Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama victory: Reaction in quotes

Democratic Senator Barack Obama's election as the first black president of the United States has been hailed by commentators as historic and the start of a new political era.

ROBERT TUTTLE, US AMBASSADOR IN LONDON

Robert Tuttle was appointed by George Bush and worked for President Ronald Reagan for six years.

He said: "I always thought until last night that the most exciting election that I'd ever seen was Kennedy versus Nixon in 1960 but it was far eclipsed by last night.

"To think that we have our first African-American president just over fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act is amazing to me and I think it's a great night for our country.

"He's a very articulate, moving speaker and he really, he speaks to the people and he obviously motivated the people and that's why he had a big victory."

DAVID MILIBAND, FOREIGN SECRETARY

"Barack Obama has made history through his election and he's made clear in his acceptance speech that he wants to make history through his actions in government.

"And Britain stands with America in good times and in bad and we are determined to work in alliance with president-elect Obama, after 20 January, to take forward the progressive goals that he has set out, putting government on the side of the people at a time of economic downturn, working for peace and social justice around the world, and tackling the shared risks we all face, from terrorism to climate change."

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON

"I'm a passionate believer in and enthusiast for America. I think America is 'the last, best hope of Earth.' And for people who love America, it's been a pretty tough few years. And I think the election of Barack Obama restores faith and hope for people who believe in America."

LEWIS HAMILTON, FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION

"I'm very happy. I tried to watch it as much as I could.

"I have a huge amount of respect for the candidates and I was very happy and proud to see Obama at the front and congratulations to him."

DAVID LAMMY, MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

"Martin Luther King's dream was that people would be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Today, Dr King's dream has come true.

"The election of the first black president is a watershed moment in history, not just for America but also for democracies around the world.

"Millions of people will today feel a sense of hope that with ability and perseverance they can achieve their dreams, and a renewed determination that neither background nor race should be allowed to stand in their way.

"Knowing Barack as the man that he is I believed he could do it, but watching this historic moment unfold in reality is something truly incredible."

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR

"Never thought I'd see the day but thank God that I was here to witness this with my own two eyeballs. This is a great day, it's a beautiful morning, a new dawn, a new beginning. Not just for America but the world over."

BOB SHRUM, US POLITICAL CONSULTANT

"This is a historic moment in America. You know, it's hard to say it any other way.

"This country has renewed itself as a great, inspired, creative and unpredictable force in the world, and this is one of the proudest nights of my life as an American, not just as a Democrat."

PROFESSOR SIMON SCHAMA, HISTORIAN

"It's immense. The 'H' word, historic, my trade word - but for once, actually, the term isn't exhausted.

"It's like Abraham Lincoln in 1860, it's like Franklin Roosevelt in 1932."

Mr Schama said Obama was "someone who makes America feel good about itself again in the most impossible, difficult, perilous, dire circumstances.

"He always thought he could persuade Americans again they could be part of a community, not just of a kind of red tooth and claw, fight for me and my stuff out there in the jungle."

KWAME KWEI-ARMAH, PLAYWRIGHT AND ACTOR

"I think it really is important for people who are bi-racial to understand that actually this can be achieved. And also for people who are black. He describes himself as black.

"It's a wonderful achievement for us. But it's also a wonderful achievement for the world and America.

"I feel sorry for my neighbours this morning Because I just screamed from 4am, right through. I just screamed. I thought I was losing my mind."

INAYAT BUNGAWALA, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN

"We're confident the vast majority of Muslims, not just in the UK, but worldwide, would welcome an Obama victory. The last eight years under Bush are viewed as hugely damaging ones, not just for America, but for the world.

"Obama is seen as a person who will hopefully be more inclined to take into consideration the views of other people. We hope Obama will work with other countries.

"As someone from a minority background, he embodies America's best ideals in practice. Obama's victory in the election is living proof of America as a symbol of hope around the world."

IAN MANNERS, EX-BROTHER-IN-LAW OF BARACK OBAMA

"Barack is going to help everybody, particularly people that are struggling.

"What he is going to give them is hope.

"He will inspire people and has showed people exactly what can be done, and his wife Michelle as well.

"He's showed what can be done if you've got a tight family nucleus and support behind you - anything's achievable.

"I think he's brilliant.

"With regard to Britain, I think it will inspire young people here, black and white, that anything is achievable.

"I think in Africa it will make the biggest difference. People can see how politics can be. It will change the face of politics in Africa."

SARAH OBAMA, PATERNAL STEP-GRANDMOTHER

"I'm very happy not just for myself but for the whole world. But I am not happy that he has lost his other grandmother in Hawaii."



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