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Election Quotes for the History Books

 by Hannah Lobel


Tags: Politics, Election 2008, Barack Obama, history, quotes, election reaction,

Herewith, a smattering of memorable quotes from America’s history-making election.

“America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves—if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made? This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.”

—President-elect Barack Obama in his victory speech

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating [Barack Obama], but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.” 

—Senator John McCain in his concession speech

“Obama’s gift is that he understood America's great secret, that Americans have a deep and abiding need to love one another, and that we only lack the courage to do so.” 

Adam Serwer at American Prospect’s Tapped blog

“What I’ve been forced to acknowledge is there has been a shift—it’s not a sea change. But there's been a decided shift in the meaning of race. It’s not an ending. It's a beginning.”

—novelist Kim McLarin, to the Washington Post

“Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday's election.” 

the Onion

Obama erweckt das neue Amerika
(Obama wakes up the new America)

—headline from Spiegel.com

“The Civil War is over. Let reconstruction begin.”

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

“If you are incapable of mustering pride in this moment, and if you cannot appreciate how meaningful this day is for millions of black folks who stood in lines for up to seven hours to vote, then your cynicism has become such an encumbrance as to render you all but useless to the liberation movement. Indeed, those who cannot appreciate what has just transpired are so eaten up with nihilistic rage and hopelessness that I cannot but think that they are a waste of carbon, and actively thieving oxygen that could be put to better use by others.”

Tim Wise at Racialicious

“It really is fun to see those people out there jumping up and down. There’s something about jumping up and down that I think is good for the soul. It’s a universal sign of joy.”

Fox News anchor Brit Hume, musing at the student crowds that gathered outside the White House on election night

“Good morning, Republicans! Welcome to the wilderness. We saved you a seat right over here, next to us. Looks like we'll have a lot of time to talk in the next four years.”

—libertarian blogger Katherine Mangu-Ward on Reason’s Hit & Run blog.

“[A]s the result of a financial panic that unfairly undermined all Republicans, Obama has stumbled into the most dangerous kind of victory. A mandate for change but not for ideas. A mandate without clear meaning.”

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson

“It’s a good to have a president again. The last couple of years we haven’t had one—or rather we have one who decided to give up after failing badly. This has been an especially painful vacuum during the collapse of the economy, and in the face of our diminished reputation in the world. There’s been no one to reassure the country, and no sign that a leader was actually tending to the national well being.”

New Republic editor Franklin Foer

Did we miss a good one? Add it below in our comments.