Joan Walsh (12:45 a.m. EST): I was trying to get a quick post up about Barack Obama's speech but I couldn't type. I was agog. From Michelle and Sasha and Malia through the Biden-Obama tableau at the end -- oh, and there was a cool speech in the middle -- well, words were failing me, and I'm sorry.
MSNBC and CNN have done something very great tonight: First, when everyone called the election for Obama, they just went to ecstatic crowds from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to Harlem to Times Square to Spelman College ... and it was so much better than listening to pundits. Now, after Obama's speech, they lingered on the Obamas and Bidens on the stage, which was the story.
"It's been a long time coming, but change has come to America," Obama told the ecstatic Chicago crowd. He hailed his incomparable campaign and all its millions of volunteers. "This is your victory You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead." But he also quickly reached out to McCain voters: "To those Americans who's support I've yet to earn, I need your help, and I'll be your president, too."
I still thrill to the message of Obama's 2004 convention speech, which he reprised tonight: that the election "sent a message to the world: that we have never been a collection of red states and blue states, we have always been and are the United States of America." People were crying that night in the Fleet Center, they were so moved. The message was right, but the moment apparently wasn't. The moment is finally now.
We started blogging this morning with a debate about whether and how Obama needs to reach out to moderates and Republicans. I don't want to worry about that tonight; I want to enjoy it. I assume he has to and he will reach out to the middle -- on his terms, I hope. But there's no doubt in my mind that a victory of this size is a mandate for big change, and I expect him to claim it.
I'm going to join David Talbot and Gary Kamiya at Gary's house, where we all celebrated Bill Clinton's election in 1992. I'll add at least one post from there. Happy Election Day, everybody!