President Barack Obama walked out to meet a cheering crowd in Chicago as Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" blared above the roar of applause.
First Lady Michelle and his two daughters held his hands.
It was after 1:30 a.m. Eastern time, but everyone in the packed house was wired as the orator took his place behind the podium, his comfort zone.
"Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to choose our own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward," he began.
And his trademark soaring rhetoric rose to the occasion.
Obama had just crushed Mitt Romney in the Electoral College vote despite a neck-and-neck popular vote, and he was on top of the world.
A few highlights of the speech:
"We are an American family and we rise and fall together as one nation and as one group."
"We have picked ourselves up ... and we know that for the United States of America the best is yet to come."
"Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too."
"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, i have learned from you, and you've made me a better president."
"I have never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America."
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