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Obama celebrates becoming nation's 44th president

Following his election triumph, President-elect Barack Obama is reaching out to friend and foe alike. He acknowledged his joyful backers in a victory speech in Chicago's Grant Park, and he also spoke to those who voted against him, saying he hears their voices, needs their help and will be their president, too.
CHICAGO (AP) - Following his election triumph, President-elect Barack Obama is reaching out to friend and foe alike. He acknowledged his joyful backers in a victory speech in Chicago's Grant Park, and he also spoke to those who voted against him, saying he hears their voices, needs their help and will be their president, too.

Obama says America faces grave challenges and the "climb will be steep."

He paused to remember the woman who raised him -- his grandmother, who died this week. And he embraced his wife, Michelle, the future first lady.

He also said his daughters Malia and Sasha have earned the new puppy he promised them if he won the election.

OBAMA-AMERICA REACTS
UNDATED (AP) - Honking horns. Hugs. High-fives.  Jubilant supporters of Barack Obama danced in the streets after he was elected president and they brought traffic to a standstill
in many cities.

In Washington, hundreds spilled into the streets near the White House, carrying balloons, banging on drums and chanting, "Bush is gone!" In Philadelphia, drivers stopped in the middle of the street, opened their car doors and broadcast Obama's acceptance speech. The roar of thousands gathered in a plaza near Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater could be heard blocks away.

Many people marveled that they lived to see the day that a black man was elected president.

At Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights hero, called it "an unbelievable night" and a "night of
thanksgiving."


McCain is graceful in defeat, urges backers to help Obama

PHOENIX (AP) - John McCain gave up gracefully last night. After a decade of pursuing the presidency, the Republican says he has no regrets.

McCain told supporters as disappointed as he is to lose the race for president, the election of Barack Obama makes him proud of what the nation has accomplished. It's a great moment, he said, for those who believed for a long time they had little stake in the country and its government.

McCain urged supporters not only to congratulate the president-elect, but to offer him help in getting the country over the massive economic problems it faces.


Obama promises: Vision vs. reality

WASHINGTON (AP) - Promise is about to collide with pragmatism as Barack Obama prepares to take the reins of the presidency.

Over a two-year campaign, Obama laid out a vision for the future in soaring speeches that enthralled his audiences.

The realities are daunting.

Obama will inherit a budget deficit that many analysts say could hit a trillion dollars for the first time.

That could severely crimp any promises for tax cuts or spending on new programs. He faces a diving economy that has traumatized Americans trying to buy a home, pay for college or plan for retirement. And he'll confront the complexities of trying to extricate U.S. forces from Iraq, and dealing with Afghanistan.

The economic crisis could also throw cold water on new spending for improving health insurance and moving toward energy self sufficiency.
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