By Mateo Gamboa and Stuart Platt
The Bells staff has decided to do something it has never done before. We are doing live coverage of the 2008 presidential election and will be updating this page hourly after 7:00 p.m. with student reactions, results, and other useful information.
With over 16 million votes counted, McCain is leading in the popular vote by 1 percent and Obama has control over more electoral votes with 82 as opposed to McCain’s 34. Freshman Hayley Shaffer is indifferent to each candidate but said, “If I had to pick a president, I would pick McCain.”
Sen. Barack Obama seems to be pulling ahead of the race with 206 electoral votes.
Students comment back and forth as they anxiously await the election results trickling through the stereo speakers of the television screen.
“I think it’s probably going to be Obama. It seems pretty stacked now against McCain,” freshman Justin Rippy said.
Rippy did not vote in this election due to the hassle of absentee voting.
“I’m not really a voter,” he said. “I’m just not that interested in this election. If I was home, I probably would’ve voted.”
Though Rippy and his friends seemed interested in the results of the election, they were fairly apathetic toward the outcome.
“I guess Obama is the lesser of the two evils. Maybe we’ll get a tax break.”
Rippy and his friends watched Monday night football last night in which the Redskins lost to the Steelers.
“I guess we’ll see what happens,” he said. “The Redskins lost, and it was all downhill from there. Every time the Redskins have lost historically for the last 17 elections the party has changed hands.”
Obama is still looking strong with 207 electoral votes and 51 percent of the popular vote, but McCain remains a contender with his lead in Texas and a stand-still in Florida.
McCain has 135 electoral votes and 48 percent of the popular vote thus far.
The 270 mile-marker is quickly approaching for Obama, and with most of the west coast still up for grabs, a win looks likely.
Sophomore Mandi Sanders voted early this year in Austin and feels nervous about the outcome of this election.
She said, “I don’t want us to become a socialist nation.”
Students in the SUB huddled around the TV in anticipation of the final election poll results and celebrated wildly with the announcement of the new president.
Sophomore Obama supporter Angel Bell was among those celebrating the victory.
She said several times, “I cannot believe this.”
“Now I really feel like I can do anything. Now I can look at my kids … and tell them they can do anything and mean it.”
Senior Carlton Lemley was also ecstatic about the election results.
He said, “It feels like a dream has come to fruition. I said in 2004 ‘this man will be president’ when he gave a speech at the DNC.”
Lemley said he has faced discrimination on campus because of his political views.
“It feels like the divisions that fostered a partisan attitude towards me can begin to be healed,” he said. “I’m not mad at Republicans. They grew up here. They don’t know better.”
Under Obama, changes will be made. America will see a new face representing the nation, and whether good or bad, the country will undergo some huge changes in the next four, or possibly eight years.
One thing is for sure. History was made tonight.
Senior Jeremy Williams rejoiced the result of the election.
“This election is just not something that will be talked about for the next four years. This election is not one that will be talked about for three or four generations. This is an infinite marker in history,” he said, “Martin Luther King was right: The progress does take time. Some people are ready. Some people are not. I am ready.”
An anonymous student and McCain supporter said, “I think it is a positive change for the black community, but for America it is a turn for the worse. I wasn’t really all for McCain either.”
Sen. John McCain handled himself with poise after his landslide loss, offering his support to Obama in his four-year term.
He said, “Sen. Obama has achieved a great thing for himself, and I applaud him for it.”
McCain also acknowledged Obama’s ground-breaking win for African Americans all over the nation and urged his own supporters to follow this code:
“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans.”
Obama’s victory speech
Obama spoke to a silent group; a crowd awaiting a speech that would be iconic in United States history.
“Americans are sending a message to the world that we have never been a collection of individuals or red states and blue states. We are the United States of America,” he said.
Obama thanked his family and political team for their support and congratulated the American people for selecting their next president and preserving democracy.
The crowd chanted “yes we can” as Obama listed the things he wants to achieve for the people of the United States.
Obama also addressed those who voted for his opponent, John McCain.
He said, “I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help and I will be your president too.”
Obama has big plans for the United States, but stresses that the change must start with the people.
The overwhelming theme of Obama’s speech was “yes we can.” He cited historical occurences within the last century and the change they brought in America and challenged Americans to make the same growth over the next century for their own children and grandchildren.
With Obama’s landslide victory, the American people certainly believe he can.