Barack Obama appears to have left John McCain and the Straight-Talk Express in the dust, as most of the major television networks, including CNN, ABC and NBC, proclaimed Obama the winner as the polls on the west coast closed.Early projections had Florida and Hillsborough County both too close to call.If the victory holds, Obama will be the first minority president in U.S. history.The University of Tampa College Democrats were celebrating the early returns in an exclusive Obama party in the downtown Marriott."I feel just unbelievable, I can't describe it," said Mike Long, president of students for Barack Obama.Other students on campus followed the election from their rooms and the Spartan Club.This country needs change, and hes the man for the job, said Alysha Otte, a sophomore. If McCain won Id be afraid that he and Palin would not only ruin this country but everyone elses too.Senior Ryan Leandro is interested to see what Obama will bring to the table now that he has been elected President."I'd like to see what he's going to do now," he said, expressing cautious optimism. "As happy as I am to see George Bush out of power, a lot of people say there are problems with Obama's plans, so I guess we'll see.""Obama has good ideas for change. He can relate to the American people," said freshman Elaine Thornton. "I think Obama is different, and we need change. I like how he represents the middle class."Thank God! freshman Camille Kurtenbach said. I volunteer at the Democratic office downtown. I feel proud that America is finally electing someone to make our image better."Andrew Learned, president of Student Government, said the issue is not who won the election, but how they are going to get it done."I don't care how it gets done, as long as it gets done," Learned said. "The candidates need to follow through with their promises."Some students remained apathetic despite this importance of this historic presidential election. Freshman David Coleman said, "I'm not really that into politics. I don't care either way."Battleground StatesThe so-called battleground states were key to the Obama victory.Obama also won Ohios 20 electoral votes, important because the candidate who won Ohio has won the overall election in 11 straight contests. Obama broke a two-election Republican streak in Ohio, though their victory was narrow in 2004.Sophie Erber was surprised by the Ohio results. Shes is the public relations chair for Students for Barack Obama and the SG representative for UT College Democrats."I was really expecting it to be a McCain state.McCain appeared to grab an easy win in North Dakota where the Republicans have won the last two elections by more than 25 percent.At 10:30 p.m. Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia had virtual ties. Indiana and North Carolina had less than 10,000 votes separating the two candidates with roughly 85 percent reporting. Virginia had Obama ahead by less than 50,000 (90 percent reporting).McCain Supporters"I hope America is making the right choice if they picked Obama, said Alex Krischik, a McCain supporter.
This story was written by Staff Reports, The Minaret