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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  • rate this

    Comment number 130.


    Unfortunatley that is all American voters are at present,

    Interesting interview with one of Obama's campaign people, when asked what achievement they were most proud of during his first term, couldn't come up with anything...... awkward silence....... "his re-election"

    Says it all.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    @20...oh and Mitt Romney loves the UK does he? Obama was the only intelligent choice, MR is a complete fool and a dangerous person to have in the White would be like having Bush again

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    More Obama = more of the same:

    War, Borrowing, Spending, Nationalisation, QE Printing Money.

    Watch the US plunge further into the economic abyss.

    *I'm not saying Romney would have been any better, but Obama is a devil we definitely know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Congratulations Mr.Puppet, you won with panache over the competing Mr.Puppet. Please nobody fool themselves, this changes nothing.

  • Comment number 126.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Thank goodness for this win by Obama, the USA and the World.

    Obama has achieved so much in 4 years, it would have been sheer folly to choose otherwise. He has rescued the economy from the brink of collapse, brought the boys back from Iraq and is about to do the same in Afghanistan, not to mention catching Bin Laden.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Now Mr Obama should produce his birth certificate to quash all the rumours that he is NOT an American.
    Meantime, nuffin will change in America who ever became President.
    China should start buying up chunks of the USA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Now the election is over - perhaps now we can get the truth about Libya.
    Obama managed to stir up trouble across the middle east - where is he going to try next.
    When is he going to get off the fence and take action to unite the country instead of carrying out the present disasterouse policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Does it make the slightest difference who they (or we) elect?
    The rich get richer and the poor poorer, while the planet goes down the drain in an orgy of human, self-destruction.
    . . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    As a Brit abroad, I heard the news on the radio through a p.a system in a supermarket in Australia about 4am GMT. 'Yes' I yelped, almost like I'd won something, and almost like an emotional American! The man further down the aisle smiled at me and said, 'that's a relief'.

    That kind of sums it up to me!

  • Comment number 120.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Thanks to Romney for a courteous concession speech.
    Thanks to the Republican gathering for a gracious reaction to the speech.

    Above all, thanks to every person that voted Democrat to allow Obama to steer the USA in a direction that is derived using intelligence based on facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    Watched it all up to 4.20 when Ohio was won and Obama home and dry.
    However some may say that Romney did badly - he did! Not one of the swing states has gone his way - including Florida which is all but called for Obama (Jeb Bush tweeted Romney had lost Florida, as good as).
    Obama now has the chance to get tough and aggressive in his second term! Do it my man!

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    "Obama, we copy you in the White House. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."

    Tranquillity, compared to the other possibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Thank goodness, the lunatics haven't taken over the asylum after all. And now for our own lunatics... there must be some way we can bring the next election forward before they do any more damage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    71. UKStinks
    "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."

    Obama has more power than you think. Private central banks can only decide how much money there is, not what it's spent on. Obama does that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    It's amazes me how the Republicans still manage to attract all the knuckle draggers, thank god for Obama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    One Republican analyst stated on TV this am that the Republicans had underestimated the possible effect of Hispanic and African American turnout on the outcome.
    Just goes to show that the analysts are as out of touch with 'ordinary Americans' as Mitt and his wife appeared.
    At least now the Romney's can concentrate on getting the Welsh Cake recipe right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    What can you say, other than the lesser of the 2 evils won? Obama has not done a great job, or even a good one. But Romney was a disaster waiting to happen, or waiting for his chance to make a disaster W style! Obama now deserves his peace price simply for keeping Romneys Fingers away from "the button"!

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    88.Milton Keynes
    You have to be fare in a resent poll most people recognised Edd Miliband - they thought he was the comedian who plays Everyone loves Raymond.

    Well they were 50% coorect.


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