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Obama set to claim victory or concede defeat -

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Obama set to claim victory or concede defeat

The World Today - Wednesday, 5 November , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Michael Rowland

ELEANOR HALL: But first let's go to Chicago where Barack Obama is set to return to greet his
supporters to either claim victory or concede defeat.

Joining me now from Chicago, is our correspondent Michael Rowland.

Michael, what is the mood in the Obama camp at this early stage?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Well there's a mood of early jubilation based on those opinion polls that suggest
that Barack Obama is going to win this election, I'm sitting about 50 metres from the stage where
Barack Obama will be appearing in a few hours time.

And they've just let, what's estimated to be a crowd of about 100,000 people flood into this park,
and people (inaudible) to get their poll positions, at the bottom of the stage and every time the
US networks project Barack Obama winning, what has been traditionally Democratic states, huge
cheers have erupted from the ground here.

So at the moment the mood is one of optimism, but given how slow the count is going and how close
the contests are in some of those key battleground states, it could be a long night.

ELEANOR HALL: Michael, it's a difficult phone line we've got with you there, but the results from
some states are just coming in, are you hearing anything from campaign strategists about what they
think the night is looking like?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Well the campaign strategists are saying that it's basically going with the flow,
not surprisingly we've seen Barack Obama winning traditionally blue states, like Vermont, New
Jersey, he's just picked up his home state of Illinois, and similarly John McCain is picking up
traditionally Republican states like Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

The results are in critical states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio are still too close to call, but
Indiana is shaping up to be a very close contest with only a few percentage points separating John
McCain and Barack Obama so that may suggest the scales are tipping ever so slightly in the
Democratic candidates favour.

ELEANOR HALL: It has been a gruelling campaign, how busy was Barack Obama today? We heard some talk
that he might have actually got to the basketball court?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Yes, well this is something of an election day tradition for Barack Obama,
Eleanor, he likes to shoot some hoops to release a bit of stress on Election Day, he's done it
every day this year of the Democratic Primary and he found time for about an hour or so of
basketball practice this afternoon.

But he did fit in some campaigning, and in Indiana where he was supposed to be calling voters to
urge them to get to the polls, and he is now watching these returns come in from a hotel not too
far from where I'm broadcasting from.

ELEANOR HALL: We can hear something going on behind you Michael, is that the crowd cheering or is
that security?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: No, that's the crowd cheering, every time, they're watching CNN on one of the
biggest TV screens I've seen in my life, and every time CNN projects, not projects but shows Barack
Obama ahead in any given state, not necessarily projecting him the winner of that state, you'll
hear what we just heard then, and we're hearing it again now, just a wave of cheering erupting from
what is a very very enthusiastic crowd.

ELEANOR HALL: Michael Rowland in Chicago, the hometown of Democrat candidate Barack Obama, thank