Obama, McCain await judgment of history

WASHINGTON, November 5, 2008 (AFP) – Front-runner Barack Obama faced a tense wait Tuesday to see if millions of American voters would enshrine him as the first black president or whether Republican John McCain would mount a shock comeback. On a night of high drama, the presidential rivals were powerless as results started to pour in from states where polls closed early in a potentially epochal presidential and Congressional election which could see a rare US political realignment.

Tens of millions of people cast votes with America locked in a moment of national crisis, mired in the worst financial meltdown since the 1930s and tens of thousands of troops in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a first favorable sign for Democrat Obama, US television networks were unable to make an early projection on the key midwestern swing state of Indiana, which is a normally Republican state which is a must-win for McCain.

The key swing state of Virginia and the normally Republican bastion Georgia had also closed at 7:00 pm (1900 GMT). Both states could show the impact of the unpopular presidency of George W. Bush on McCain’s hopes.

As expected, McCain snapped up Kentucky and Obama won Vermont, according to early network projections.