I don't think there is any denying that race was a contributing factor in electing Obama; for some because of his race, for some in spiteof his race.
What's missing in the discussion is the underlying theme now that he has been elected and for some was a subconcious force born of the desire to see a black president.
That was the belief/feeling/hope that his election would somehow show that we, as a nation, had moved on from our racial past and were ready to embrace the color-blind society that so many have wanted and desired as far back as MLK if not further.
But the truth is that symbolism doesn't change the racial overtones and categorizations that we as Americans are bombarded with and more to the point indoctrinated with throughout our lives.
From Government mandates to Media to Business and, to some extent, even to Parents and Teachers, we are constantly reminded of the divisions of race in all areas from designating to which racial category one belongs on an employment/credit application or census form to which jobs, loans, or educational opportunities are to be alloted to each particular race and how many of each a particular school or employer may accept.
It is, IMO, due to this indoctrination that 40 some odd years after the recognition that all people should be 'treated according to the content of their character rather than the color of their skin' the election of Obama can only still be seen as a 'start'.
Only when we can get to a point where racial categorization is not a political and social way of life can we look at a media report the day after a Black President is elected and see the headline 'Best Man Won!' instead of 'Black Man Won!'.