President Barack Obama defeats Romney to win re-election


Barack Obama: "I have never been more hopeful"

President Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

America's first black president secured more than the 270 votes in the electoral college needed to win.

In his victory speech before supporters in Chicago, Mr Obama said he would talk to Mr Romney about "where we can work together to move this country forward".

Mr Obama prevailed despite lingering dissatisfaction with the economy and a hard-fought challenge by Mr Romney.

His Democrats also retained their majority in the Senate, which they have held since 2007.

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The Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives, which analysts say will likely result in more of the gridlock that characterised Mr Obama's first term, with the House and the president at loggerheads on most legislation.

In his address, the president challenged his opponents, asking them to work with him.

With only Florida's 29 electoral votes still undecided, Mr Obama won 303 electoral votes to Mr Romney's 206.

The popular vote, which is symbolically and politically important but not decisive in the race, remains very close.

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Both candidates said this was a choice of two visions - America has chosen ”

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'One nation' speech

Mr Obama congratulated Mr Romney and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan on their hard-fought campaign.

"We have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come," he said.

Mr Obama said he was returning to the White House "more determined, and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do, and the future that lies ahead".

He pledged to work with Republican leaders in Congress to reduce the government's budget deficit, fix the tax code and reform the immigration system.

"We are an American family and we rise and fall together as one nation," he said.

In Boston, where his campaign was based, Mr Romney congratulated the president and said he and Mr Ryan had "left everything on the field" and had given their all in the campaign.

US media reaction

Thomas L Friedman of the New York Times writes: "No one can know for sure what complex emotional chemistry tipped this election Obama's way… it came down to a majority of Americans believing that whatever his faults, Obama was trying his hardest to fix what ails the country."

Dan Balz of the Washington Post says: "Tuesday's election produced an uncertain mandate, although Obama will attempt to claim one. Obama offered a plan, but not one that deals directly with some of the problems he will have to confront immediately."

A Wall Street Journal opinion piece read: "[Obama] said little during the campaign about his first term and even less about his plans for a second. Instead his strategy was to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat… it worked with brutal efficiency - the definition of winning ugly."

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times writes: "If we're lucky, we will find that we elected a different Obama from the one who won four years ago - not just a grayer Obama but a wiser one too."

Referring to the struggling economy, Mr Romney said now was not the time for "partisan bickering and political posturing", and that Republicans and Democrats must "put people before politics".

"I so wish that I had been able to fulfil your hopes to lead the country in a different direction but the nation chose another leader and so I join with you to earnestly pray for [Mr Obama] and for this great nation," he said.

Under the US constitution, each state is given a number of electoral votes in rough proportion to its population. The candidate who wins 270 electoral votes - by prevailing in the mostly winner-takes-all state contests - becomes president.

On Tuesday, the president held the White House by assembling solid Democratic states and a number of important swing states such as Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin. His narrow victory in Ohio, a critical Mid-Western swing state, sealed the victory.

In other key ballots:

  • Referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, while a measure in Minnesota to block gay unions failed
  • Colorado and Washington state voted to legalise recreational use of marijuana
  • California voters rejected a proposal to abolish the death penalty
  • In a referendum, Puerto Ricans voted in favour of becoming the 51st US state, if Congress approves the move.
Billions spent

Mr Romney won North Carolina and Indiana, both of which Mr Obama won in 2008, as well as the solid Republican states.

Reaction to the result

Analysis: A vote for the status quo

Peston: Does US election matter to us?

What Obama's win means for the world

World reaction to Obama's re-election

In pictures: US elects a president

Clash over 'fiscal cliff' looms

But he was unable to win in Ohio or other states needed to breach the 270 threshold.

Also on Tuesday's ballot were 11 state governorships, a third of the seats in the 100-member US Senate and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr Obama's victory came despite lingering high unemployment - 7.9% on election day - and tepid economic growth.

But voters gave him credit for his 2009 rescue of the US car industry among other policy accomplishments, and rewarded him for ordering the commando mission that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan last year.

He and Mr Romney, as well as their respective allies, have spent more than $2bn (£1.25bn) - largely on adverts in swing states.


More on This Story

US Presidential Election 2012


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  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Markets flat on Obama's re-election. Lets hope the US doesn't follow suit.

    Oops to late........

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    "Ed Miliband congratulates Obama" Hahahahaha no he hasn't, as if the newly elected president would waste his time with 'Walter the Softy' from the Beano. He's been congratulated by the PM, that is all.
    I doubt the average American can tell Ed M. or Dave C. apart. And Obama probably has equal contempt for both of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I hope for American's sake that the Republicans will now work with the Democrats instead of stonewalling everything and anything that Democrats sought to advance. America could have been in a much better position today had Republicans taken Obama's offer of cooperation and worked for the nation as a unit. I also hope that Obama has shaken off some of that early naivety and will be more forceful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Dear BBC can we now have some UK news ? - wall to wall coverage of the national elections of a waning superpower where one person on the centre right narrowly beats another person on the centre right is quite frankly irritating and a severe abuse of the license fee.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Thank God ! The civilised world breathes a sigh of relief !

    Obama has done so much for America's image abroard, and worked hard to save its economy which would have otherwise collapsed. There is still much to do but overall the USA is heading in the right direction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    To me - the world feels a safer place today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Being an outsider looking in on the election I too think that they have elected the right individual. Barak Obama certainly comes across as a genuinely decent guy who is trying to do his best for everyone in America. His Obama Care programme will benefit those poorest in America who for generations were denied access to healthcare by the rich and privileged.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Excellent news, at least the USA avoided a descent into militant Republicanism which would have been disastrous for them and for the world. Pity that the House of Reps remains in Republican control: it would be good to think that there would be a spirit of cooperation there too, but unfortunately conservatives everywhere tend to put self-interest above the best interests of the people as a whole.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Neither of them was perfect, but I'm very glad the US elected the one who won't plunge us into a world war or set back women's issues by 50 years or so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    "Ed Miliband congratulates Obama" Hahahahaha no he hasn't, as if the newly elected president would waste his time with 'Walter the Softy' from the Beano. He's been congratulated by the PM, that is all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Most Presidents in their 2nd term of office work on their legacy, unencumbered by the necessity of fighting re-election.

    I wonder what Obama's legacy will be? At the moment I see a nation poisoned by hatred and antagonism from both sides of the political spectrum and fear this may be how his presidency is remembered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    A victory for the status quo with no real change, keep the sponsors happy while letting the electorate believe the hype.
    The western world's political class are selling us out with thier apathy and inaction they are just there to keep the cogs turning for global corps at the cost of our nations futures.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Delighted!....Beyond the press campaign, if you look at their agenda's and the key issues I can only be pleased at today's decision.
    A more compassionate, inclusive United States of America.

    And fingers crossed we can be inspired and become a more United Kingdom

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Thank you God - there is hope for humanity after all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Another Democrat victory in the time of the Tea Party. How the Republicans must be sick of this white elephant in their room....

    For the sake of the future, the Republicans need to distance themselves from this group

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Poor ol' Mittens. What happens to him now? Does he get taken out back like Bob Dole, or just put in a home like John McCain?

    They seemed to get this result very quickly. Should we draw from this that, after all the build-up, this race was not actually that close after all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Congratulations to the USSA. Obama and the dhimmicrats have taken Bertold Brecht's advice and, with open borders, imported a new dependant class which will ensure a dhimmicrat majority forever. Much good will it do them. Secession is the only answer for those states which hold true to the american idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Very good for Mr Obama........ But could some please explain why this mornig on BBC 1 there was no UK news, just election night rubbish about the US ! I know it's an important event but since when has the UK become a US state??? UK news please the US election is a side issue

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Makes me laugh all these comments that actually believe the president is the one that makes the decisions in the US. He is just a puppet like the UK Prim Minister Cameron. Just a front man for the decisions made by the policy makers.


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