This our time to reclaim the American dream: Barack Obama (Lead)

November 5th, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaChicago, Nov 5 (IANS) It had been a long time in coming but change had come to America, Barack Obama, the man who would be the first African American president in the White House, said Wednesday after his historic landslide victory to tens of thousands of wildly cheering crowds.In a midnight speech laden with significance and emotion, Obama said: “It’s been a long time coming but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, change has come to America.”

“Americans had sent a message to the world,” the United States’ president elect said soon after his Republican rival John McCain conceded defeat.

“If there is anyone out there that still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” he began by telling the crowd of 125,000 people at the Grant Park.

He said it was the answer told “by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference”.

It was the answer, he said, spoken by the young and old, rich and poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Democrats and Republicans… “Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of red states and blue states; we are, and always will be, the United States of America”.

Sending his message out to the world, Obama, who described himself as “never the likeliest candidate for this office”, said: “This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids… to reclaim the American dream.”

Declaring that “the new dawn of American leadership is at hand”, he said Americans had proved once more that the “true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals - democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope”.

A little bit earlier in the evening, Obama said, he got an “extraordinarily gracious call” from his Republican rival Senator John McCain. Paying a tribute to McCain, who conceded defeat, Obama said he had “fought long and hard for this campaign, for this country”.

Standing on an open stage with flags waving behind him and an ocean of people in front, Obama said he looked forward to working with McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin to “renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead”.

He also thanked vice president elect Joe Biden, his partner in this journey.

Injecting a personal note, Obama said he would not be where he was without the “unyielding support” of his best friend, the United States’ next First Lady Michelle Obama. To his daughters Sasha and Malia, he said: “I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” The entire family was present on the podium.

He talked about his grandmother, who passed away Monday. “And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching along with the family that made me who I am…”

“But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.”

The road ahead, said Obama, would be long. “Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.”

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