Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday claimed victory in the U.S. presidential election, saying that "change has come to America."
Watch Obama speak to a huge crowd in Chicago
Obama waves to his supporters after his victory in US presidential election on Tuesday night.[Xinhua photo]
Addressing his supporters in Chicago, Illinois, Obama praised his Republican rival John McCain for the long, historical presidential race and urged Americans to unite and support a "new spirit of sacrifice." (Full text)
"The road ahead will 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," Obama said.
In a related development earlier, President George W. Bush called Obama to congratulate him on his victory in the elections shortly after McCain conceded defeat.
Projections showed that Obama won a landslide victory with at least 338 electoral votes while McCain only got 156 votes. Under U.S. election system, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes to capture the White House.
Obama, a 47-year-old first term senator hailed from Illinois, made history by becoming the first African-American president-elect of the United States.
He became a clear winner even in the early hours of the much-publicized Election Night when U.S. media were jockeying for eyeballs to project polling results and declared McCain's defeat in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
In a televised speech made in Phoenix, his home state of Arizona, McCain congratulated Obama on winning the presidency, saying that "the American people have spoken."
McCain, 72, urged his supporters to rally behind the new president-elect and vowed to help his ex-rival to deal with multiple challenges facing the country.
Wacth McCain concedes defeat
"Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans and please believe me when I say no association has meant more to me than that," the Arizona senator said.
"It is natural tonight to feel some disappointment but tomorrow we must move beyond it," he added. (Full text)
The Election Day dawned on Tuesday with Obama leading in almost all national and state-by-state pre-election surveys, making it a tough uphill climb for McCain to seek a upset.
Analysts here said that a well-managed campaign, a sharp downturn of the U.S. economy in October and a heavy voters turnout on the Election Day are among the factors that help Obama to win the White House.
(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2008)