Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama receives Scots invitations

Barack Obama
Barack Obama has been elected the first black president of the US

Leading politicians have invited president-elect Barack Obama to visit Scotland following his victory in the US elections.

First Minister Alex Salmond has sent his congratulations after what he described as "a victory for optimism over pessimism, for hope over fear".

He invited him to come to Scotland during the 2009 Year of Homecoming.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy also invited him north of the border when he makes his first visit to the UK.

He described Mr Obama's victory as an "inspiration".

"Only one generation after the civil rights movement an African-American is in the White House," he said.

"This is truly history in the making.

"This is a day that our great grandchildren will learn of and talk about."

Mr Salmond said Americans had chosen another president of Scottish descent.

Mr Obama's maternal ancestor, Edward FitzRandolph, is said to have emigrated to America in the 17th Century.

According to genealogists, his ancestry can also be traced to William the Lion, who ruled Scotland from 1165 to 1214.

The first minister said 12 US presidents had been of Scottish descent.

He told BBC Scotland Mr Obama would lead America in the right direction.

'Scottish ancestry'

He said: "He's got some enormous issues, not just for America but for the world, and I think for the first time in the lifetimes of most of us, there is a real sense of expectation that the leadership of the free world is in the hands of someone who wants to set a direct action of change.

"I think this will unleash a latent sense of good will towards Americans - the like of which we've never seen."

Mr Salmond said Mr Obama had sent a message of support to the Scottish Government in April for the Tartan Day and Scotland Week celebrations in the US.

"He was kind enough to send a message of support to Scotland earlier this year pointing out his own Scottish ancestry," he said.

"So it seems there's another Scot in the White House and that must be a good thing."

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