US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has praised president-elect Barack Obama as "inspirational" and promised to do everything to make a smooth transition at the State Department.
"This was an exercise in American democracy, of which Americans across the political spectrum are justifiably proud, said Rice, who is the first African-American to hold the post of the nation's top diplomat.
"I want to note that President-elect Obama was inspirational, and I'm certain he will continue to be," she said describing on Tuesday as an "extraordinary election Wednesday night".
"One of the great things about representing this country is it continues to surprise; it continues to renew itself; it continues to beat all odds and expectations," Rice told reporters in a brief statement at the State Department on Wednesday.
"You just know that Americans are not going to be satisfied until they really do form that perfect union. And while the perfect union may never be in sight, we just keeping working at it and trying," she said.
Striking a personal note, Rice said: "As an African American, I am especially proud because this is a country that's been through a long journey in terms of overcoming wounds and making race not the factor in our lives."
"That work is not done, but Wednesday was obviously an extraordinary step forward," she added.
Rice also praised defeated Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. "I want to note that Senator McCain was gracious. He's a great patriot."
Rice has designated Under Secretary for Political Affairs William J Burns and Under Secretary for Management Affairs Patrick F Kennedy as co-chairs of the State Department transition and Executive Secretary Daniel Smith as coordinator of the transition.
As a routine, the incoming Secretary of State and transition team would be briefed on all aspects of the State Department, including security, management, and policy issues, a department statement said.