Election 2008

Obama Supporters Celebrate Outside White House

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President-elect Barack Obama doesn't move in to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for another couple of months. But it turned out to be the site of spontaneous celebration by some of his supporters in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The crowd didn't seem to be too worried about keeping the current occupants awake.


Earlier this hour, President Bush described Barack Obama's win yesterday as an impressive victory.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: All Americans can be proud of the history that was made yesterday. Across the country, citizens voted in large numbers. They showed a watching world the vitality of America's democracy and the strides we have made toward a more perfect union.

MONTAGNE: President Bush was in Washington last night for election returns. And, once the race was over, a celebration broke out in his front yard. NPR's Julie Rovner reports.

(Soundbite of car horns)

JULIE ROVNER: This is not what downtown Washington normally sounds like at 1 a.m. on a typical Wednesday. But this was no typical Wednesday. It was the first hours of the first day of Barack Obama's tenure as president-elect. And while carefully planned events were the order of the campaign, a not-at-all planned party sprung up directly in front of the White House just after the election was called for Obama.

(Soundbite of people chanting "Yes we can")

ROVNER: At first the revelers were college students from nearby George Washington University, people like Dorian Brown(ph) from Atlanta. He said the impromptu party on Pennsylvania Avenue wasn't planned.

Mr. DORIAN BROWN (Student, George Washington University): I think the excitement of the night just caught on. Everybody just had to rush over. They couldn't contain themselves.

ROVNER: Why the White House?

Mr. BROWN: Because that's where the president lives. Where else would we run to?

ROVNER: But as the crowd started showing up on television, other older people started to join them, like Spencer Bolliker(ph).

Mr. SPENCER BOLLIKER: I want to be a part of history. I want to be a part of all this. It's amazing. I'm so in disbelief, and it just makes it more real.

ROVNER: Even people who didn't vote for Obama joined the party. Trevor Harrison(ph) was visiting from Sydney, Australia.

Mr. TREVOR HARRISON: We're strongly in favor of Obama in Australia, eight to one, like the rest of the world.

ROVNER: And what are you doing in front of the White House in the middle of the night?

Mr. HARRISON: Oh, we thought we'd come down and celebrate with the rest of the world.

ROVNER: It was all very peaceful, but it got a bit loud, which raised the question did the crowd worry about keeping the current occupants of the White House awake? Spencer Bolliker thought about that for about two seconds.

Mr. BOLLIKER: Not at all.

ROVNER: Julie Rover, NPR News, Washington.

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