From Cynthia Littleton:
The mood in the Los Angeles ballroom at the Century Plaza Hotel, where Obama’s California campaign has its election night celebration, is jubiliant. The room familiar to showbizzers from awards shows and charity events is fast filling up – more than an hour before the skedded start time of the party – with Obama supporters. The crowd is noticeably young and ethnically diverse.
Huge whoops are roaring through the room every time an Obama state victory pops up on one of the five giant-screen tv monitors scattered around the ballroom. The sets are tuned to CNN and MSNBC. This is not a Fox News crowd.
There’s a blogger’s area set up right behind the riser for TV cameras where at least two dozen people perched over laptops, furiously typing away.
There’s already chatter among hotel security that the doors may have to close soon, lest this victory party run afoul of the ultimate authority – the fire marshal.
“What a night to be white,” said “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Brad Garrett, who was hanging out in the back of the ballroom with a date. “Next to the birth of my kids, this is the best thing that ever happened in my lifetime. I’m just glad I lived to see it… Barack Obama has what this country needs — vision, a plan and the ability to inspire people in a way that I’ve never seen. I feel fortunate to be here tonight.”
From Patrick Frater:
The Democratic Party bash in Century Plaza hotel is a chaotic swirl on two different floors – the main ballroom, which was packed way before the party even officially opened at 8pm and at lobby level, where there are queues and hundreds of happy, expectant people waiting to get to lower floors. Outside, folks hang over crush barriers awaiting glimpses of political and showbiz stars.
As the polls closed at 8pm and TV sets appeared to deliver good news, the crowd erupted with massive cheering and chants of “yes we can,” and people hugged each other in corridors.
Minutes later, cries went up: “Twenty-one votes!” and “O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA,” as crowd became more sure of an Obama victory.
All are waiting for California to declare. That’s when the red, white and blue balloons will drop from the ceiling.
Meanwhile, a raised dais full of Tv commentators are trying to make themselves heard over the crowd.
In the background, TV images of Republican VP contender Sarah Palin provoke raucous boos and hundreds of thumbs-down signs, not that anyone could hear what she was saying.
The noise levels became crazier still as pictures of Obama taking the field in Chicago.
Silence for a second as Obama told the crowd that “anything is possible.” Then every line of his speech was cheered.
Double cheers as he spoke of straight and gays together.
Then warm clapping as Obama praised McCain.
This is emotional stuff.