US:

An American with the name Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a white woman and a black man he barely knew, raised by his grandparents far outside the stream of American power and wealth, has been elected the 44th president of the United States. Showing extraordinary focus and quiet certainty, Mr. Obama swept away one political presumption after another to defeat first Hillary Clinton, who wanted to be president so badly that she lost her bearings, and then John McCain, who forsook his principles for a campaign built on anger and fear. — The New York Times

Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States: Like so many millions of Americans, we savor the phrase, and congratulate the winner, and celebrate the momentousness of the occasion. It is momentous for the generational change it heralds, the geographic realignment it reflects and the racial progress it both acknowledges and promises. Most of all, Mr. Obama’s victory is momentous for the opportunity it presents to put the country on a new and better path, imbued, as he said last night, with a new spirit of patriotism, service and responsibility. — The Washington Post

Obama’s victory is one of those events that reveal how far the nation has traveled. When he was born in 1961, African-Americans risked death merely to register to vote in some Southern states. The pivotal civil rights and voting rights laws had yet to be enacted. Yet today, the nation is willing to entrust its future to a man whose father was black. His election is a moving vindication of the ideals on which this nation was founded. There are other reasons to celebrate the election of this citizen of Chicago — the only one ever elevated to the White House. Obama won by appealing to a deep yearning for national reconciliation and unity that spans partisan divides. From the moment he captured national attention with a stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to the last day of this campaign, he reminded us that amid our often-contentious diversity, we are one nation joined in a common mission. — The Chicago Tribune

As for the Republicans, the lesson of their defeat is the most fundamental in politics. When the party in power fails to deliver either peace or prosperity, voters typically send it packing. In 2006, the GOP lost Congress due to the chaos in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and corruption. The surge championed by Mr. McCain in 2007 has helped to calm Iraq, but Afghanistan has since deteriorated. And ironically the very success of the surge — and the lack of any attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 — made national security less of an issue this year. Nonetheless, as recently as early September, Mr. McCain was within the margin of polling error nationally and ahead in many swing states. Then the financial panic escalated into a near-meltdown and Americans began to fear for their prosperity. Public support for Republicans fell across the board. Their lack of political and policy coherence made things worse, with President Bush supporting an unavoidable taxpayer rescue. But House Republicans decried it as a “bailout” and helped to kill its first version even as Mr. McCain made a show of “suspending” his campaign to broker a deal. Mr. Obama stayed cool above the fray. — Wall Street Journal

And a tip of the hat to America, too: Just two generations ago, an African-American who attempted to cast a ballot courted violent death in the dark of night – but now a black man will ascend to the highest office in the land. This is a tribute to how far the nation has progressed since the days of Bull Connor’s fire-hoses and George Wallace’s ugly rhetoric. But it’s even more a tribute to Barack Obama, who began this campaign as a longshot even for the Democratic nomination. It was to have been, recall, Hillary Clinton’s year. Yet Obama not only electrified the majority of voters, he also motivated previously apathetic and uninvolved Americans to turn out and cast a ballot. For him. — NY Post

Obama will serve as president not of a race or a region but of a nation. He has demonstrated admirable gifts for leadership in his young life and in this long campaign. And as he assumes the office that the electorate has granted him, he has the opportunity to be the leader that our current president, too often, has not been. He must surmount the partisanship of the campaign, bridging the divides of party, as George W. Bush pledged to do but did not. He must repair the United States’ international relations and renew our ties to the multilateral organizations that President Bush neglected. He must repair the damage inflicted by the so-called war on terror, which has alienated the United States from many friends. Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be a welcome and symbolic start.Los Angeles Times

By radiating hope and resonating competence, the freshman senator from Illinois shattered a barrier that would have been unimaginable to a black American when he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961, at a time when segregation remained the law of the land in a large swath of the South. In the last 21 months, Obama identified and reinvigorated a sense of American idealism that had been all but choked off by the ideological divisions that had paralyzed Washington and polarized the electorate in recent times. Obama’s campaign inspired new voters, especially younger American adults, and reinvented the way elections are funded by using the Internet to sweep up contributions small and large. — San Francisco Chronicle

Obama must fulfill his pledge to employ increased diplomacy as well as a strong defense in pursuit of global stability. Expanded Democratic power on Capitol Hill and in the White House won’t guarantee smooth political seas ahead. Democrats should not mistake the party’s decisive victory as a call for an aggressively liberal program of new spending, which the nation clearly can’t afford. Voters have issued a clear demand for wise, focused leadership to correct the failings of the Bush administration. To deliver, Obama will need to enlist the best minds of both parties to develop an economic recovery plan, and to present it soon.  An aggressive renewable-energy policy is an essential part of that blueprint. Many have touted the transition to alternative energy production as part of a needed 21st-century “New Deal.” This won’t produce immediate results, but the groundwork needs to be laid for the long-term benefits clean energy will bring. — The Honolulu Advertiser

CHINA:

We wish him all the best in bringing America out of the present financial quagmire as soon as possible, and re-energize the world’s largest economy with his brand-new ideas and vision. A strong US economy is in the interest of China and all other countries that trade with it. We deem that the strategic dialogues and high-caliber talks of commercial and economic issues between the two countries established in the past few years, will continue to serve as good platforms for the two to discuss, and reach consensus on important issues. In addition, more than 1.3 billion Chinese living in China and overseas hope President Obama will continue to play a constructive role in facilitating the increasingly friendly engagement between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. — China Daily

IRAN:

A definitive judgment will have to wait till the declaration of the new policies of Democrats. However, it is obvious that despite all the upheavals in the latest round of presidential election, the two nominees pursued a transparent course of action. The more the battle of the two candidates intensified over internal and foreign policies, the more the credibility of Republicans and their representative John McCain was put on the line. Finally, the battle for the 44th presidency of the United States produced a result that most elites had already foreseen. The US is today witnessing unprecedented levels of poverty, weakening of social services and high taxes for compensating the enormous costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for continuing political conflicts with countries critical of the US, especially Iran. Perhaps Americans could ignore the incapability of Republicans and Bush’s clumsiness in curbing the recent economic meltdown, but they were no longer willing to see eight more years of Bush’s militaristic policies and the recurrence of all its adverse consequences. — Iran Daily

ISRAEL:

Israelis can learn from how Obama and McCain reacted to the election results. Such classy behavior stands in sharp contrast to the deportment of many an Israeli politician who, confronted by defeat, goes off and sulks. Granted, Israel’s proportional system does not foster absolute winners. Still, where is it written that competing politicians should treat each other with unrelenting disdain? Those in our part of the world dedicated to rejectionism, violence and terror will soon discover anew that the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem is above partisanship. And the members of the new administration will see with their own eyes that no one wants peace more than Israel. No one. — Jerusalem Post

INDIA:

Obama sees ties with India as one of America’s “most important relationships in an uncertain world” and has pledged to strengthen the Indo-US strategic partnership when he takes over as the President. After initial reservations he supported the Indo-US nuclear deal. During his campaign for the White House, the President-elect has adopted a tough line on Pakistan and made it clear that he will launch military operations against terrorists in that country if the Pakistan government did not do so. — Assam Tribune

UK:

They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world.
Having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in 2000 and 2004 it felt at times fated that the Democrats would somehow complete a hat-trick of failures on election day 2008. Instead, fuelled by unprecedented financial support, the key things went right for them yesterday, from the moment just after midnight when Dixville Notch voted 15 to six for Mr Obama (the first time the early-voting New Hampshire hamlet had gone for a Democrat in 40 years), through to the early Obama success last night in the prized swing state of Pennsylvania and on into the battleground areas of middle America. — The Guardian UK

Mr Obama needed not only to defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, an immense task in itself, but overcome prejudice about his race and concerns about his lack of experience to take the White House. In doing so, he has evinced the sort of self-confidence and level-headedness that he will need in abundance in the four difficult years that lie ahead. By any standards, Mr Obama’s victory is a historic moment for America. Within his 47-year lifetime, people of his skin colour were not allowed in bars or on buses in some states. To elect him head of state marks a rite of passage for his country, though it will truly come of age when the colour of the candidate no longer matters, only what he believes. — The Telegraph

The tasks facing the new President are immense. The national coffers are virtually empty. Yet an economic crisis with few precedents must be confronted, two unpopular wars must be resolved. At home, much infrastructure is second rate or crumbling. The education America offers its children is falling behind that of its rivals. A healthcare system needs to be rebuilt, while social security must be shored up so it can cope with the demands of baby boomers as they retire. Mr Obama comes to office with a fund of goodwill, at home and abroad. He may prove a disappointment, not least because expectations have been set unreasonably high. But the greatest presidents — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt — were great precisely because they overcame huge challenges. Today’s fraught circumstances mean Barack Obama has the chance to join their number. — The Independent UK

RUSSIA:

It is always interesting to note how much the world and its peoples like to believe in fairy tales and lies. Anything rather than face the truth. After living through eight years of the Bush incompetence and imperial hubris, Americans, the world and Europeans especially have once again deluded themselves in believing that the “new” wind in Washington, this time Obama, will some how change the way things have gone. Once more they are in for a post narcotic painful wakeup and it will not take long. When both candidates come from the One Party Two Branch Marxist system of America’s so called democracy, where third parties and independents need not apply, nothing changes. If anything, American suffering under either of the two “candidates” (really this was just a bit more nerve racking than Soviet Politburo elections) will only escalate. — Pravda

KENYA:

Obama’s victory will bolster the faith of many in democracies the world over who seek to create societies in which everyone has the freedom and opportunity to decide their future. At a time when many, including this paper, will be glad to see the back of an America infatuated with its military might and ready to trample values it espouses, voters in the US have reminded us of the “enduring power of their nation’s ideals — democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope”. This, as Obama said yesterday, is the true strength of the nation, not the might of its arms or the scale of its wealth. Sharing these ideals with the world and defending them from the forces that would rather less progressive and more fundamentalist ideas prevailed, will not be easy. Fears of an international crisis to “test Obama” are not misplaced: The same, after all, happened to John F Kennedy and George W Bush, among others. The truer tests, however, the ones to tell the world change has come, will not be in dealing with terrorists or rogue nations, but in undoing the damage caused by President Bush’s “cynical, fearful and doubtful” America. — The Standard

CANADA:

It was not just airy words that helped re-engage an electorate that was growing dangerously disconnected from the democratic process. To capitalize upon enthusiasm for his message of change — and, yes, excitement about the possibility of the first black president — Mr. Obama deployed the most sophisticated campaign organization in history. Largely by leading the first presidential campaign to take full advantage of the Internet, Mr. Obama turned millions of Americans into donors or volunteers. Ground-breaking outreach efforts translated into the engagement of countless first-time voters, from previously uninterested college students to elderly African-Americans who had never before felt part of the system. — The Globe and Mail

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