- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2008

UPDATED:

Democrat Barack Obama amassed an early lead Tuesday, including a projected win in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, as his epic election battle with Republican John McCain drew to a close.

U.S. media projected wins for the Democrat in Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. McCain was projected to win in Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama and Arkansas.

Obama was also projected to win in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that McCain had declared a must-win.

Obama had 102 electoral votes to McCain’s 49; 270 is needed to win.

Americans packed schoolhouses and streamed in long lines around city blocks to participate in an election dominated by a battered economy at home and war abroad and which offered a certain history-making result.

Obama and McCain campaigned to the very last minute, offering voters a choice between the first black president or a war hero whose runningmate would shatter the political glass ceiling for women.

McCain visited campaign volunteers after a rally in Colorado where he urged supporters not to give up despite polls and pundits predicting a Democratic victory.

“America is worth fighting for,” the Arizona senator told a crowd of several thousand at an airport hanger in Grand Junction. “Nothing is inevitable here.”

When Mr. McCain came to the press area of the Straight Talk Express this evening on his way back to Arizona, his wife Cindy and close friends Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman joined him. The trio had tears in their eyes.

The Arizona senator spoke, without tears or any sign of emotion:

“Well, my friends, this is our last flight on this airplane together and so I just wanted to stop back. Yesterday I know was really a fun day, starting out at the crack of dawn and ended up at 2 am, we went 3,700 miles yesterday. We had a great ride and were looking forward to the election results tonight. Feelin good, feelin confident about the way things have turned out.

“Weve had a great ride, a great experience and its full of memories that we will always treasure, including the last one up there in Colorado, where people were so warm. And the enthusiasm, as you have seen, in rallies has really been quite remarkable and quite heart warming.

“So weve spent a lot of time together. Some have been together for almost two years, others most of the ones that rode around in the van with us and on the $39.99 flight to Manchester. So any way, weve had a great time, I wish you all every success and look forward to being with you in the future. Thanks very much.”

The campaign pit a self-described maverick and war hero against a freshman senator with a golden tongue and a disciplined campaign.

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