History made as Democrat Obama elected U.S.'s first black president.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}Americans emphatically elected Democrat Barack Obama as their first black president Tuesday, in a historic election which will reshape U.S. politics and the country's role on the world stage. (UPDATED)

"Tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America," Obama told a euphoric crowd of 240,000 tearful supporters gathered in Chicago's Grant Park after defeating Republican John McCain.
Obama, 47, will be inaugurated the 44th U.S. president on Jan. 20, 2009, and inherit an economy mired in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a nuclear showdown with Iran.
"The road ahead will be long, our climb will be steep, 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," Obama said in his hometown of Chicago.
"I promise you -- we as a people will get there."
McCain's hopes for a surprise victory evaporated with losses in a string of key battleground states led by the big prizes of Ohio and Florida, the states that sent Democrats to defeat in the last two elections.
The win by Obama, son of a black father from Kenya and white mother from Kansas, marked a milestone in U.S. history. It came 45 years after the height of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King.
Obama won at least 338 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 needed. With results in from more than two-thirds of U.S. precincts, he led McCain by 51 percent to 48 percent in the popular vote.
Obama promised to ease the country's sharp political divisions and work for those voters who did not support him.
A first-term Illinois senator, Obama led sweeping Democratic victories that expanded the party's majorities in both chambers of Congress and marked an emphatic rejection of President George W. Bush's eight years of leadership.
Exit polls suggest the economy was the major deciding factor for six out of 10 voters.
Nine out of 10 said the candidates' race was not important to their vote, AP reported. Almost as many said age did not matter.
Several states reported very high turnout. It was predicted 130 million Americans, or more, would vote - more than for any election since 1960.
McCain, a 72-year-old Arizona senator and former Vietnam War prisoner, called Obama to congratulate him and praised his rival's inspirational and precedent-shattering campaign.
"We have come to the end of a long journey," McCain told supporters. "I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our goodwill."
Obama also said the United States would support those who seek peace while offering a warning to potential enemies.
"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand," he said during his victory speech.
"To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you," he said.
"And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope."