The story

Barack Obama's victory Tuesday over John McCain capped an unprecedented rise in American politics.

The obscure state legislator with, as he put it, "a funny name" propelled himself onto the national stage at the Democratic National Convention four years ago with a speech so electrifying that commentators declared he would become America's first black president.

Election Day showed that, in this case at least, you can believe the hype. But Obama did not win the White House on hype, any more than he won it on hope. Read full article »

CNN's Richard Allen Greene, Rebecca Sinderbrand and Laura Haring contributed to this report.

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