Jubilant scenes as Obama wins
The historic election of Barack Obama to the US presidency has prompted jubilant scenes in Melbourne, where hundreds of Americans packed out a city pub to celebrate a new era.
As Obama was declared the winner shortly after 3pm (AEDT), the packed crowd of Democrats Abroad erupted in booming cheers and whistles, chanting the campaign slogan "Yes We Can".
"This is absolutely unbelievable," Democrat supporter Max Schlosshauer, 31, said.
"It's been eight years of waiting with all this expectation. I was trying to be cautious [earlier] … This is just amazing."
Some were in tears of joy as they watched on TV the president-elect take the stage in Chicago in his victory speech. And as expected, the smooth oratory skills of the 47-year-old Democrat captivated this Australian gathering as it did the live audience in Chicago.
"He always delivers in that regard," said supporter Michael Rotkowitz, as Obama hugged his family onstage.
"He's pretty amazing how he can speak like that so consistently."
The unanimously pro-Obama crowd began rolling into South Melbourne's Maori Chief hotel around 10am, with many dressing in colourful Obama-themed t-shirts, badges and top hats.
"We had a whole lot of people say they were willing to take the day off work — if we could find a place to have a drink," said event organizer Bill Davis.
The merriment grew as a live CNN feed projected that Obama would win a series of pivotal states.
"I'm just here enjoying watching Obama kick butt," said Virginia-born Ian Morgan. "I took the day off work — maybe I should've taken tomorrow off instead."
As the liquor flowed, some were even prepared to claim they had known the result long ago.
"I knew he was destined for something even greater than he imagined himself," said Chris Wallace, from Ohio. "I sensed it. Neither Hillary or McCain would be as different. It was a no-brainer."
When Obama later proclaimed "a new dawn of American leadership is at hand", there were no arguments half a world away.
"He will be a fantastic president," said Cassidy Knowlton.
"He will restore our standing to the world."