Washington Celebrates an Obama Victory

Crowds gathered outside the White House and on U Street to cheer the President’s victory.

By: Sophie Gilbert

The tone might have been somber at the RNC’s official election party last night—Roll Call reports that “by 11:15 PM, it was over”—but the shindig at the Ronald Reagan Building was one of the few places in town where people weren’t celebrating.

After NBC News became the first media organization to project that President Barack Obama would win reelection at 11:12, crowds of people began assembling on U Street and outside the White House, shouting, “Four more years,” and jumping up and down. Outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, revelers climbed trees and waved signs saying “Reelect Obama.” Someone brandished Shepard Fairey’s iconic Hope poster, along with a rainbow flag.

The crowds on U Street clustered around Ben’s Chili Bowl, chanting “USA” and dancing in the middle of the road. Someone let off a firework, and another person held up a wrestling belt with the Obama logo painted on it. WUSA9 reporter Bruce Johnson tried to interview the crowd, but the chants of “Yes, we can” were so loud that he couldn’t make out what most people were saying.

Things were quieter on Capitol Hill, where many bars were half-empty and many people seemed concerned about what the results would mean for their own jobs. But at the Liaison Capitol Hill, where the Democratic National Committee hosted its official election-night party, Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s speech was consistently interrupted by cheering, the New York Times reports: “Little could dampen the crowd’s spirits. House or no House, they went on to chant, ‘Four more years.’”

Jubilant Obama supporters perched in a tree above the crowd.
The chants of the crowd were so loud it was difficult for reporters to interview anyone.