. He'll be the guy who's not cheering.

The BBC's Michael Buchanan, in Denver, Colorado: A Republican official here has just told a growing crowd of supporters "We are not conceding anything but regardless of what happens you should walk away from here knowing you are on the right side of liberty, the right side of freedom." A knowing sense that things have not gone well?


Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington:Barack Obama is now poised just 70 electoral votes from the presidency. Bear in mind California itself has 55 electoral votes. That's 15 votes Obama needs in all the states that have yet to be called, if you only assume California will be Democratic. Add in the other West Coast states of Washington (11) and Oregon (7) and he is there. And that's without Hawaii and a pile of other states in which Obama is favoured.

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wihakn tweets: Only 70 more electoral votes needed for Obama! Read wihakn's tweets.

0250 Republicans in Ohio have conceded the state, which has picked the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1964.

Democratic donkey
0248 US networks are projecting Obama has prised the battleground state of New Mexico from the Republicans' grasp.

Gavin Hewitt
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt, in Chicago: Suddenly Ohio may be end game. Having lost there and in Pennsylvania his path to the White House is all but closed. The crowd here knows it and are waiting to give the biggest cheer of the night. One observation about Pennsylvania. When we were there we we told again and again that the white working class would not vote for him. There were warnings that race would play a part. Doesn't seem to have happened.


The BBC's Adam Brookes, in Chicago:In Grant Park, under the big screen, a group of law students sit with their laptops, studying. They look up and clap as results come in, then go back to their work. So diligent these Obama voters.

0243 How disappointing; I had harboured vain hopes of using some quotes from former CBS news anchor Dan Rather about the race being as tight as "a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach" or tighter than "rusted lug nuts on a '55 Ford." But the race isn't even close so far.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix: The bar at what I'm calling the C-list Republican party here in Phoenix is doing a roaring trade.

The BBC's Philippa Thomas, in Ohio: Ohio's Republican state party chairman Bob Bennett has just publicly conceded: "We were against one of the best organised campaigns the opposition has ever put on in Ohio and we have to give them credit for that". He's not conceding the state - he says it could be a few hours yet - but in the series of speeches at this event, nobody, but nobody, has used the word "victory".

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix:More and more people are arriving at this election party for John McCain. I just bumped into a senior republican official from Arizona who says the figures "are not looking good". She said we may well know the general thread of this election in an hour and a half, "or if it's really bad" even earlier.

0233 If Obama has won Ohio, it probably comes down to his vaunted get-out-the-vote ground operation, he had nearly twice as many offices in the state as McCain, a staffing superiority replicated across much of the country. As Napoleon said: "God is on the side of the big battalions."

Gavin Hewitt
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt, in Chicago:The mood in Chicago edges towards celebration. A huge cheer a few moments ago that the Democrats appear to have won a vital Senate seat in North Carolina. Have just spoken to Rev Jesse Jackson. He echoes what people have been saying so often in the past few days. There are many people living who remember black voters being attacked. He believes America is a changed country. A huge cheer for the projection that Obama has won Michigan. No real surprise. There are signs that 10% of voters made their minds up in past week. That might help John McCain. But for over 60% the economy was their dominant concern and that must have helped Barack Obama.

0229 Obama's success in Ohio would avenge not only the Kerry and Gore defeats but also his loss to Clinton during the primary, a defeat that underscored Obama's struggle to attract working-class white voters.

The BBC's Adam Brookes, in Chicago:Downtown Chicago, Michigan avenue, is a teeming mass of people. Atmosphere is surprisingly calm.


0226 Big news! Obama's formally projected to have won Ohio. What will the state's most famous son, Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the (unlicensed) Plumber, make of that? Looks like the state's voters have told Joe to pipe down.

0223 Crowds in Chicago are growing excited as their candidate stretches his lead. They say a million or so could be out on the streets tonight.

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waugaman tweets: oh oh oh oh! bbc republican blogger/analyst just mentioned twitter. evidently the twiterati have called the election in favour of obama! Read waugaman's tweets.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Fox just called Ohio for Obama. Let me repeat. Ohio for Obama. If this holds up, that spells the end for McCain's chances. It would take a true mathematical wizard to chart McCain's path for victory without either Ohio or Pennsylvania. One caveat (and it is an important one): still only 5% of the precincts have reported their votes. For the next hour (at least!) all eyes will be trained on Ohio.

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jkrohrs tweets: Chuck Todd on MSNBC: "Until Obama flips one of the swing states (OH FL IN VA MO) the folks in Grant Park should cool their heels." Read jkrohrs' tweets.

0212 Obama is also projected to have beaten McCain in Wisconsin, which would net him another 10 electoral votes, and leave him less than 100 electoral votes away from becoming president. More than half of those remaining needed votes could come from California, which the Democrat is expected to take with ease.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in Pennsylvania: All Republican eyes are glued to Fox News, which is being shown on a vast screen. Fox has now called Pennsylvania for Obama, and the mood here is stoical. But they haven't even counted all the votes, say party members. Fox news say Ohio is too close to call, not welcome news for the footsoldiers here.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: Fascinating tales from Virginia - a Democratic lawyer tells me that litigation may follow if they lose the state: sophisticated efforts have been made to derail their victory, they claim, involving a double computer hack.

0207 So no major upsets so far: Obama's wins have generally been in the north-eastern states, where he had been expected to show strength, while McCain has taken the red states he had been tipped to bag.

Kevin Connolly
The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in Chicago: Even without the presence of the candidate, who won't be joining us for some hours yet, Grant Park is an extraordinary place this evening - a blazing bowl of light edged with towering skyscrapers. The lights in the window of one building facing the stage about a mile across the darkness of the park are spelling out the letters "USA". News of significant Obama advances, like the network projections he will take Pennsylvania are greeted with an earthquake of noise that would have frightened the Beatles offstage.

0203 Another bunch of states are closing, including Colorado and New Mexico, which went Republican last time, and the blue states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Obama is projected to take Michigan, Wisconsin and New York, while North Dakota is called for McCain.

Democratic donkey
0201 Huge crowds cheer in downtown New York as the state is projected for Obama.

0158 John McCain was in reflective mood on board his plane heading to his Phoenix, Arizona HQ. "We've had a great ride, we've had a great experience and it's full of memories that we will always treasure". Does that sound like a man confident of victory?

0152 There are reports of record young voter turnout, which could well favour Obama. According to CNN exit polls, young people made up 21% of all voters in the important state of Virginia - one in every five voters - up from 17% in 2004.

0150 Arkansas, also being projected for McCain, backed local boy Bill Clinton in 1992 and Carter in '76, but voted for Reagan and both Bushes. Oddly, it has a Democratic governor and both senators are Democrats. Another local boy, Sam Walton, founded Wal-Mart, headquartered in the state.

The BBC's Michael Buchanan, with Republicans in Denver, Colorado: With polls just about to close, there is a mood of despondency among Republicans. The state has only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once in the past 40 years (in 1992) but the sense here is that its about to opt for Obama.

Republican elephant
0145 Some networks are calling Georgia, as expected, for McCain.


tweet
donmball tweets: Wife's Kenyan co-worker says everyone back home is crazy for Obama like he's their own president. Read donmball's tweets.

Republican elephant
0143 McCain's latest projected win, Alabama, has voted Republican seven times in a row. It is where Rosa Parks started the civil rights movement in 1957 when she refused to move to the back of a segregated bus. In 1963, riots in Birmingham provoked JFK to back legislation which later became the Civil Rights Act.

comment from blogger
Michelle Malkin, Michelle Malkin blog:So much for those bitter, clingy racists, eh? I can tell you this much: The Senate Republicans need a wake-up call. We need fresh, conservative leadership. McConnell had his chance. Read more on Michelle Malkin's blog.

0140 NBC is calling the hard-fought state of Indiana, where polls have been very close, for McCain. We'll keep you posted.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: There haven't been many surprises so far. Of course, this is bad news for Republicans. For Republicans to keep the house from burning down, they will need some surprises - and soon! Still, sometimes it is best to have the whole thing burn down and build it up again from scratch..

0139 Virginia, which has not voted for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, remains too close to call.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan, in Pennsylvania Rob Gleason, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican party, has just addressed the faithful here at the Radisson hotel and said to cheers: "Some of the networks have called this state but let's see what happens, I am still optimistic."

comment from blogger
Katharine Q Seelye, New York Times blog, The Caucus:According to exit polls, about a quarter of people in Pennsylvania said race was a factor — but it was a positive force. Six in 10 of those who said race was a factor said they voted for Mr Obama. Read more on The Caucus.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: Big, big victories projected in North Carolina and New Hampshire for the Democrats now - is this the real sign of a massive shift in American politics: a possible 60:40 majority in the Senate that would allow any legislation to pass. It matters every bit as much as the presidential result…

Republican elephant
0132 Polls are closing in Arkansas, tipped to go for McCain. Meanwhile, Alabama is being projected, as expected, for McCain.

Kevin Connolly
The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in Chicago: The crowd that has been gathering all day around Grant Park was finally allowed in around an hour ago. They arrived cheering and screaming and racing across the fenced off area of grass in front of the open air stage in a good natured competition to get the best places. As they did so they offered a clue as to Obama's methods - he brought politics to the rock festival generation, and they rewarded him by bringing rock festival style energy to his campaign.

Republican elephant
0126 Of projections so far, Oklahoma has voted decisively Republican in every presidential election for 50 years, except in 1964 when it plumped for Democrat Lyndon Johnson. Tennessee has picked every president since Lyndon Johnson, but is considered firmly Republican. South Carolina has voted Republican every time since 1964, except for 1976 when it voted for Jimmy Carter.

tweet
lifa tweets: lots of excited people, quite a bit of cheering going on. it's all open area out here! Read lifa's tweets.

Democratic donkey
0125 Another possible Senate gain for the Democrats: Jeanne Shaheen is projected to have won the race in New Hampshire against Republican incumbent Sen John Sununu.

The BBC's Philippa Thomas, Ohio: Interesting line from Cincinnati in southern Ohio - the vice mayor there David Crowley tells me Ohio is going to be "razor thin". A Democrat, he says he's had truly remarkable African-American turnout in the city - but the Republicans have a good turnout in the suburbs. McCain has to take this slice of Ohio to take the state. Nail biting stuff.

0117 More bad news for the GOP: Republican Sen Elizabeth Dole - the wife of 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole - is thought to be on the way to being unseated in North Carolina.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: If the Reuters projection that Pennsylvania is won by Obama is true, the night has ended relatively early. There is nowhere else McCain can hide. His entire strategy has been to balance out likely losses of Bush states like Iowa and New Mexico by stealing Pennsylvania. It has, it seems, failed.

e-mail sent in by reader
Rameez in Islamabad says: I am sitting here in front of my PC. It is early morning here in Pakistan and the only source for the results of US elections is BBC website, keep up the good work. More of your comments.

0112 In Bill Ayers' first interview since he became an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, the former Weather Underground radical has told The Washington Post he had a distant relationship with Obama and that the Democrat's opponents had turned him into "a cartoon character".

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Not capturing Pennsylvania, which went Democratic Blue in 2004, means McCain must hold on to almost every single state Bush carried in 2004. This could be a tough task given the expanded playing field Obama has been playing on.


0110 Obama is also projected to win Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Tennessee and Oklahoma have been called for McCain. That would leave Obama powering into the lead on 103 electoral votes against 34 for McCain.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Pennsylvania in the Obama column is a huge win for Democrats. A Democratic victory means McCain wasted money he didn't have on a state he didn't win. It also hurts electorally, as the path narrows significantly for McCain.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: People talk about what it would mean for America if Barack Obama became president. I think the fact that his family, those two young black girls, would be the first family, would have a bigger impact.

0108 Obama's home state of Illinois is projected for the Democrat, along with Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and D.C. Other states are coming in thick and fast: look to the right of this page for the current total. It's 103-34 in favour of Obama as I write this.

Democratic donkey
0102 Big news - Obama is projected to win Pennsylvania; it a big result looks like the rust belt state's going to stay with the Democrats. McCain really wanted that one.

0100 The night is speeding up now because 16 states are closing: Missouri, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Oklahoma, Alabama, DC, Mississippi, New Jersey.

comment from blogger
Katharine Q Seelye, New York Times blog, The Caucus: Blacks make up about 13 percent of all voters, according to the preliminary exit polls, and that includes those who voted early. That's only marginally different from 2004, when they made up 11 percent of the electorate. Read more on The Caucus.

tweet
billschaller tweets: Obama is going to win! Have faith everyone! Read billschaller's tweets.

The BBC's Philippa Thomas, in Columbus, Ohio: Where's the party? Republicans told us the speeches and music would start as polls closed. A few brave souls are trickling in but this hotel ballroom is largely empty. Perhaps they're scared off by the neck-and-neck race in neighbouring Indiana - which should be as red as it gets.

Republican elephant
0056 A formal projection of South Carolina for McCain comes in; that would bring him eight electoral votes. It's also the home state of his active surrogate Sen Lindsey Graham, who is said to be on track for re-election in the state.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix, Arizona: John McCain has arrived back in Phoenix and is on his way - we hear - to this party. He chatted to reporters on his plane as he flew in. He's relaxed.

Republican elephant
0053 Some networks are calling South Carolina for McCain. It wouldn't be a surprise but again there's no confirmation yet.

Republican elephant
0051 On the final flight of "Straight Talk Air", McCain has bade farewell to the media pack. He said the campaign had been "a great experience, full of memories" and that he was "feeling good, feeling confident".

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: The Kentucky Senate race between incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford is looking like the first barnburner of the night. Almost half a million votes have been counted and McConnell's lead is just 500 votes.

tweet
miconian tweets: The idea that McCain could actually win suddenly becomes a chilling reality. Where is that unflappably optimism I felt yesterday? Read miconian's tweets.

0046 The BBC's Lisa Mitchell at the US Embassy in London says she's spotted UK former Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly with her arm around a cardboard cut-out of Obama. It seems the crowd there will do anything to fill time waiting for the big result.

comment from blogger
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic blog:As you read the exit polls and watch the precinct returns, remember that President Bush 's national margin over John Kerry among working class white voters (defined as whites without college degrees) was 23 points... Read more on The Atlantic.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: If Obama nears 50% of the white vote, he will likely win. The good news for Obama: he is far exceeding that.

0042 A couple of US TV networks are calling West Virginia, which has five electoral votes, for McCain. The Republican is expected to win there. But there has been no confirmation yet.

0039: US media is reporting that mid-western battleground Ohio is too close to call.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Early data suggests women voters are favouring Obama by large margins, while men voters are not leaning to McCain in numbers as high as initially projected.

e-mail sent in by reader
Colin in Western Australia says: I am avidly watching the Live Text updates from my desk, as it is the only information source available to me. America needs the level of change only a fresh generation can successfully bring about. More of your comments.

justin Webb
0033 BBC North America editor Justin Webb:The projection in Vermont - if it is a result, and it appears to be clear that Obama is going to win there - brings home how divided America is in terms of states and regions. It is slap up against New Hampshire, with its fierce attachment to freedom - such a culturally different place from Vermont, where toeless sandals and socks are the order of the day, and one of the congressional representatives calls himself a socialist.

tweet
emi1 tweets: obama needs to win this; our country needs him we can't afford another four yrs. we can't. Read emi1's tweets.

tweet
jstrevino tweets: As the results begin to roll in, I find myself hoping against hope for Senator McCain. Read jstrevino's tweets.

00:30 Polls are closing in West Virginia, the key battleground state of Ohio and North Carolina, which has also been fiercely targeted by the Obama campaign.

comment from blogger
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post blog, The Fix:Pennsylvania Gov Ed Rendell (D), during an appearance moments ago on MSNBC, predicted that Barack Obama would emerge with a 650,000-vote edge out of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs - an analysis that has set off speculation that John McCain will trail too badly in south-eastern Pennsylvania to make up the margin elsewhere. Read more on The Fix.

0025: At Grant Park in Chicago, where as many as one million people are expected later tonight to hail Obama, hordes of supporters are flooding in and they already seem to be celebrating.

0021: In the Senate race, if the Democrats get a filibuster-proof magic 60 senators and Obama is president, they could pass almost any bill they like. Some say it would be one-party rule; conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh would probably burst into flames with apoplexy.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Exit polls show Obama carrying both men and women on the national level, but take this with an extra large grain of salt. First, exit polls are notoriously unreliable. Second, even a national popular vote victory for one candidate is not enough to ensure them the presidency (see "US Presidential Election, 2000").

The BBC's Matt Wells, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, says: When the polling stations close at 8pm local time.,McCain supporters are due to fill this place, for what they hope is going to be a celebration - but the consistent polling picture suggests that they're going to be going to bed earlier than they'd like, and probably rather sober.

tweet
Keljo1991 tweets: I waited in line with older people who have NEVER VOTED BEFORE and are voting McCain! Read Keljo1991's tweets.

e-mail sent in by reader
Matt in Arlington, Texas says: Last year I became of legal age to vote and am proud to say that I voted for Barack Obama. For me it was an emotional experience and I felt fulfilled. More of your comments.

Republican elephant
0011: Considered solidly Republican, Kentucky would give McCain eight Electoral College votes. Bush won by 20 points there in 2004, although it has tended to vote for southern Democrats (eg: Carter and Clinton). The rural state is famous for its bourbon, tobacco, horses and coal. Obama was hammered there by Hillary Clinton.

Democratic donkey
0010: First blood in the Senate to the Democrats - Mark Warner winning Virginia from the Republicans.

Democratic donkey
0007: A solidly Democrat state, Vermont would give Obama three Electoral College votes. It has gone Democrat for the last four elections - John Kerry had a 20-point margin there in 2004. It is one of the least-populated states, one of the most liberal. It's wealthy, with high-tech industries, traditional cottage industries and tourism.

comment from blogger
Luke Russert, MSNBC's First Read blog:The dedication of Obama supporters has been a really interesting thing to watch. I spoke to one volunteer who personally knocked on the doors of an entire dorm to remind kids to get to the polls when they opened at 6 a.m. Read more on First Read.

0004: As expected, McCain is projected to win Kentucky while Vermont is projected to be going for Obama. Eight - three to McCain, but it's early doors.

0000: It starts to warm up now because polls are closing in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Indiana and Virginia. If McCain loses either of the last two, it could presage an electoral clobbering for the Republicans.

2356 : Some exit poll data fresh from the crucial state of Virginia: 51% of voters were personally contacted by an Obama campaign worker; 37% by McCain workers; 69% of voters say McCain unfairly attacked Obama; 46% say Obama unfairly attacked McCain; 59% say the economy is top issue, followed distantly by Iraq (12%), energy policy (10%), terrorism (9%) and health care (7%).

e-mail sent in by reader
Mark Solomon in Alicante, Spain, says: The incredible naivety of the Obama crowd just matches their candidate's inexperience. Over-expectations are laying the ground for massive failure and disappointment. More of your comments.

Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, in the BBC studio in Washington: Interested watchers will be inundated with a flood of information, but there are a few spots everyone should focus on. The real questions center around turnout and how high the Democratic wave will be. Stay tuned.

The BBC's Philippa Thomas, in Cleveland, Ohio: I'm at the Republican party HQ with an hour to go to close of polls. We have patriotic colours up, and a big banner declaring "Victory in Ohio", but it's all rather glum and empty so far. The turnout in Ohio has been predicted at 80% by the Democratic secretary of state, and Obama's people clearly hope the early vote has put this key swing state their way already. I'm going to hold fire - I was here four years ago - when the Democrats were certain they were putting John Kerry in the White House.

tweet
calebhays tweets: Exit polls are quirky and not usually right... Vote McCain & Palin before it's too late tonight! Read calebhays' tweets.

Larry Sabato
2341: Professor Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics is with us tonight live on BBC TV. We'll be highlighting some of his in-depth analysis and bringing it to you here on the live page. Look into Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

2339: From Time.com, an alternative view of the candidates from Benjamin Nugent, author of American Nerd: The Story of My People. He says: "[Obama] would be the guy the jocks didn't choose to towel-snap, but he would kind of stand there looking disapproving while they towel-snapped. Whereas McCain would be more likely to towel-snap you, and Sarah Palin would make out with the guy who towel-snapped you."

2335: While we're waiting for results, a thought on the 2008 battle for the White House: In the final analysis, the Obama campaign's tussle with the McCain camp seemed to amount to hedgerow guerrilla skirmishes, compared with the flame-throwing trench warfare the Illinois senator faced with Team Clinton.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The balloons are ready as Republicans get ready for what they hope will be a celebration. McCain campaign sources tell the BBC they are polling well in the south-west of the state and in the north-east, where Republicans hope to win the votes of conservative Democrats. All eyes here are on the early results from Virginia and Indiana to see what kind of a night this is going to be.

tweet
Regaltrash tweets: Wow voting was weird, for once I actually felt like I was a part of something huge, I voted the right choice & the only choice Obama. Read Regaltrash's tweets.

2323: The BBC's Lisa Mitchell - at the US Embassy in London - says actor Josh Hartnett is lending some much-needed glamour to the party night. The star, who is appearing in Rain Man in the West End, cast his ballot ages ago by post - for Obama.

2322: We've started streaming the live BBC TV election coverage at the top of this page. If you can't see it please refresh your browser and the video will be there when the page reloads. Enjoy.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price, in Phoenix, Arizona: John McCain is due back here in Phoenix shortly. Sarah Palin is on the way. The guests have started arriving for the "Victory" party. T-shirts with "McCain Palin Victory 2008" are selling for $15 each. How much will you be able to get for them this time tomorrow?

comment from blogger
Joshua Marshall, Talking Points Memo blog: We're getting in a flurry of exit poll data, some from official sources (the stuff you can see on the networks) and others leaked. You have to remember, the early unweighted 2004 exits were grossly inaccurate. So we're trying to plow through the numbers and try to sift the fog from the real information.

2310: The first polls have closed in parts of Indiana and Kentucky with no results yet.

tweet
jkozuch tweets: Latest robocall from RNC re: Castro-Obama "link" is disgusting. Shame, shame!!!

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: It's wonderful to see - and to meet - so many Americans taking this so seriously. This is a nation of fast food, of short attention spans, of busy busy people who in the past have been too busy to vote in anything but moderate numbers. In 2004, turnout was respectable; the nation expects 2008 to be a celebration of democracy.

2304: McCain has also compared himself to President Harry Truman, who was written off in 1948 the day before he beat a young, eloquent and over-confident Thomas Dewey. If McCain pulls this off, he will not just be a comeback kid - he'll be a political Lazarus.

e-mail sent in by reader
Jane in Illinois says: I voted for Barack Obama. Because we need equality to be worked toward and recognized. We need to be sure that our rights as people are valued and not ignored. More of your comments.

2255: Obama has often been compared to JFK, but he has more in common with another iconic lawyer-turned-politician who also launched his career in Springfield, Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, who, like Obama, ran for the presidency as a Congress freshman with almost no executive experience. Electing a first black US president would be a suitable compliment to the memory of the Civil War-era leader who ended slavery.

tweet
GergCofC tweets: After 90 minutes on line, I finally voted for McCain/Palin!!

comment from blogger
Monica Davey, New York Times blog, The Caucus: Local officials have made it clear that they view Mr Obama's candidacy - and Tuesday's party - as a crucial moment in Chicago's history too. There was talk, if Mr Obama were to win, about Chicago carrying a weightier role in Democratic Party politics and at the White House.

e-mail sent in by reader
Mark in Texas says: My biggest concern reading this thread is the level of expectation many have for Obama. Yes, he's very clever and intelligent, but he is not all-knowing. He's still just a guy. More of your comments.

comment from blogger
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic blog: 76% of the country believes it's off on the wrong track. Bush's approval rating is 27%. More than 60% say the economy is their top voting issue; nine in ten say the economy is in bad shape; more than 80% are worried about their own condition next year. Change voters made up 35% of the electorate; 30% wanted someone who shared their values.

2239: Democrats are dreaming of a landslide a la Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. As we all know, the last Democrat to win the White House was Bill Clinton, with 43% of the vote. The last non-incumbent Democrat before him to take the presidency was Jimmy Carter, whose margin of victory was thin as November ice - just 2%.

comment from blogger
Bill Dyer, Townhall blog: Wait for the real returns. Treat your vote as if the entire election depended on it. Don't believe anyone's projections. What seems "obvious" to Paul Friedman, CBS News, or the New York Times may turn out to be completely wrong — as was true with projections regarding Florida in 2000 and with early exit-poll leaks in 2004.

2232: And while America votes, Reuters reports that an Israeli air strike in Gaza has killed three militants. The Middle East issue is one that will straddle the foreign policy in-tray of whoever wins tonight.

e-mail sent in by reader
Kacie in North Carolina says:I am a registered independent and can't bring myself to support either candidate. I don't trust either one. I feel like America is in a huge crisis right now and neither of the candidates is the man to fix it. More of your comments.

tweet
chrisgriggs tweets: Everyone is celebrating in the streets and parties everywhere for Obama... this is NUTS! Inspirational, Amazing, Historic, but NUTS!!! Yay!! Read chrisgriggs's tweets.

comment from blogger
Michelle Malkin, Michelle Malkin blog: So, will Michelle Obama be calling our country "downright mean" again at the end of the night? Or will she and The One get the chance to "transform" the constitution, the military, the schools, and every other aspect of American life in their image?

2224: One gets the feeling that, buckling under $10 trillion of federal debt and in the midst of war-without-end, Uncle Sam has caught his wan, worry-etched reflection in the mirror, surprised to find staring back, that superhero's jaw which took every punch the Nazis, Imperial Japan and the Commies threw at it, suddenly quivering like an emotional guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Whoever wins this election will truly face the inbox from hell.

justin Webb
BBC North America editor Justin Webb: You have to hand it to California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger - he has become a politician of real consequence and heft: humourous and forceful. This from him: "I think the polls are looking very good for McCain. You know there is a 50% in the latest polls, 50-50, I mean that's in our own house. And then there are very good poll numbers coming out - I mean that's 100% of the vote, McCain - that's amongst Austrian-born body-builders! So there's all kinds of great action going on, so I feel very optimistic!"

tweet
tntwhite tweets: Just wrapped up some more canvassing for Obama... Best quote from a voter, "Tonight, Colorado is blue."

e-mail sent in by reader
Jane in Illinois says:I voted for Barack Obama. Because we need equality to be worked toward and recognized. We need to be sure that our rights as people are valued and not ignored. More of your comments.

2205: New York's Dow Jones index has closed up 300 points - its highest close in four weeks and biggest election day rally. Prior to 1980, the market was closed on election day.

The BBC's Peter Bowes in California, says: Many people in California have been determined to cast their ballot early in the day. They want to feel as if their vote counts. The Golden State has the most electoral college votes (55), but the race could be over before the ballots are counted here.


e-mail sent in by reader
Lesley in Texas says:As an American, I found it easy to cast my vote for John McCain this morning. I am a liberal at heart, but during these tough times we need experience and John McCain knows how to protect taxpayers and businesses. More of your comments.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Sarasota, Florida, says: Reports of problems at polling stations have been few and far between, in the state famous for its shambolic performance in 2000. Engineers on standby have been called out to deal with jammed optical scanners that read the paper ballots. But problems have emerged in only a few dozen out of nearly 7,000 precincts and none appear to be serious.

Matthew Price
The BBC's Matthew Price in Phoenix, Arizona, says: Could be a longer night than expected here in Arizona. Voters have been told if they reach the end of the voting queue by 7pm local they will be allowed to vote. It was busy this morning at some polling stations, less so now in the middle of the day. They expect it to pick up later in John McCain's home state.

2121: For the election junkies and sofa pundits, I trust you're seated comfortably with plentiful supplies of popcorn, caffeine and beer if that's your style. We will be following this contest through to its conclusion sometime in the early hours, all going to schedule - although you never can quite tell.




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