Obama Wins 44th U.S. Presidency

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CBNews.com - Democrat Barack Obama broke historic barriers Tuesday night by becoming the first black man to be elected to the nation's highest office.

"In this defining moment, change has come for America," Obama said from Grant Park Chicago in his victory speech.

Click Play to watch Obama's entire victory speeech.

"This victory belongs to you," he told cheering supporters after thanking members of his campaign staff, his running mate Joe Biden and his family.

"And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both, more than you could imagine."

The President-elect also mentioned his grandmother who just passed away, "And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching along with the family who made me who I am," he said.

"I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support you've given me. I'm grateful to them," Obama concluded about his family.

Obama won the necessary votes after taking an early commanding lead in the electoral college count ahead of Republican rival John McCain.

Obama's win in electoral-rich California put him well over the edge after hard-fought wins in battleground states Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa. In January, he will become the nation's 44th president and the first black man ever to hold the office.

McCain Concedes

McCain conceded the race shortly after polls closed on the West Coast. In Grant Park, a huge crowd erupted in jubilation at the news of Obama's victory. Some wept, others leaped and waved American flags.

In his concession speech, McCain told supporters that the American people have "spoken clearly."   Click here to watch McCain's entire concession speech.

With his wife Cindy on one side and running-mate Sarah Palin on the other, the veteran statesman urged his supporters to put aside partisan differences. He attempted to console them on their loss.

"It's natural tonight to feel some disappointment. Though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours," he said.

Before conceding publicly, McCain phoned Obama to congratulate him on the win.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama thanked him for his graciousness and told him he had waged a tough race.

"Senator Obama told Senator McCain he was consistently someone who has showed class and honor during this campaign as he has during his entire life in public service," Gibbs said in a statement.

President Bush also called Obama shortly after the Illinois senator hung up with McCain.

Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino quoted the President as saying, "Mr. President-elect, congratulations to you. What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters."

"I promise to make this a smooth transition," Bush said. "You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself."

Obama's Victory

In his victory speech Obama noted the challenges he will face including, "two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

He also said the Democratic victory in this election should be humbly accepted.

"Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long," he said. "Let us remember that is was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity,"

He then quoted Republican President Abraham Lincoln, "We are not enemies, but friends... though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."

Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden will be sworn into office on January 20, 2009.

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