Oprah and Ali

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With memories of the 2000 and 2004 elections—in which the final tabulations from key states weren't known until well into the night...or even weeks later—many Americans were geared up to watch the news until early morning.

But this election was over relatively early, and it was called at 11 p.m. on the east coast. Ali says George assured her Obama would win all the way back in spring. "I kept saying to him, 'What do you think? Is Obama going to win?' And he said, 'Yes.'" she says. "I was texting him during the election, saying, 'Really?' And he said, 'Absolutely. It's done.'"

Mark says at a dinner over the summer, he sat next to George and asked the same question. "He said, 'On November 4, Obama will be elected president. Please pass the rigatoni,'" Mark jokes.

"The rigatoni was terrific, by the way," George says.