Democrat Barack Obama swept Republican rival Senator John McCain in several key battlegrounds, scoring a landslide victory. Obama beat McCain in at least eight states that went Republican in 2004: Indiana, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia. Obama also beat McCain in the swing states of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, giving him an Electoral College lead of 349 to McCain’s 162. McCain was quick to offer a concession speech, addressing supporters in his home state of Arizona. He urged Americans to unite behind an Obama White House. We play an excerpt. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going back to Chicago — actually, to Arizona. Barack Obama took the stage in Grant Park just before midnight, waiting for the concession speech of Senator John McCain. He conceded defeat at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.
A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him.
Please — to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States.
Let there be no reason now — let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on earth.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator John McCain conceding defeat last night in Arizona.