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PostSubject: Obama wins   Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:07 pm

Barack Obama has defeated John McCain and will become the first black president of the United States, FOX News projects.

The 47-year-old Democratic junior senator from Illinois swept to victory over his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, building an Electoral College majority of at least 297 votes.

The Illinois senator climbed over the top at 11 p.m. ET with wins in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. It takes 270 electoral votes to win.

But Obama delivered a crushing defeat earlier in the night by clinching Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, states that were key to McCain's presidential electoral strategy.

And the Democratic nominee took a commanding lead over his Republican rival with a slew of victories in reliable East Coast and Midwestern territory.

Obama has so far won New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont and the District of Columbia. He also won all four electoral votes in Maine and scored a victory in his home state of Illinois, as well as in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and the southwestern state of New Mexico.

McCain has won Texas and Georgia, as well as Idaho, South Dakota, South Carolina, Mississippi, Utah, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky. He won three of Nebraska's five electoral votes.

The Democratic nominee has so far amassed 297 electoral votes to McCain's 145,
Pennsylvania, with its 21 electoral votes, was one of the few states that voted Democratic in the 2004 presidential election that McCain was actively pursuing. Another was New Hampshire, which Obama also won Tuesday. McCain aides initially objected to the Pennsylvania call, complaining that it was too early to project.

But McCain's narrow path to victory was made air tight after he lost Ohio and its 20 electoral votes, and Virginia's 13.

He would have had to score an upset in a major Democratic state to recover, as well as win Florida and a number of other states President Bush won four years ago that Obama is contesting.

With his victory, Obama, the Hawaiian-born son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, is poised to turn the page on Republican policies of the last eight years, as well as some racial barriers that have stood for generations.

Thousands of supporters on Tuesday night filled Chicago's Grant Park, where Obama will hold his election celebration.

McCain arrived at the Biltmore in Phoenix, where he will address supporters later in the night.
Races in Missouri and Indiana are still too close to call, as is the race in North Carolina.

Only Alaska voters continued to cast their ballots after a frenzied day of campaigning that brought the historic and sprawling presidential race to a close.

Both candidates took their campaigns well into Election Day, as each battled for votes at the 11th hour.

McCain, who all along faced an uphill road to attaining the 270 electoral votes needed to win, first flew into Colorado for his final rally. Then he visited dozens of volunteers at a New Mexico phone bank, before finally heading home to Phoenix to watch returns.

Obama, in an election day tradition that perhaps demonstrated his confidence, played basketball Tuesday afternoon in Chicago with friends and staff.

Both candidates and their running mates joined enthusiastic voters Tuesday morning in casting their ballots. An estimated 153 million voters were eligible, and in an indication of interest in the battle for the White House, 40 million of them had already voted as Election Day dawned.

Sarah Palin is expected to join McCain in Phoenix for the Republicans' watch party Tuesday night.

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