CLAYTON, N.C. -- At 9:15 p.m., news organizations call Pennsylvania for the Obama and the crowd burst into loud sustained cheers at the Flipside restaurant in Clayton, NC.

Many in the group of about 50 or so, young and not so much, about equal parts black and white, had been getting together since volunteering for the Democrats in the 2008 election. They  hosted a watch party for the third debate  in this largely Republican Southern town. And since then, the restaurant had bought a brand new flat screen TV,  and folks leaned in close to watch the flurry of results on MSNBC.

Ohio flashed and and there was a collective gasp, but at 9:20 it was too close to call.