"The American people are responding with great emotion and with great pride in our system that we have seen this latest step in reconciliation with respect to our race relations. ... We have not completely reconciled within my society, with my country. But what Mr. Obama represents is the best of America."

Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell


"I think that he helped to touch the core of what our ancestors had been struggling with for the last 200 years. So all of those unknown people who have struggled through slavery, through segregation and through adversity based on our race and not on our intelligence and our minds, that he now sets a new tone for people to look beyond race in moving this country forward."

Mayor Sheila Dixon


"This was an exercise in American democracy of which Americans across the political spectrum are justifiably proud. As an African-American, I'm especially proud because this is a country that's been through a long journey, in terms of overcoming wounds and making race [less of a factor in life]. That work is not done, but yesterday was obviously an extraordinary step forward."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

"I am just so overcome with happiness and excitement. ... I'm from Mississippi, and I remember having to drink from separate water fountains and not being able to go into businesses and not being able to use the library in my hometown. And until we forced the issue, we couldn't go downstairs in the theater."

Baltimore State's Attorney

Patricia C. Jessamy

"It wasn't just all blacks. It was everybody in the country that pulled this thing together. The country won this election."

John Henry, 63, retired rigger in Baltimore

"I'm extremely excited about the possibilities for our country on this day when we have a new president-elect. I feel blessed to be breathing on the day we get to experience it. I think the reaction around the world tells the story better than anything I could say."


City Council President

Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake