The Note: Obama Seeks to Define Mandate

By Hope Ditto

Nov 5, 2008 8:24am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports in Wednesday’s Note:

The One is the one. Yes, we can, and yes, he did — but can he really?

A new dawn arrived, coming long before sunrise — and closing out a long-lasting morning in America. It casts light on a new map, produced by a new electorate, and invites in a new president’s vision for a troubled time.

President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama — his name itself speaking to the improbable journey that brought him here — gets a mandate to go with his landslide, yes. Now, out of the grand scramble to define what that means, comes the great challenge that may define a generation: What to do with it.

For Sen. John McCain — a graceful exit that gives the nation the gift of finality, if not quite unity. A return to the Senate enhanced by a remarkable run of his own — the chance, still, to serve his country.

For congressional Democrats — expanded majorities in the House and Senate, though not the kind that makes compromise optional. (And will we find out what Nancy Pelosi’s House looks like without Rahm Emanuel — the odds-on choice to become Obama’s chief of staff?)

Read the rest of The Note — and get all the latest on the 2008 election, Congress, the White House and the wide world of politics every day — from Rick Klein by bookmarking this link.

For the GOP — rock-bottom, perhaps, and new opportunities. The party is wide open for rebranding, and the smart minds know how quickly 2010 approaches. (In the meantime, it’s going to get ugly.)

This is Obama’s story though, with much still unwritten. He won his way: A calm, confident campaign that defied conventions and disproved assumptions. A broad demographic and geographic sweep — the kind we’ve been trained to think can no longer exist in polarized American politics.

Can he govern the same way?

“A national catharsis,” declares The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, “a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country.”

“Barack Obama built his victory out of a concrete base of near unanimous support from black voters, layered with overwhelming support from Hispanics, young people and enough white voters to remake the partisan landscape in the United States,” ABC’s Brian Hartman writes. 

“This happened because we did this — we did this, America did this,” Oprah Winfrey told ABC’s Robin Roberts, on “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.

ABC News’ Hope Ditto contributed to this report.

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