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News of Osama Bin Laden's demise at American hands sent crowds pouring onto the grounds outside the White House, where hundreds instinctively flocked to the site of the president's address for a raucous celebration.

The crowd was overwhelmingly young, many of them students from DC's nearby universities who were in grade school on 9/11, creating a frat-like atmosphere as participants chanted "USA!" "Yes We Did!" and sang the national anthem. Many carried American flags or dressed in red, white and blue. The air was pungent with tobacco smoke in places as revelers giddily lit up victory cigars. Some took turns climbing lampposts, drawing huge cheers with each successful attempt.

[See TPM's Slideshow of the Celebration in DC and New York City]

"Well, Osama would hate that," one onlooker cracked as a young woman flashed her breasts.

For many, the news of Bin Laden's death was simply too intense to enjoy alone.

"I didn't think we'd ever find him," one misty-eyed defense contractor told TPM as he carried a giant flag. "I saw the news flash and just wanted to join Americans in celebration."

"Better late than never, right?" Mike Martinez, an Iraq veteran who came with another member of his unit, Josh Carnes.

"We got him," Carnes said. "This is awesome!"

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1||May 1, 2011: President Barack Obama announced in a televised addresss that United States special forces had killed Osama Bin Laden. Following the announcement, people rallied in the streets of New York, Washington, and elsewhere. ||Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

2||Hundreds of people gathered outside the White House late Sunday night into Monday morning, waving flags an chanting "USA" || Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

3||U.S. troops watched the broadcast of Obama's speech about the killing of Osama Bin Laden from Camp Dwyer in Helman province, Afghanistan. ||BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom&&

4||In Washington, the crowd swelled rapidly following Obama's announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.||Benjy Sarlin/Talking Points Memo&&

5||Within an hour, severl hundred people had gathered outside the White House.||Benjy Sarlin/Talking Points Memo&&

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7||In New York, huge crowds gathered at Ground Zero, and in Times Square.||Erik Hinton/Talking Points Memo&&

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10||Washington, D.C.||Benjy Sarlin/Talking Points Memo&&

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12||Ground Zero, New York City.||Talia Benamy/Talking Points Memo&&

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26||||Talia Benamy/Talking Points Memo&&

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30||||Talia Benamy/Talking Points Memo&&

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36||Washington, D.C.||Jeff Malet/

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51||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

52||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

53||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

54||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

55||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

56||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

57||Washington, D.C.||Vaughn Wallace/Talking Points Memo&&

58||Ground Zero, New York City, NY||TPM Reader CH&&

59||Ground Zero, New York City, NY||TPM Reader JC&&

On the night that President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, several Republicans exploring presidential campaigns were quick to put out statements about the news.

Mitt Romney released this statement:

This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.

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House Speaker John Boehner called the death of Osama bin Laden "great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world," in a statement to reporters tonight.

"I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice," Boehner added.

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It was the best kept and most closely guarded secret for the last nine months: a select handful of U.S. national security and administration officials tracked a high-value courier for Osama bin Laden to a dusty dirt road leading to a compound 35 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.

After months of intelligence gathering and meetings at the highest levels of the U.S. government, a small team of Navy Seals Sunday raided the compound, engaged in a firefight and ultimately killed bin Laden, the notorious leader of al Qaeda who had evaded capture and death since masterminding the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people.

TPM SLIDESHOW: Osama Bin Laden: 9/11 Mastermind, Longtime U.S. Enemy Killed In Pakistan

The CIA pinpointed the compound in August and first informed President Obama about the intelligence in September of last year. As evidence mounted in mid-February that bin Laden and his family were living in the compound, the President and the National Security Council began holding a series of "intensive" meetings about a covert military strike aimed at killing him, according to administration officials.

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Former president George W. Bush says he spoke with President Obama by phone this evening and congratulated him on the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

"I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission," Bush said of the conversation in a statement to reporters. "They have our everlasting gratitude."

Bush called the killing of the man behind the 9/11 attacks by U.S. military forces in Pakistan Sunday "a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world."

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President Obama's Democratic predecessor in the White House, Bill Clinton, extended his congratulations after the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday.

"I congratulate the President, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice," Clinton said in a statement to reporters tonight.

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Updated 12:52 a.m. May 2, 2011

In a rare, late-night statement from the White House Sunday at 11:35 p.m., President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a firefight Sunday, in "a compound deep inside Pakistan." Bin Laden was the founder and leader of the Al Qaeda network that perpetrated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

His death comes nearly 10 years after the terrorist attacks that made him the world's most wanted fugitive, and eight years to the day after President George W. Bush declared Mission Accomplished in Iraq.

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