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Scenes Of Celebration At The White House

The scene outside the White House Wednesday after President Obama's re-election.
Mladen Antonov
AFP/ Getty Images
The scene outside the White House Wednesday after President Obama's re-election.

Supporters of President Obama partied outside the White House on Wednesday morning, chanting "Four More Years!" and "U-S-A!" — and singing off-tune renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner.

"I knew I'd be coming here. I just didn't know whether I'd be coming to protest or to celebrate," said AnaLysa Sawyers, 38, a teacher from Maryland.

While Obama gave an acceptance speech in Chicago, hundreds of revelers in the nation's capital climbed trees and shouted and danced for news cameras. There were conga lines, homemade signs and impromptu drum circles. For a campaign characterized by a deficit of enthusiasm, there seemed to be plenty of it going around.

"I'm beyond ecstatic right now," said Latasha Burns, 36, a Washington, D.C., resident. "I wasn't expecting so many people, but I'm glad to see the turnout."

Some in the crowd said they were celebrating not just the election of their preferred presidential candidate, but passage of measures in Maryland and Maine allowing gay marriage; Maryland's passage of its version of the DREAM Act, to extend in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants; and the election of Tammy Baldwin, who will become the first openly gay U.S. senator, in Wisconsin.

"We're thrilled for [Baldwin] to speak on our behalf," said Washington, D.C., resident Christine LeMieux, 30, who was waving a rainbow flag with her partner.

Some who supported Obama in 2008 said their celebration was markedly different from what they experienced four years ago, upon the historic election of the nation's first African-American president.

"Four years ago, it was like writing history. This year, the story is being completed," said Ericka Jeter, 39, a teacher from Maryland.

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Helen Thompson
Jordan G. Teicher