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November 5th, 2008
12:07 AM ET

First reactions around the world

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.obamawinsrx.jpg caption="The crowd reacts as it is announced on television that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008."]

Lylah Holmes
AC360° Freelance Producer

My eyes popped open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday to read this headline from the New York Times: "Obama. Racial barrier falls in decisive victory." I read the headline twice just to make sure.

As I emerged from my Harlem apartment building in the afternoon, I began to think about the spontaneous parade that erupted the previous night along famed 125th street. I recalled the teary eyes of many, the embrace of strangers, and the sense of something new. On election night revelers chanted, marched, danced and cheered from the state office building on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. to the world famous Apollo Theater. Blacks, whites, Asians, women, men and children rejoiced as if a heavy weight was lifted off of their shoulders. For the first time in my life, I believe I witnessed what it means to look past the color or sex of one another and unite. We often try to erase the barriers that divide us, but many times we, as a nation, fail.

Now that the celebrations have subsided, my hope for the American people is to remember the sacrifices many of our ancestors made to get us to this point. The baton is in our hands, let's not drop it.

Brittany Harris
AC360° Producer

Crazy honking, screaming and shouting on the streets in the village... Its almost 1am.

Leah Smith
AC360° Producer

I'm at home in harlem. Happen to arrive at the same time my neighbor gov. patterson did. People are still yelling up and down the street, 125th street was packkked with people all jovial. No signs of the celebration ending anytime soon.

Alyssa Caplan
AC360° Guest Booker

Walking through times square-feels like a political version of new years. Crowds streaming in to middle from all different streets. Cheering. Lots of picture taking. Horns honking.

Tom Foreman
AC360° Correspondent

I am standing in Times Square, flanked on all sides by cheering Obama fans. The crowd roars at every line in his speech, and spontaneous chants of "Obama," break out. Police are trying to keep traffic moving. His final words, trigger the most uproarious cheer yet. Cameras everywhere as people try to capture the moment.

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

From my balcony in Hell's Kitchen I'm watching African American Fed Ex workers from the Fed Ex building across the street shouting with joy in the street, waving their hats.

Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

What a juxtaposition! I'm in an Anchorage, Alaska restaurant where the McCain-Palin viewing party is taking place. Sarah Palin's lieutenant governor is here (the man who would have taken her place as governor if she won); so are other Republican officials.

At the moment the big screen TV projection was made by CNN of Barack Obama winning the race, there was silence; a certain and palpable sense of awe at the historic nature of the moment. But it lasted for a very short time. People began to ignore the TV; a GOP official spoke to the hundreds in the restaurant about the great job that all the Republican staffers and volunteers did in Alaska. And life went on.

Jason Rovou
AC360° Producer

Same in brooklyn. People were setting off fireworks from roofs in Williamsburg and young African American kids riding on bikes yelling "Obama Obama Obama".

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

I live near Times Square and it's like New Year's Eve - music, screaming, honking car horns and people getting drunk. So much for sleep tonight!

Tommy Evans
CNN Iraq Bureau Chief

The limited Iraqi reaction I have gotten so far is a stunned one... It was a very commonly held conspiracy theory that the election was fixed and there was no way a black man would win... But even so at the end of the day thy don’t really give a s***... Iraqis are so disillusioned by America they don’t think this changes anything.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Karen Chenault

    My only hope is that the Right now allows "Our Future President" to do the best he can to bring about change. I know that the house and senate are now predominately Democratic, however I still believe that we need to come together to get this country back on track to prosperity. I pray that those driven by hate and fear are not allowed to repeat the horror that took place when we last had a true leader of the people, I’m speaking of President Kennedy.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:50 am |
  2. Shelly

    and send me a front row ticket when you do. Please

    November 5, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  3. Marilyn Abram

    Congratulations on your historical win!!!! It's a new beginning and a new day! If you live long enough, you see everything and we saw history in the making last night (or early this morning to be more exact). While the world is expecting great things and even greater miracles, we know it will take – much time and patience.

    United States sets the barometer for the world and all is waiting anxiously to see "change".

    Yes we can – and we know we can. With trust, belief, and respect for each other it can and will be done because we can.

    Marilyn A.
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    November 5, 2008 at 10:10 am |
  4. Shelly

    I'm Australian, and have watched the election process there for at least a year. I could not be more THRILLED with an Obama win. I think he has a heart other nations will warm to. His big test begins when he takes office, and oh, what a job.

    If he can organise the country as well as he organised his campaign, I have no doubt he deserves the confidence of those who fought hell and high water to get him elected. MORE POWER TO YOU OBAMA ....take a trip down the yellow brick road to Oz one day.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:09 am |
  5. william mac

    I wish CNN would stop calling Barack Obama the first BLACK AFRICAN etc. etc.
    Can't we simply treat him as an American?
    Do we call Nader or Leiberman or whoever the first or second or third
    JEW to be in politics?
    CNN stop your trickery! You are commiting suicide! Stick to reporting
    the news worldwide and continue to be first at it, instead of trying to sway people one way or another, by distorting the reporting to advantage one side or another.
    People are smarter today, and I suggest strongly that you educate yourselves accordingly.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:50 am |
  6. paula

    I am excited for Oboma winning Last night and this is history made and with this campaign the way he ran it i hope other campaigns runs the way Obama ran his. Maybe in the future other running canidates will see that using hateful tactics didnt work for macain and Pailin. Having ralleys at his campaign saying kill him or off his head was wrong to have people say that. Republic campaign was to harsh and cruel i just hope people realize you dont need to go to extremes to win in that way of compaigning......

    November 5, 2008 at 9:49 am |
  7. Cheryl

    Martin Luther King would have been proud today to know that his dream that so many people white and black died for is no longer a dream but a reality. What a great day in history. Only in America!

    Now if we could only change the name of the White House to the Presidential Manor or Estate We will be cooking with gas!

    November 5, 2008 at 9:26 am |
  8. Shina

    I'm so glad to be in this country during this great moment. In NYC, the news papers are selling like hot cakes. We will stand together as one people for we have been united.

    God Bless Obama and the USA.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:11 am |
  9. Ann from Barbados

    What an election! Congratulations tAmerica on this bold move. I may not be qualified to speak on this topic and certainly have no intention of taking away from the obvious historical significance this election has, but has America really come such a long way in the racism department? I mean, one drop of non-white blood makes you black? Really! That makes absolutely no sense to me. It seems to me that the underlying premise of this is that black blood defiles the purity of the white race to such an extent that even a drop is enough. Obama is as equally black as he is white. The notion that both blacks and whites in America would buy into this characterization is truly a mystery to me. How many in America are pure white (or non-mixed at the very least). I'm sure some investigation into the genealogy of some "white" people in America would reveal a story similar to Obama's, although maybe a generation or so removed. It just seems to me to be so hypocritical and really is astounding from where I sit on this little rock in of 166 square miles in the middle of the Caribbean sea. But what do I know!

    November 5, 2008 at 9:04 am |
  10. Aley Martin

    The paradigm shift FINALLY occurred! We are the people we have been waiting for...and Barack is there to bring us into a new world of unity and hope. There will be hard work ahead for all of us, but when united we stand, much can be accomplished!

    Aley
    Tukwila, WA

    November 5, 2008 at 8:51 am |
  11. Anne D'Amour

    I am from Canada. I watched the results of this Presidential race and had tears in my eyes. I am old enough to remember when Jack Kennedy was elected. This is, I think, more exciting. (And I am really excited that Sarah Palen in going back to Alaska).

    November 5, 2008 at 8:13 am |
  12. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Andrew Burton................."We the human family can".

    I hope we as a people will get to the place where the majority of us really understand your words. I think with Obama in place maybe we can move in that direction. We are all connected. We have to help other people because they are our brother..............

    November 5, 2008 at 8:04 am |
  13. Yusuf Johnson

    I spoke to my 85 year old grandmother last night after hearing of Obama’s victory. My grandmother grew up in the segregated south at a time when the threats of lynching was a real threat for any black person who “got out of their place”. She told me last night that she never would have imagined this was possible. She said that she was thinking of her mother and father and all of the members of our family that is dead now. She was also remembering the boy who was hung in the yard of her school. She said that the family of that boy was not allowed to take his body down for several days. She thought about the other young man who was dragged down her street by a pickup truck in front of his mother’s eyes and killed. She said finally we can tell our children that “you can be anything you want in this country”. I finally feel 100% American (in other words, for those of you who will not understand and think I am unpatriotic; this former Air Force vet feels that finally I can believe what America has always stated, that in this country anything is possible).

    November 5, 2008 at 8:01 am |
  14. Yuri

    I am thrilled and excited about the news coming from America this morning. Last night history has been made. The French media says that Obama's election returned America back to the American people and to the rest of the world. I can't agree more.

    Paris, France.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:58 am |
  15. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    YES WE DID AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now let's all get to work to help President Elect Obama mend this broken Nation of ours !

    November 5, 2008 at 7:52 am |
  16. Patrick J

    People who have voted should understand that so called "Change" and this History in the Making means nothing if the person they have elected cannot deliver what he has promised. "Change" is vague. People have high hopes and people wants a solution to all these problems that we are facing now–from the economy, to healthcare to the ongoing war in the middle east. I hope the majority of us have made the right choice. This is not about a popularity contest. It's about representing you–us the people of all races and gender so our voices will be heard. So I hope and pray that this is the answer to all these chaos. God bless us all and God Bless America.

    November 5, 2008 at 7:28 am |
  17. Kitty UK

    I am a US citizen who has lived in the UK for over 10 years. I am relieved and hopeful that President – Elect Obama will be able to repair some of the damage and disillusionment that the rest of world views the United States. If he can keep the youth of America engaged in politics and caring about our future he will go a long, long way.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:52 am |
  18. Trevor Marwood

    Congratulations americans made the right choice this time.How sad for those that voted for anyone as long as they were republican.When they get asked by there kids in future years who did you vote for ????I suppose they will have to lie!

    November 5, 2008 at 6:22 am |
  19. Andrew Burton

    In my enthusiam and hurry to post my first AC360 blog I inadvertently omitted the n from next. It is such an exhilerating feeling to sit in my home and see an African American president giving a speech in Chicago. The maturity of your nation has reached its zenith in this modern era. President elect Barack Obama marks the begining of a new dawn for America's role on this sphere we call Earth. A black president in a nation that has been so characterized by racial differences in her short history is indeed a full circle. A 360 experience if I may. I hardly slept. I got up after a little over 3 hrs. sleep and went straight for the remote wondering what I had missed. We in Jamaica take many cues from America. With bated breath I wait to see what this unprecedented victory means for America and the rest of the world. I hope that president elect Obama's election will embolden young brilliant individuals here in Jamaica to rise to leadership.

    November 5, 2008 at 6:22 am |
  20. Michael from Sydney

    Being seventeen years old, I have grown up under leadership such as John Howard and George W. Bush. The result of this tremendous election has made me form a new hope not just for America, but for humanity as a whole. The world needs change, and President Elect Obama, hopefully, will provide the catalyst for a metamorphosis of the human spirit.

    I can't wait to see this century unfold!

    November 5, 2008 at 5:28 am |
  21. Elizabeth - Singapore

    With jubilation, the world expels a huge, collective sigh of relief at the American people's choice of the right leader for the times- Barack Obama. God bless America's future, and all of ours.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:15 am |
  22. Felix Ortiz

    yup sad but true joyous for many around the country, but a sad day of loss for us republicans and McCain supporters. I can not believe the seas of people all over the country that have been decieved by this President that we have now. One would say that I am being racist but race has nothing to do with it, because I am a latino voter, but the difference is that I see the wolve in sheeps clothing. In the end you all will see who this man is that you all have elected and are praising as if he was the Messiah.

    We are living in the last days and nothing will get better, Read your bibles, the book of Revalations to be exact. We are about to be a nation that is controlled by the government and what freedoms we use to have will soon be taken away.

    Congratulations and thank you all to have made this movement possible.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:04 am |
  23. jodi54

    I voted for Senator Obama with a conviction that I've not felt before. I want him as my President. But I am dis-heartened to hear that it's made no symbolic impact on the Iraqis. I guess that was too much to hope for after all they've lost.

    Thanks Tommy for bringing us the naked truth – as you and Michael Ware have always tried to do. May I congratulate you on your new position. Thanks for your courageous work. Stay safe.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:50 am |
  24. mary a

    thank you god. thank you cnn. thank you barack. i've been following him for more than 4 years, and it's been amazing. this guy is amazing. his family is amazing. his story is great. i'm so happy as an african, as a canadian (boy that nafta thing is gonna hit the fan...it's alright), but moreso as a person. i believe i can actually become what i've dreamed about. i can dream high. i can dream and hope. I CAN BELIEVE AND I CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. today is the bestest and amazing...yeah i know i already said it. it's almost 4 and cnn is still going live. toronto was going off today. i swear people are going to be cheering and smiling tomorrow. i feel like this will bring a lot of the community together, and inspire the youth. celebrations all around. my uncle in hamburg said it's going off in germany too. C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-I-O-N-S YEAH COME ON!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:47 am |
  25. Gordon Mackey Winnipeg, MB, Canada

    Congratulations to the people of the United States! You dared to dream and elected an intelligent gifted man to be your new president!May all of you petition God to protect him and his young family, guide his judgement, help him to better the lives of all americans, and secure peace and prosperity for all people on this planet.
    America, this is your victory, so savour the sweet taste! The time to realize the promise and hope you have long sought for yourselves and the world has arrived.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:29 am |
  26. ellis

    in Nigeria my friends woke me up with phone calls as early as 4am nigerian time. every one is exited. there goes my sleep. Poeple are celebrating as if a nigerian president has been elected. media coverage of this election was world wide.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:23 am |
  27. Charley B

    Obama is nothing more than a puppet for a corrupt political institution that has as its primary objective systematically stripping the country of its wealth while lining their own pockets.

    This outcome will ensure a single party system is put in place with no checks and balances to keep them from exercising what they perceive as their right to inflict their will upon the people. Peloci, Frank, Dodd and the rest of their ilk will have within their grasp that which all politicians desire the most ... "infinite power". So they can do "infinite good" for all us poor fools who, in their view, would be nothing more children lost in the wilderness without them.

    Welcome to the Unites Socialistic States of America where you can get a free education, free medical, a home bought for you, and if you want to lay around on your lazy a.... you can breed more losers to do the same all bought and paid for by "Joe the Plumber".

    November 5, 2008 at 3:04 am |
  28. Tomasz

    Why is everybody claiming that Sen. Obama has won already? Has there been an official vote count? The stats you have are based on Exit polling, true? Don't make a hoopla until there is an official result.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:58 am |
  29. Epidi

    For the first time in a Looong time I'm feeling hopeful and optimistic about the direction our country is going in. Thank whatever God prayed to that the Bush regime will soon be finally OVER!

    November 5, 2008 at 2:56 am |
  30. Dee, B.C. Canada

    Congratulation America! You have now made the biggest step you can make to gaining your respect back from the rest of the free world.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:26 am |
  31. David cauthen

    WOW!!!! What a year this has been.Thanks CNN for the fine reporting this election season ITS BEEN GREAT! I WONDER how are all the news agencys going to top this...tell your boss that you all desever a raise,

    November 5, 2008 at 2:21 am |
  32. Dave

    sad, nothing but sorrow.

    Sorry to see such a monumental event fall to such an unworthy and incompetant contestant, I'd have rather seen Hillary win.

    This was Clinton all over again, "rock the vote", pretend you matter... uneducated votes for an inappropriate candidate... god bless us all – this is going to be a challenege. Instead of a 2010 recovery we will hope for a 2014 or later recovery.

    Is Canada taking new citizens?

    November 5, 2008 at 2:18 am |
  33. Jennifer Job

    Right now it's 2:13a.m. in Carrboro, NC, and the election is over. Many have gone on to bed, but not my friends and I; we are watching the returns just as closely as we were four hours ago. We all spent hundreds of hours campaigning, canvassing, calling, and for the first time in our memories, it might not have been for nothing. North Carolina is too close to call, fewer than 25,000 votes. For the first time in our lifetimes, North Carolina might vote Democrat, defying everyone's beliefs about the South and our beloved state.We are growing, joining the country, and moving into the future. And I, for one, will not go to bed until I see my state turn blue on the map.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:16 am |
  34. Canada for Obama

    Way to go America! You did a great thing. Now get behind him and do your part. I am proud of you. Canada is proud of you.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:15 am |
  35. Aaron Sterlind

    I am from Canada, very politically active, I have never seen anything like this in my life, people who never watch politics had tears in theireyes throughout President Obama's speech. This feels like our victory too. For the first time I feel hope in the world, as do my friends, I feel hope for America.

    God Save The King, Long Live Obama

    November 5, 2008 at 2:03 am |
  36. chalie antonio

    I think Kurtz from the heart of darkness said it the best when he said "the horror, thr horror". Only k'm not horrified at barack winning, I'm eleted at that prospect, no, I'm horrified at the fact that I live in suburban north london and I could hear the screams of people up and down my road. I'm horrified at the spectacle of 3 black children from down the road running around screaming "obama" at the top of their voices, I expected full well that some-one would tell them to pipe down, but no, people joined them. There was a fireworks part at 5am on my road! I'm horrified that no-one has the same reactions to our elections. I'm horrified that we have no visable minoritites in high placs of office. I'm horrified that we're falling behind america.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:02 am |
  37. Dylan Elliott

    I live in Burlington, Vermont (very liberal) and people are going wild. I can hear it from my bedroom, about half a mile away from downtown. It just dawned on me how incredible this moment is. I have never been happier. YES WE DID!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:56 am |
  38. Don, WA

    A step forward was taken around the world tonight. In our own lives we seek knowledge and wisdom...the closer to wisdom...the closer to your fellow man and woman you become...we as a people are becoming closer to one...I have re-newed hope tonight for the future of man. That sounds idealistic, but there have been wise men, such as the late great Jaques Cousteau, who grew disillusioned with whether people really cared...but he said he had hope. Tonight there is hope. A reason to not give up. One World.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:51 am |
  39. Susie

    This is my 1st time blogging and since this is such a historic moment, I thought I'd add my perspective tonight.
    I work in the medical department of a California state prison. I could hear the excitment from many of the inmates in the waiting area outside of our clinic tonight.
    When one of my patients (African/American) came into the clinic to see me, he said very excitedly, "Now I really can believe anything is possible in this country, and my kids really can do anything they set their minds to do!!!"
    His joyfullness regarding what 'can be' for him and his family was so heartwarming and uplifting for me...And that he (as I) was finially feeling that we as a people have just experienced all that is good in mankind, HOPE!
    In this cold, gray place that houses a lot of regret... it was incredible to experience this fullfillment of HOPE for the future!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:47 am |
  40. kelvin

    i am truly grateful to be alive during this moment.
    never in my life would i have thought to see this moment come true.
    more than ever i am proud to be an american; becausenothing is impossible in america.
    just to know that a person can over come the odds and prevail puts fire in my heart so that i too can reach my goals!
    I LOVE MY COUNTRY! U.S.A

    November 5, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  41. Cindy

    This has really shocked me, but I am very happy. The United States needs to show the world that you are a capable leader, that you are a country that isn't ruled only by white people. The United States is showing that we are capable to of change and see true leaders for who they really are. CONGRATULATIONS!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  42. sarah

    I'm just wondering why two headlines are...one... jesse jackson was in tears...and two... oprah said america made the right choice.... no one knows who i voted for but i was just wondering why these are headlines... as long as whoever got president will do the job... what does it matter what "any one counts" says???? just food for thought. BARACK THE VOTE!!!! i guess....

    November 5, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  43. Roma

    I am having an Obama Victory party in Kenya and tomorrow is a public holiday! Change has truly come.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  44. Gisselle - Houston, Texas

    I cried.

    We are the new generation that saw beyond the color of a man's skin to chose him righteously on the content of his character and our belief in his ability to govern our sovereignty.

    It is time to restore, restore, restore! I can't wait until inauguration day and I hope that next year, on the anniversary of this historical day we the American people are as proud as we are today of the choice we've made.

    God bless America and God bless us all.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:31 am |
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