November 5th, 2008
01:19 AM ET

Begala: 'A powerful night'

Paul Begala
Democratic strategist
CNN political contributor

I’m thinking of Barbara Jordan, one of the great leaders of civil rights.

Thirty-four years ago, as a congresswoman, she said that when the constitution was written it began “we the people” but left her out. She thought maybe it was by accident.

In truth, that document enslaved her and insulted her counting her as three-fifths of a human being. But she concluded my faith in the constitution is whole, total and complete.
Tonight reminds me of what scripture says: faith this is substance of things hoped for. This has been hoped by a lot of people for a long time. People have kept faith with the American Dream and Constitution even when they were left out of it. This is a wonderful and powerful night for everybody who believes in the Constitution and the American Dream.

This is a cynical sage and its cynical profession we're in, but you cannot look at these people and upon the history that is being made tonight and be a cynic.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Paul Begala
November 5th, 2008
01:14 AM ET

Dancing in Chicago's streets

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/crowd.pres.jpg]
Chris Welch
CNN Producer

As you can imagine, Michigan Avenue, lots of horns blaring, various dancing in street, people hanging out of moon roofs - ecstatic.

Not out of control however, it comes and goes in waves. No mass chaos as of now.

One older African American: thank you, Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.

Other people heard: I never thought I'd see this. Never thought we'd see the day.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Chris Welch • Raw Politics
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. FULL POST

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Raw Politics
November 4th, 2008
11:26 PM ET

We lived to see the day

Bill Shneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst

I grew up in the segregated South.
Like millions of Americans, I never thought I'd live to see the day.
We have lived to see the day.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • Raw Politics • William Schneider
November 4th, 2008
11:13 PM ET

It's over

Richard Morris
Associate Producer, Campbell Brown: No Bias. No Bull.

It's over.

What an amazing journey. I am sure it will take some time to sink in, but tonight history was made. Absolutely amazing.

We have shots from around the world in our control room. Sydney, Kenya, Chicago, Harlem. This was a shot that rang around the world in an instant.

I have friends emailing me– detailing the cheering in the streets. In here though, it is almost silence. It is hard to believe that after months of stump speeches, the race has come to an end.

Stay tuned. There are many, many more hours of live broadcast ahead.

November 4th, 2008
10:01 PM ET

New York goes strangely quiet

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.ninthave.jpg caption="A deserted Ninth Avenue in Manhattan on election night."]
Albert Lewitinn
Senior Broadcast Producer

Manhattan's Ninth Avenue, normally packed with people and full of traffic, is absolutely quiet. Broadway's theaters just let out, but restaurants that are normally packed are empty and those bars with TVs (thankfully) have CNN on. As a native New Yorker, I've never seen anything like it. Could all of NYC be watching the results?

Filed under: 2008 Election • Albert Lewitinn
November 4th, 2008
09:12 PM ET

Election night in Maya Angelou's living room

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.harlemvoters.jpg caption="Voters in Harlem at an election results party."]
Deborah Feyerick
CNN Correspondent

125th in the heart of Harlem. A 50 foot jumbotron has been set up outside the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building. It's the first time something like this has ever been done here. Everytime numbers come in favoring Obama a cheer goes up from the crowd, "O-BAH-MA."

I sat in Maya Angelou's living room in a restored brownstone several blocks away earlier. She said she felt an eagerness in Harlem she hadn't felt since the 1960's. She said in recent months, you "could't walk the streets without people stopping you and saying isn't it exciting. Spanish people stop other people who don't speak Spanish and say isn't it a good time. Of course it's contagious if you don't have it you'll get it."

Longtime civil rights activist Hazel Dukes working at a poll site earlier in the day said seniors in wheel chairs and walkers stood in line with first time voters. And that kids 6-7-8 years old spoke of pride that their moms were voting for Obama. Dukes who knew Medgar Evers when he was slain while registering voters in Mississippi said this election culminates what she and others have been working towards as civil rights leaders for the last 30 years.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Deborah Feyerick
November 4th, 2008
09:02 PM ET

Fire closes Pennsylvania polling place

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.papollfire.irpt.jpg]

Bernadette Dunegan, 39, of Patton, Pennsylvania, said the town's only polling place was blocked this morning after a fire broke out last night across the street.

The fire, at Bowman's Sporting Goods, started late last night and went into the morning hours. Dunegan said at least 13 fire companies and 40 trucks were at the scene trying to put out the fire.

The store sold hunting supplies including ammunition and hunting clothing, which kept the fire going, Dunegan said. "I could see the flames shooting up behind the buildings behind me. You can still smell the smoke. It smells like a big camp fire."

Patton is a town of less than 1,000 people, and the polling place at the fire house is the only site in town to vote.


Filed under: 2008 Election • iReport
November 4th, 2008
07:54 PM ET

New president, new baby

Tyson Wheatley
iReport producer, CNN.com

We're hearing some compelling stories as voters head to the polls across the country today - but few can match the intensity of Los Angeles couple Doug and Tracie Van Doren.

Right now, the two are heading to Cedar Sinai hospital to have their first child. Earlier today, Tracie was standing in line to cast her vote when she started feeling contractions - then her water broke. She didn't want to get out of line, but had no other option.

Doug raced Tracie to her doctor, who confirmed the great news. Tracie asked if she could still vote. Her doctor said she had several hours before she needed to get to the hospital. "She wrote us a doctor's note," said Doug. "This is an important election for us, and we just didn't want to lose our chance to vote."

Back at the polling station, Tracie and Doug handed election officials their note. "They brought us right in and to the front of the line and we both voted right away," Doug said. He snapped a picture as Tracie cast her vote. "We're going to get a new baby and a new president all on the same day."

Tracie casting her vote.

See their iReport here.

Filed under: 2008 Election • iReport • Tyson Wheatley • Voting
November 4th, 2008
07:43 PM ET

Young Voter Turnout – Ridiculous or Sublime?

Rob Grabow
Author, "Voting with Our Pants Down"

The bar for young voters is relatively low. It was 36 years ago in 1972 that an all-time high - just 55 percent of us - punched chads or ticked ballots.

So, what about this year...one for the record books?

Preliminary early voting suggests otherwise. I wrote a book about young voters and have been shouting at the rain about why this year would be different, why we could be counted on. I've had to square these early, seemingly lackluster results with plentiful, contradicting anecdotal and material refutation. It hasn't been easy.

In fact, it wasn't until today, like a smack of hope, that an explanation struck me when I walked into a UPS store, refreshed after a good night's sleep. I asked two young workers, both long-time acquaintances, whether or not they had voted. "Not yet." Each insisted their ballots would be postmarked by the end of the day. I was skeptical, but I just received a text from one of them. Ballot mailed.


Filed under: 2008 Election
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