Sen. Barack Obama, an unknown state senator from Illinois four years ago who has cast a vision for change across the country, has won the election tonight to the highest office in the land. He will become the 44th president of the United States next Jan. 20th.
Obama is close in Indiana's rural areas. When the urban area of Gary's votes are reported, he will take that state and its 11 electoral votes. The Associated Press has reported that its exit polls show that 33 percent of people who voted for the GOP governor in Indiana voted for Obama, which is a strong indication he will win the state.
In addition to Indiana, Obama has projected safe margins in California (55 electoral votes), New York (31), Illinois (21), Pennsylvania (21), Michigan (17), New Jersey (15), Massachusetts (12), Washington (11), Maryland (10), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Connecticut (7), Iowa (7), Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), Maine (4), Hawaii (4), Rhode Island (4), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), and Vermont (3). The total now will be at least 271 electoral votes, clinching the White House. He needed 270 electoral votes to win.
Obama was born of modest means in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British.
Barack's mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in small-town Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression, and then signed up for World War II after Pearl Harbor, where he marched across Europe in Patton's army. Her mother went to work on a bomber assembly line, and after the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved west to Hawaii.
It was there, at the University of Hawaii, where Barack's parents met. His mother was a student there, and his father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams in America.
Barack's father eventually returned to Kenya, and Barack grew up with his mother in Hawaii, and for a few years in Indonesia. Later, he moved to New York, where he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.
At Harvard Law School he became the first black person to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review. Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil-rights attorney before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After a primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70 percent of the vote.
He defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primaries this year in a heated campaign that almost went to the convention floor.