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 190.

    "160. Batty
    The American people should not be left alone to make such a big decision which, through wars and economic policy, affects us all. Everyone in the world should be able to vote for the next US president."

    Is America ready for a Chinese President?

  • Comment number 189.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    I see people congratulate the BBC - BUT I have to say that when most of us wanted to get to bed, it was ITV who called it first for Obama!
    I was switching between the 2 in the latter stages and ITV was way ahead of the BBC in calling states/results.
    The BBC looks tired and "behind the curve" on so many things now, I'm beginning to wonder what we are actually paying a licence fee for!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    More debt has been piled up under Obama than all the presidents from George Washington through to Bill Clinton. There was no mainstream choice for the American people but now in his second term the American middle class will feel the full force of his marxist policies. Obamacare will lead to massive job transfers overseas. Military intervention will escalate and the Goldman sachs will get richer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    170.Shaunie Babes
    Drone strikes to kill terrorists - terrorists created by Bush and his 'war on a concept'
    Guantanomo Bay (created by reps) still open as the Rep's stonewalled him
    Troops increased to the regions where GWB started the war (thousands of innocents killed)....and has exit strategies.
    Of course the reps are renowned peace makers!?!?!?!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    @149 You think the US Democraric party is socialist??? As I said in my previou post, the US doesn't know the meaning of socialist. In the past 20 years it's been a choice of Normal for Democrats or Right Wing Lunatics for the Republicans.
    It is not the same difference between labor and conservatives for you or for me in Oz.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Congratulations to Obama and team on re-election to another term. Yes breathing a sigh of relief - despite some more encouraging comments from Romney on foreign policy in the presidential debate, given his flip-flopping, unencouraging displays of diplomacy and hawkish Republican's - from a UK perspective this was always an area of concern if Romney was elected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    It's frightening that so many people voted for Romney whose religious and social views are delusional and whose perceptions of world security and climate change are led by the hawks and the oil industry of yesteryear.
    Sighs of relief that the world is safer for now. In Obama I see an inclusiveness that sees an active role for us all in fixing our global problems and in reaping the benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    There arr not enough middle age white people left in America for the Republican''s to get elected on this agenda.
    Demographics mean this will not change as the proportion of minorities particularly Hispanics is rising.

    In order to avoid the political dustbin inhabited by all purist extremist parties of both left and right the Republicans need to move towards not away from the centre ground

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Well as always the UK can see no wrong with USA.Does it really matter who is elected as unemployment will not vanish and the bankers etc will continue to scoop up high salaries & bonuses while us ordinaries will always still keep trying to get by somehow.Just wish we had a bit of the big bucks that have been spent on the American elections.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Minorities voting for Romney would be like miners voting for Thatcher: stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Why is Florida always last to process the results?

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Under Obama's "stewardship", the US has:
    Increased its presence in Afghanistan.
    Began illegal bombing campaign in allied Pakistan.
    Conducted illegal military operations in Libya.
    Began extra-judicial murder of US citizens.
    In 3 years has increased US debt more than Bush did during all 8 years.
    Nationalised GM.
    Nationalised several financial institutions.
    Currently banging War drum on Iran.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    156. Igloo White
    No mention that voting for Obama in the black community was up in the 90%+ region. If that isn't race-based voting, I don't know what is.
    It's not. It's Anti-Romney voting. Not because he's white, but because he's Romney. It's a bit like Copts voting against Islamists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    For once the Americans have shown more sense than the British in terms of their election choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    American government aka the world needs a democrat in the whitehouse for all our sakes so i am happy, relieved and grateful for this vote as i'm sure many people around the world are

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    47% of Jeeps voted Obama. Sanity prevails. Hooray.

    Ps. Prof Phoenix @ 157. Just because you have faith doesn't make you right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Non-American view:
    Romney as they say, would have attacked Iran, like Bush did to Iraq, so at least we are away from Oil greedy party for at least four years.

    But interestingly, Obama despite his failings, is still a better choice for the world, and for USA, his speeches at least give US people some hope. Although for rest of the world, the liberal thoughts are much needed today than ever before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Congratulations to Mr Obama on his re-election as President.

    Yet, let us not forget he hasn't got control of what is needed. The funding is controlled by the Republicans, who although saying they think of the US are actually just thinking of themselves...rather like our UK conservatives.

    Mr Obama may end up not being able to do much of what he wants.

    Best of luck to him, best man won

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Hey Mitt - turns out our Olympics worked out fine - how did your election campaign go?


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