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Auburn U. Watches And Reacts As Obama Becomes President-elect

This story was written by Griffin Limerick, The Auburn Plainsman

On a chilly Tuesday night at Chicagos Grant Park, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama walked on stage in front of a crowd of thousands and a TV audience of millions to accept the U.S. presidency.

As the first African-American president, Obamas presence on that stage marked a turning point in American history.

Accompanied by his family and powered by the momentum of a landslide victory, Obama spoke of neither red nor blue America, but instead of the United States of America.

In his victory speech, Obama continued his promise for change in America.

He said this election is proof there are no limits to the American Dream.

It is that promise thats always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well, Obama said. Thats why I stand here tonight.

He also congratulated Sen. John McCain and reached out to McCains supporters, telling them although he didnt earn their vote, he will still be their president, too.

The speech was emotional for Obama, because his grandmother died Monday, the day before the election.

At the end of the speech, Obamas running mate and Vice President-elect, Sen. Joe Biden, entered the stage to renewed enthusiasm and applause from the crowd.

Obamas margin of victory was just as impressive as his historical achievement.

Of the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency, Obama won 338, while McCain won 163.

Obama won battleground states like Florida and Ohio, as well as historically Republican states like Virginia and New Mexico.

Obama won not only the electoral vote, but also the popular vote, receiving 62.8 million votes to McCains 55.6 million.

According to cnn.coms exit polls, Obama won handily among women voters, African-American voters, Latino voters, voters under 30, first-time voters and voters earning less than $100,000 a year.

Charles Thurlow, an Auburn University sophomore in pre-med, said he wasnt surprised Obama won the election.

I already knew who was going to win, because of the media, Thurlow said.

Katie Simeroth, an undeclared freshman, said she thought McCains vice presidential pick hurt his chances.

I think the vice-presidential candidate for the Republicans was the reason for the landslide, Simeroth said. (Obamas campaign) was also one of the best-run political campaigns ever.

A disappointed McCain gave his concession speech to a crowd of his supporters in Arizona.

During the speech, McCain graciously congratulated Obama before encouraging his followers to support Obamas presidency.

McCain said he was honored to serve the country through his campaign, as well as through his military service.

Thurlow said he wanted McCain to win the presidency, but he will still support Obama.

(Obama) is the president now, so I have faith in him, Thurlow said. Were all going to have to support him any way we can.

John Hall, a freshman in biosystems engineering, said he was disappointed McCain lost, but he thinks Obama could be a good president.

Im sure hell do the best job he can do, Hall said.

Much of Obamas success can be attributed to young voters, who showed up at the polls in record numbers this election.

Many students around Auburns campus displayed pride for their candidates.

Jynti Reffin, an undeclared freshman, said she was happy wih student enthusiasm for the election.

Around our campus, there was a lot of passion for each candidate, Reffin said.

Simeroth said she was happy with the student turnout.

The youth came out and voted, which usually doesnt happen, Simeroth said.

Simeroth is also excited about the historical significance of the election.

It will be cool to tell our grandchildren we were in college when the first black president was elected, Simeroth said.

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