Joe Biden confidently declared he was "on track to win" the US presidency.
And days later, he was proven correct.
Donald Trump proclaimed himself the victor but claimed the too-close-to-call contest had been "a fraud on the American nation".
As the contenders sparred, the counting of votes continued and the world watched on with baited breath, UK tabloid the Daily Star was just about the only newspaper game enough to offer a definitive verdict on the result.
"Old fart wins election," the cheeky tabloid trumpeted from its front page.
"We wanted to stay up for the result but we fell asleep," its headline smirked, artfully dodging the election night uncertainty over whether 74-year-old Republican incumbent Trump or 77-year-old Democrat challenger Biden would occupy the White House for the next four years.
Across the US and around the world, newspaper readers woke to headlines laden with suspense, tension and, in the case of The New York Times, a rare front-page outing for the word "tumult".
"Nail-biter," the New York Post fretted. "Wait of the world," its rival Big Apple tabloid the Daily News punned under a White House cast in red and blue.
"Another night on the razor's edge," a rueful Boston Globe said, recalling Trump's 2016 win over Hillary Clinton.
"A tense nation wonders what's next," USA Today sighed.
"Turnout soars, along with suspense, as nation in tumult delivers verdict," opined The New York Times.
In Sweden, under the headline "Record-shaker", Aftonbladet noted the record turn-out of American voters was delivering knife-edge results in key states.
The Canberra Times and other daily papers in the stable of Australian publisher ACM feature an anxious Statue of Liberty bewildered by the "Uncertain States of America".
The Australian bannered with "United States of uncertainty".
In the UK, The Guardian labelled the tight race a "Battle for America's soul" and said the bitterly fought election threatened to "test the long-held ideals of democracy like none before it".
There was considerably less dread over at The Daily Mail. Above a photo of First Lady Melania Trump in a glamorous Gucci dress and sunglasses waving to supporters in Florida, the tabloid asked "So is that hello or goodbye, Melania?"
Perhaps Canada's French-language Le Journal de Montreal put it best of all: "Chaos until the end".