Nov. 4, 2008
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
President-elect Barack Obama, delivering his Election Night victory speech in Chicago
Obama's election celebration in Chicago's Grant Park was a scene of overflowing joy, after the grueling presidential campaign ended with the upstart (and first African-American) on top. A different scene played out on on stage, however, where the new President-elect cut a serious and determined figure, eschewing self-congratulatory smiles in favor of a weighty speech warning of a steep climb ahead for the country, marked with "setbacks and false starts." But before outlining the challenge of a spiraling economy and danger overseas, Obama opened his speech with a tribute to the hope and optimism that galvanized supporters and fueled his unlikely campaign. Electing an African-American to the White House, a man unknown to most Americans just four years earlier, seemed to many a near-impossible task when he launched his campaign in 2006. As McCain made clear in his own speech that night, one didn't have to be an Obama supporter to marvel at the historic accomplishment.