It took us 2 years to reach the answer. He had beaten Hillary (and Bill) - the Clinton juggernaut and now having taken on the might of the Republican party he's won hands down, an emphatic victory. All the personal attacks on Obama had little effect. A man we knew very little about just over a year ago, who doesn't come from a political dynasty like the Bushs or Clintons is now the most powerful person on the planet.
What sealed John McCain's fate? It could have been the pick of Sarah Palin - his choice for Vice-President. He chose someone who showed herself to be out of her depth. She motivated the Republican base but he needed the centre ground to win this election. Once we got a cold hard look at Sarah Palin after the Republican convention and we saw her stumble though media interviews, I think that could have been a defining moment.
Something else... on September 24th McCain suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington. That was when many Americans looked at both candidates and gauged that Obama was a steadier hand in a crisis.
But overall, it's the economy. John McCain and his clumsy use "the fundamentals of the economy are still strong". It became a soundbite. Ouch. It turned the suburbs against McCain - those who in the last years had moved out of the cities who'd upgraded to a larger house and bigger car. They were hurting trying to pay the bills and avoiding foreclosure on their recently acquired homes.
How did Obama do it?
He ran a superbly disciplined campaign. Probably the best campaign in recent memory. Democrats were motivated and organised opening up many more offices in key battleground states than the McCain camp. He raised more money much of it via smaller donors over the internet all of which he used to thump his platform home.
There were no knock-out punches. Obama was able to address and deflect possible controversies over the Rev Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayres. On tax issues and Joe the Plumber, Obama was clearly able to get his message across that he was all about tax cuts for the middle classes. But overall this message of change resonated.
Photo: EPA, Tannen Maury
title: Outside the White House length: 4:48 MP3 (4.599MB) | WMA
There's a party goin' on
We're just a few blocks from the White House and I've just come back from speaking with people congregating outside the Presidential residence. I saw people crying, laughing but overall I felt a sense of relief here that the last eight years are finally over. Thousands came down in the pouring rain to dance in the streets, to sound their horns and to enjoy this party atmosphere ahead of a new dawn. The election is over and we can all get on with our lives and (after inauguration day) it's roll on President Obama!