Congress formally counted the electoral votes on Thursday and declared Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list MORE to be the next president of the United States.

In a joint session of the House and Senate, Vice President Dick Cheney read off the Electoral College results: 365 for Obama and 173 for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The college had met last month in state capitols to cast its votes for president. The Constitution requires the electors to send the results to the Senate president, Cheney. Thursday's event in the House served as occasion for Cheney to announce those results.

Cheney was flanked on the dais by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who led enthusiastic standing ovations for Obama, McCain, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska).