‘first black president’ of America


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The Zambian Chronicle is extremely excited that we have received an invitation for one of our staff to attend the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America.

 

“The Presidential Inaugural Committee requests the honor of your presence to attend and participate in the Inauguration of Barack H Obama as the President of the United States of America and Joseph R Biden, Jr. as Vice President of the United States of America on Tuesday, the twentieth of January two thousand and nine in the City of Washington”

 

The invitation reads …

inuagural-invite

This is history in making for us and we are excited for the invite but what is more significant is that Barack H Obama is a first generation American born of an African father from Kenya.

 

barackIn other words, he is the first real African blood to take over the helm of the world’s most powerful nation. He has surrounded himself with the best of the best and this will be a testimony to the rest of Africa that we too can lead well.

 

We know fully well how Black America would like to claim and hold on to Barack Obama, for surety they can but the rightful claim comes from Africa. Black America can take Michelle Obama, Barack H Obama is ours to claim, thanks a trillion.

 

Africa from here on has no excuse whatsoever at all. Barack H Obama, part African and part American takes over as one of the youngest Presidents in American history at inauguration. In fact only John F Kennedy beats that record in recent history.

 

For us at the Zambian Chronicle, it all started with the memo; America Votes’08 … Zambian Chronicle Endorses Senator Hillary R Clinton (NY) As The Next President of the United States …. We were all very convinced it was nobody but Hillary.

 

Then, all of a sudden, I got an email from Belliah after Super Tuesday. Mr. Brains, I think we missed the boat here. I am switching camp, I think Obama is the best candidate in this race, Belliah wrote.

 

Simon is solidly behind John McCain, she continued. And Lisa is not sure who she would like to back, she believes the whole world is going to hell and America is right there with it in a hand basket, I retorted.

 

We have a totally disjointed crew, with at least each candidate being supported by one of us, I said. Simon is usually behind the scenes. He is Zamchro’s Chief Legal Counsel (CLC); a board certified attorney and a very cool guy, he is. Tony was not a member of our team yet and so was not privy to the saga.

 

Then Simon followed in and wrote an article why he thought Obama would be the best President of the United States of America – this was a real twist especially that he had always been a republican supporter.

 

The tectonic shift continued with the following week Belliah saying, she wanted to recluse herself from being Managing Editor. She said that she wanted to be as free as possible and thought that she was head over hills over the momentum and thus her editing functions would be biased.

 

I mentioned that once we made the editorial decision to back Hillary we would not retract it. I accepted her decision and informed her that at the end of it all we would eventually support the final winner and continue to report as objectively as we had always done in the past – a multi-media enterprise, we are.

 

I appreciated Belliah’s honesty and that helped keep us stay focused on what our major objective was, to report news and facts as we saw them unfold besides we had made one booboo before and it was not time for another.

 

What was fascinating about the whole process was how, in divergence of views people can still coalesce around a common cause. It was a great learning experience especially that we first-handedly realized how easily all of us could become political junkies and love it …

 

Someone was watching, loyalty and objectivity finally paid off thus the invitation.  In it is written the following, “…The Presidential Inaugural Committee requests the honor of your presence to attend and participate in the Inauguration”. The honest truth is that we are the ones honored to be invited at the time history is in the making.

 

Barack H Obama achieved what many have attempted and failed, we have said it before here and we will recount a thousand times. He made it look like getting the US Presidency was the easiest thing one could do in his life.

 

We wish the new President of the greatest nation on the face of the earth, God Speed. We wish him well; him and his family. And for the rest of us on the African continent, its Showtime …

 

Africa is in charge by proxy and can’t afford to lag behind. We urge all African Presidents on the continent to emulate Barack H Obama and make us all proud.

 

Zambian Chronicle and its team wish to congratulate President-Elect Barack H Obama for becoming the 44th President of the United States of America.

 

Long Live Africa, Long Live Zambia and God bless us all. Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle 

 

Copyrights © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

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It is with great joy that I write this letter to congratulate you on your massive victory in the United States Presidential elections.

 

On behalf of my first lady, Grace, my daughter, Bona — who absolutely adores you (and swoons every time you come on television) as well as our three sons, I congratulate you on this great victory, which has made me as an elderly African statesman very proud.

 

I never thought in my heart of hearts I would live to see this glorious day when one of our own would win the highest seat in the US. I thank the spirits of the Gushungo clan and the spirit of my dearly departed mum, Bona (after whom my beloved daughter is named), who have kept me alive just so I could see this day. Those in the winds surely knew the objective of my continued existence on earth and in Zimbabwe’s State House. Our ancestors, yours and mine, knew that we have a joint mission.

 

I send my congratulations on behalf of my entire country, Zimbabwe. We are all indeed proud — barring of course the few misguided elements among us who think that only white people are capable of ruling nations. You know who they are. I don’t have to spell it out for you, my son. I am happy you proved them wrong, like I did.

 

I hope you don’t mind me calling you my son? I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But as you will know from the lessons learned at your father’s knee — albeit for that short time — this is the way of our people. Some people might even say I shouldn’t call you my son, as you and Grace are practically the same age! But that doesn’t make you less my son.

 

It makes you more so. In case you are wondering, Grace also loves you. I think. She hasn’t exactly said so in so many words, but I see the knowing looks she and Bona trade when we are watching you on the BBC. (Yes I thrive on watching the Beeb; don’t believe all that crazy stuff you read that I believe in so-called “100% local content” which my former minister of information thought was a good idea. Honestly! A serious man such as myself should have one’s hangovers. Mine is all things British. Oh I do miss my visits to Buckingham Palace, the shopping in Sainsbury and those dainty cucumber sandwiches that Number 10 Downing serves. But please don’t repeat this to Gordon Brown.)

 

A husband always knows when his wife’s heart is straying. Even an old one. In fact the other day I overheard Grace on her cell phone, saying to one of her friends, “that BHO is bho sha (that Barack Hussein Obama is great my friend)”. She also said you were hot! I asked one of my youngish security details what “hot” means, as I am out of touch with such language. Enough of this chit-chat.

 

I am writing this letter post-haste because I want to make sure you and I are on the same page. I want to share with you some lessons on leadership, which I have honed in my 28 years in power.

 

I want to prevent our enemies from getting to you with their side of the story first. And believe me they are already on their way to you. Passport or no passport, I am sure that cowboy in the White House will facilitate you-know-who’s entry into Washington soon.

 

I must say though I am rather frustrated remembering that you won’t be inaugurated until next year! You Americans are a funny breed. What is the point of winning if you don’t claim your prize instantly? Where is the gratification in that? Seriously, some of us can’t wait a whole quarter of a year before we take office. Who knows what strange things they will do to your office in these last few days? Watch and learn; I was inaugurated within 24 hours. My Zambian colleague, President Rupiah Banda bettered that; he was inaugurated in two hours and even better His Excellency Mwai Kibaki did it within 30 minutes flat! There is a Kenyan worth emulating my son.

 

One of the first things you must do is distance yourself from that lily-livered fellow Luo of yours, Raila Odinga. He just doesn’t think like us good African statesmen. You must change those constitutional rules of yours. A president must quickly take power. Three months is a long time to waste.

 

It is a great pity that my dear Comrade Eddison Zvobgo, who understood constitution-making so well and who of course knew the American system inside out, died many years ago. I would gladly have sent him over to you. The man was a genius. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have survived in office for this long. The man assumed that he was doing it for himself.

 

Can you imagine that he actually wanted to remove me from office before the good Lord that I pray to recalls me to his side? The Lord removed him instead.

 

You are so young; I am envious. You have at least about 40 years ahead of you in office. And if you listen to elders like us, you will stay until the White House is repainted maroon. Start working on fail-safe constitutional changes that will ensure your longevity in office. This business of being “recalled” out of power à la ANC is just totally unacceptable. People must wait their turn. And in some cases accept that their turn will never come.

 

When you choose your Cabinet ensure absolute loyalty. Plus fear. Look at my lot. None of them dares to say pwe (say a word) as we say in Shona, in my presence.

 

When they get too clever, demote them, humiliate them. Seal their loyalty with patronage, a soft loan here, and kickbacks there, turn a blind eye to mistakes sometimes. They will stay on side and on message. You may even learn some lessons from your predecessor on how he used the wars he is waging to buy loyalty from those who got contracts. Unluckily you can’t just kill your opponents over there, your laws being what they are, but hey, there’s always a way around these things. Let’s strategize once you settle down.

 

Now let’s move on to my problem. As I lamented earlier it’s a pity you won’t be in office soon. I need you to weigh in on this so-called crisis in Zimbabwe. As you can see our brother Thabo Mbeki is now out of his depth. So here is what you can do in the meantime. Start talking about Zimbabwe. Remind everyone about the armed struggle that I waged for independence. Then tell them that I am simply here to complete the mission of liberating our people. You, my son, understand history. I don’t need to remind you that both of us have a mission to accomplish. Comrade Obama, you are our new hope. You are the perfect person to make the connections with what I have been championing all along.

 

I will be happy to organize a celebratory event where you can meet many of my colleagues with whom I share these ideas. Just say when and it shall be done. We can use the event to talk at greater length about how we can work together for our continent’s benefit and I can share more lessons with you.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me to chat very soon, because the task ahead of you is a heavy one. Your young shoulders need all the help they can get. Consider me the African father that you didn’t really have for long.

 

God speed and take care of yourself, my son.

 

R.G. Mugabe

 

P.S. Your Michelle is “hot” too by the way! I will link Grace up with her so she can share lessons on how to be a beautiful and quiet wife. She needs reining in now. You will have enough problems to deal with in the world. Managing smart, educated women is quite a chore! I had that with Sally. Yikes! As you Americans would say.

 

To be continued over cucumber sandwiches once you put in a good word for me with Gordon. He seems a more sober fellow than that one named after our local ablutions.

RGM

 

Ghostwritten by Everjoice J Win, a freelance journalist from Zimbabwe.

 

Source: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-11-17-my-dearest-comrade-barack

Disclaimer: Author is a freelance writer, therefore opinions and ideas shared in the above article may not necessarily be those of the staff and management of the Zambian Chronicle.  The original text has been modified to fit Zambian Chronicle content and multi-media structure.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

 

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By Hans Nichols

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) — President-elect Barack Obama promised to make the “single largest new investment,” in America’s roads, require public buildings to be more energy-efficient, and to modernize health care with electronic medical records.

Using his weekly radio address to unveil five components of his plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs, Obama pledged that he would not “do it the old Washington way.”

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” he said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve — by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

The incoming 44th president opened his address by saying that yesterday’s Labor Department report of 533,000 lost jobs in November was “another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing.”The economic slowdown has been exacerbated by the worst credit crisis in seven decades and is compounded by potential collapse of the U.S. auto industry. Congress will return next week to decide whether to rescue the Big Three car companies.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, requiring energy standards on public buildings and updating health-care practices, Obama said that he will launch a “sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings,” and will boost broadband deployment across America.

Passing Plan ‘Immediately’

“These are a few parts of the economic recovery plan that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks,” he said. “When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately.”

On infrastructure, he said his investment would be the largest since the creation of the federal interstate highway system in the 1950s. To the states that will be the conduits for the funding, he had a simple message: “use it or lose it.”

“If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money,” he said.

Obama’s plan to make public buildings more energy efficient should reduce the government’s energy bill, which he called the highest in the world. He plans to replace heating systems and install energy-efficient light bulbs.

He vowed to make schools more energy efficient, while also putting new computers in classrooms.

Obama also plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure, calling it “unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption.”

Modernizing health care was the final component of the plan. By introducing new technology and electronic medical records, he said health-care workers could “prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”

Obama, in Chicago for the weekend, has no public events scheduled for today. Tomorrow, he will mark the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor with a news conference in Chicago, according to a statement from his transition team.

The press conference is scheduled begin at 1:00 p.m. Chicago time tomorrow. No further details were provided.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Chicago at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

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President elect  Barack Obama picks Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.  Priceless
Great minds, are never Insecure. Barack  surrounds himself with big brains. The entire cabinet is a combination of brain powers.                                                                                                                                              

BARACKY II

Baracky 3!

This would have not been possible if there was no freedom of speech. Americans were given the power to elect and vet their leaders.

Each and every candidate’s laundry basket was visited by every American with the help of media and bloggers, without fear that they will be arrested.

In the end America elected the candidate they thought sold more to them,

and yes supporters created all this without fear: Videos like one below shows freedom of speech

I wonder if we do have that kind of freedom of speech in Zambia to be able to vet our leaders before they get elected.

Just looking at the polls tells a lot. Freedom of speech and the process in place in vetting our leaders should be implemented.

 WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ELECTIONS ON OCTOBER 30 2008?

Can you imagine if one of us created Videos that smacked our candidates left, right and center? Guess what would have happened ? Arrested, and possibly jailed for visiting the incoming leader’ s laundry baskets.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and dissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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By Ndangwa Noyoo

Published:Nov 16, 2008

On Obama:

Africans have a penchant for passing the buck and expecting prosperity to fall from heaven whenever issues of national development come to the fore. What does this assertion have to do with the Obama victory?

Well, for starters it points to the very nature of ineptitude that continues to shape our people’s psyche and their misguided belief that Africa’s woes will be solved by some miraculous intervention by some super being.

However, to the contrary the pitfalls of Africa’s development can only be rectified by Africans themselves. Therefore, Africans should not expect Obama to come to their rescue after they have failed to put their houses in order due to corruption, mal-governance, tribalism, nepotism, mediocrity and national paralysis shaped by myopic leaderships.No one but the Africans can free themselves from this on-going socio-economic and political malaise. Africans have to redeem themselves and not expect anyone to realize this noble ideal. Yes, it is good to see a mixed-race individual (Obama is neither black nor White, but a blend of the two.

However, Africans claim him more for obvious reasons), becoming president of the most powerful nation on earth. Indeed, it is gratifying to note that the twenty-first century has debunked the myths of a racist America whereby talent and hard-work has now prevailed over bigotry and half-truths.This is the lesson that Zambians should draw from the Obama campaign and eventual rout of the Republicans. That with the hard-work, talent and fortitude, a person can be credited on merit to either become president of Zambia or hold public office.

It should not be based on one’s “connections”, tribe or brown-nosing. Also, we should recognize the fact that education absolutely matters. Zambia, like all African nations is a modern state. It is part of a fast-paced technological and economically advancing global community.

It is not a small village. Therefore, the acumen to lead such an entity is first and foremost dependent on inta alia, education. Obviously, there are also other personal attributes such as honesty, humility, care for those who are disadvantaged, etc.Conversely, the electorate also needs to be educated and enlightened. An illiterate and uninformed electorate will not be able to choose the caliber of leadership that will speak to policy options for national development, but rather, will be mesmerized by demagogues, ideologues, populists or alarmists.

Until the day that Zambia (and Africa in general) is led by sober, competent and visionary leaders, the ordinary people will continue to wallow in their poverty and misery.

Copyright © 2008 Ndangwa Noyoo.  All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Author is a freelance writer, therefore opinions and ideas shared in the above article may not necessarily be those of the staff and management of the Zambian Chronicle.  The original text has been modified to fit Zambian Chronicle content and multi-media structure.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.


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Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

The election of Mr. Obama amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country.But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

Mr. Obama, 47, a first-term senator from Illinois, defeated Senator John McCain of Arizona, 72, a former prisoner of war who was making his second bid for the presidency.

To the very end, Mr. McCain’s campaign was eclipsed by an opponent who was nothing short of a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds epitomized by the tens of thousands of people who turned out to hear Mr. Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago.

Mr. McCain also fought the headwinds of a relentlessly hostile political environment, weighted down with the baggage left to him by President Bush and an economic collapse that took place in the middle of the general election campaign.

“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,” said Mr. Obama, standing before a huge wooden lectern with a row of American flags at his back, casting his eyes to a crowd that stretched far into the Chicago night.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the president-elect added, “but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Secretary of State, Rice Congratulates Obama

The focus shifted quickly on Wednesday to the daunting challenges facing the president-elect, with his supporters offering sober reflections of what lies ahead.

“We’re in deep trouble,” said Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and leader in the civil rights movement, on the Today show on NBC.

“We’ve got to get our economy out of the ditch, end the war in Iraq and bring our young men and women home, provide health care for all our citizens,” Mr. Lewis said. “And he’s going to call on us, I believe, to sacrifice. We all must give up something.”

Mr. McCain delivered his concession speech under clear skies on the lush lawn of the Arizona Biltmore, in Phoenix, where he and his wife had held their wedding reception. The crowd reacted with scattered boos as he offered his congratulations to Mr. Obama and saluted the historical significance of the moment.

“This is a historic election, and I recognize the significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight,” Mr. McCain said, adding, “We both realize that we have come a long way from the injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation.”

Reverend Jesse Jackson Cries As Obama Is Declared President-Elect …

Not only did Mr. Obama capture the presidency, but he led his party to sharp gains in Congress. This puts Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the White House for the first time since 1995, when Bill Clinton was in office.

The day shimmered with history as voters began lining up before dawn, hours before polls opened, to take part in the culmination of a campaign that over the course of two years commanded an extraordinary amount of attention from the American public.

As the returns became known, and Mr. Obama passed milestone after milestone —Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa and New Mexico — people rolled spontaneously into the streets to celebrate what many described, with perhaps overstated if understandable exhilaration, a new era in a country where just 143 years ago, Mr. Obama, as a black man, could have been owned as a slave.

For Republicans, especially the conservatives who have dominated the party for nearly three decades, the night represented a bitter setback and left them contemplating where they now stand in American politics.

Republican leaders began on Wednesday what will likely be a lengthy re-examination of their brand, as Democrats hope to shape a long-term realignment of the electoral map.

“Certainly, we have to examine this,” said Rep. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Texas Republican, on CNN on Wednesday. “We have to listen to what the people are saying if we’re going to be a forceful voice.”

Mr. Obama and his expanded Democratic majority on Capitol Hill now face the task of governing the country through a difficult period: the likelihood of a deep and prolonged recession, and two wars. He took note of those circumstances in a speech that was notable for its sobriety and its absence of the triumphalism that he might understandably have displayed on a night when he won an Electoral College landslide.

“The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep,” said Mr. Obama, his audience hushed and attentive, with some, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, wiping tears from their eyes. “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. I promise you, we as a people will get there.” The roster of defeated Republicans included some notable party moderates, like Senator John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, and signaled that the Republican conference convening early next year in Washington will be not only smaller but more conservative.

Mr. Obama will come into office after an election in which he laid out a number of clear promises: to cut taxes for most Americans, to get the United States out of Iraq in a fast and orderly fashion, and to expand health care.

In a recognition of the difficult transition he faces, given the economic crisis, Mr. Obama is expected to begin filling White House jobs as early as this week.

Mr. Obama defeated Mr. McCain in Ohio, a central battleground in American politics, despite a huge effort that brought Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, back there repeatedly. Mr. Obama had lost the state decisively to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York in the Democratic primary..Mr. McCain failed to take from Mr. Obama the two Democratic states that were at the top of his target list: New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama also held on to Minnesota, the state that played host to the convention that nominated Mr. McCain; Wisconsin; and Michigan, a state Mr. McCain once had in his sights.

The apparent breadth of Mr. Obama’s sweep left Republicans sobered, and his showing in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania stood out because officials in both parties had said that his struggles there in the primary campaign reflected the resistance of blue-collar voters to supporting a black candidate.

“I always thought there was a potential prejudice factor in the state,” Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat of Pennsylvania who was an early Obama supporter, told reporters in Chicago. “I hope this means we washed that away.”

Mr. McCain called Mr. Obama at 10 p.m., Central time, to offer his congratulations. In the call, Mr. Obama said he was eager to sit down and talk; in his concession speech, Mr. McCain said he was ready to help Mr. Obama work through difficult times

“I need your help,” Mr. Obama told his rival, according to an Obama adviser, Robert Gibbs. “You’re a leader on so many important issues.”

Mr. Bush called Mr. Obama shortly after 10 p.m. to congratulate him on his victory.

“I promise to make this a smooth transition,” the president said to Mr. Obama, according to a transcript provided by the White House .”You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations, and go enjoy yourself.”

President Bush Congratulates Obama

For most Americans, the news of Mr. Obama’s election came at 11 p.m., Eastern time, when the networks, waiting for the close of polls in California, declared him the victor. A roar sounded from the 125,000 people gathered in Hutchison Field in Grant Park at the moment that they learned Mr. Obama had been projected the winner.

The scene in Phoenix was decidedly more sour. At several points, Mr. McCain, unsmiling, had to motion his crowd to quiet down — he held out both hands, palms down — when they responded to his words of tribute to Mr. Obama with boos.

Mr. Obama, who watched Mr. McCain’s speech from his hotel room in Chicago, offered a hand to voters who had not supported him in this election, when he took the stage 15 minutes later. “To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn,” he said, “I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president, too.”

Initial signs were that Mr. Obama benefited from a huge turnout of voters, but particularly among blacks. That group made up 13 percent of the electorate, according to surveys of people leaving the polls, compared with 11 percent in 2006.

In North Carolina, Republicans said that the huge surge of African-Americans was one of the big factors that led to Senator Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, losing her re-election bid.

Mr. Obama also did strikingly well among Hispanic voters; Mr. McCain did worse among those voters than Mr. Bush did in 2004. That suggests the damage the Republican Party has suffered among those voters over four years in which Republicans have been at the forefront on the effort to crack down on illegal immigrants.

The election ended what by any definition was one of the most remarkable contests in American political history, drawing what was by every appearance unparalleled public interest.

On Wednesday night in Hong Kong, Colin Powell, former secretary of state in the Bush administration who endorsed Mr. Obama, became emotional, his eyes moistening, while speaking to reporters about the significance of the moment, according to The Associated Press.“The American people are responding with great emotion and with great pride in our system that we have seen this latest step in reconciliation with respect to our relations,” said Mr. Powell to reporters.

“We have not completely reconciled within my society, with my country. But what Mr. Obama represents is the best of America,” he said.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, people lined up at the polls for hours — some showing up before dawn — to cast their votes. Aides to both campaigns said that anecdotal evidence suggested record-high voter turnout.

Reflecting the intensity of the two candidates, Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama took a page from what Mr. Bush did in 2004 and continued to campaign after the polls opened.

Mr. McCain left his home in Arizona after voting early Tuesday to fly to Colorado and New Mexico, two states where Mr. Bush won four years ago but where Mr. Obama waged a spirited battle.

These were symbolically appropriate final campaign stops for Mr. McCain, reflecting the imperative he felt of trying to defend Republican states against a challenge from Mr. Obama.

“Get out there and vote,” Mr. McCain said in Grand Junction, Colo. “I need your help. Volunteer, knock on doors, get your neighbors to the polls, drag them there if you need to.”

By contrast, Mr. Obama flew from his home in Chicago to Indiana, a state that in many ways came to epitomize the audacity of his effort this year. Indiana has not voted for a Democrat since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide victory in 1964, and Mr. Obama made an intense bid for support there. He later returned home to Chicago play basketball, his election-day ritual.

Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Phoenix, Michael Luo and Marjorie Connelly from New York and Jeff Zeleny from Chicago.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – An Israeli newspaper’s decision to publish a handwritten prayer left by Barack Obama in the cracks of Jerusalem‘s Western Wall drew criticism Friday as an invasion of his privacy and his relationship with God.

In the note, placed at Judaism’s holiest site Thursday, Obama asks God to guide him and guard his family.

“Lord — Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will,” reads the note published in Maariv.

Maariv ran a photograph of the note on its front page Friday. It said the note was removed from the wall by a Jewish seminary student immediately after Obama left.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs would neither confirm nor deny the note was Obama’s, but the handwriting was similar to another message written by the presidential candidate during his time in Israel this week.

The paper’s decision to make the note public brought quick criticism from religious authorities. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, called it an intrusion on Obama’s intimate relationship with God.

“The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,” Rabinovitz told Army Radio.

The newspaper’s action “damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves,” he added.

Many visitors to the 2,000-year-old Western Wall leave notes in its crevices bearing requests and prayers. Obama placed a small note and then bowed his head during a pre-dawn visit Thursday, following a day spent in talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Western Wall is the lone remaining outer retaining wall of the second biblical Jewish temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Revered as Judaism’s holiest site, it stands where the Bible says King Solomon built the first Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

“It’s inappropriate that the prayers of a person at the Western Wall should become a subject of public knowledge at all,” said Jonathan Rosenblum, a Jerusalem-based analyst of the religious community and director of the Orthodox Am Ehad think tank.

“There is a rabbinic prohibition against reading other people’s private communications, and certainly anyone who goes to the wall expects that those communication will be protected,” Rosenblum said.

Another Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, published an article Friday saying it had also obtained the note but decided against publishing it out of respect for Obama’s privacy. Nearly all other Israeli media ignored the story.

Thousands of notes and prayers are stuffed into the cracks of the wall. In recent years, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which operates the site, has opened a fax hot line and a Web site where people overseas can send their prayers and have them printed out and put in the wall.

The wall is emptied of its notes several times a year. The papers are treated as a prayer book and buried, rather than burned.

While Maariv drew criticism, the removal and publication of the note did not appear violate any laws. Police officials said they were not investigating the incident.

The handwriting appeared to match a message that Obama wrote Wednesday in the guest book at Yad Vashem, Israel‘s official Holocaust memorial. It was written on stationery from the King David Hotel, where Obama stayed while in Israel.

Obama signed the Yad Vashem message. The note from the Western Wall was unsigned.

At the Western Wall, Obama was greeted by a crowd of curious onlookers and photographers. He donned a white skullcap, listened to a rabbi read a prayer, and inserted a folded white paper between the stones. One hardline Israeli protester shouted, “Obama, Jerusalem is not for sale.”

The visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories was part of an international tour meant to shore up Obama’s foreign affairs credentials ahead of the November election. Obama’s prospective rival, John McCain, visited Israel in March.

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