Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States, the first African-American elevated to the White House.
With victories in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other battleground states, Obama built a commanding lead over his Republican rival, John McCain.
Obama surged in the polls amid a national financial crisis, campaigning as the candidate of change. He and his fellow Democrats sought to link McCain to the unpopular George W. Bush.
President Bush has called Obama to congratulate him on winning the presidency.
The two-term Republican president told the Illinois senator upon his historic win: "What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters."
Bush promised Obama a smooth transition to the White House.
Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president told Obama: "You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself."
The son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, Obama soared into the national spotlight after his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he was making his first run for the Senate.
Emphasizing his early opposition to the Iraq war, he defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton after a long, bruising primary fight. He then beat back Republican efforts to portray him as reckless, naive and inexperienced. He also had to combat Internet misinformation questioning his religion and patriotism.
As he fought to become president, Obama attracted millions of first-time voters -- and brought the historic American election to the attention of the entire world.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.