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 230.

    One of problem with the democratic system is that you can sometimes get a hung result. This leaves the 'winner' impotent to properly lead their country.
    The UK is currently seeing this with no one able to provide leadership when the UK needs strong leadership to overcome the economic problems. Ditto with the USA where the Republican majority will always stop the Democrat President from leading.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    What is this idiocy with people claiming that most black people voting for Obama is racist? Why would an Afro-American or Hispanic (or anyone) believe that a Republican vote was in their interests? The party has been taken over by extremists. Maybe try representing normal people and not just the anti-women's rights, anti-science, gun-enthusiast nutters?

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    To Chris in London who writes:

    America is on the brink of a finacail disaster and we re-elect the ostrich. Four more years of his head buried in the sand hoping all the nasty things go away.

    Do you mean nasty things like sexism, homophobia, and lack of affordable healthcare for all? I wonder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    @ 126 "Ninety Three percent of Black voters voted for Obama. He was re-elected due to racism".

    Don't be ridiculous, African Americans have always overwhelmingly voted democrat due to the perception (real or not) that republicans are racially intolerantm, and the reality (definitely real) that American nationalists will overwhelmingly vote republican.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    Anyone would think the UK is the 51st state the ammount of coverage this is getting.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    It doesn't really matter who won, the US economy is in such a bad way that it will decades to sort it all out and Obama will be long gone before that happens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    Congratulations Mr President. Now, what are you going to do about the massive debts you are building up for your children, their children and beyond? Oh, and when you've dealt with that minor issue, what's the plan for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Guantanomo Bay, Iran etc. etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Thank goodness for that! Better the devil you know than the devil you don't and the world certainly doesn't want to get to know Romney! His policies were awful (all the abortion laws he wanted, repealing Obamacare, lowering the rax for the rich) and he was a smarmy and horrible man who kept changing his story for every state! Why anyone would want a religious nutjob in the White House is beyond me

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    The rest of the world breathes a sigh of relief... Although, all those threats from right wingers saying they'll leave the US if Obama won means we might get the crappy end of the stick if they make good on their vows

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    For those that think $2 billion is a lot to spend on an election( which it is)
    The USA spends $6 billion on Halloween night. Big country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    'Only lonely FOX out there alone trying to be impartial'

    A true Romney supporter then........completely and utterly delusional!!!!!

    spreading the "terrorists" into allied Pakistan & god knows where else.

    You mean clearing up the mess of the last Rep moron (not mormon)

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    The vote seems to strongly depend on ethnicity but maybe the Democrats appealing to peoples hopes won over the Republicans and their appealing to peoples fears.Maybe Latinos are simply a more optimistic group than Whites
    I`m glad because in this recession what we are short of is confidence and hope and,judging from his performance,Romney couldn`t have given the world hope as President.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    While one vote mightn't count for much in the Presidential election, in other races it does . . . in our village council one of the incumbent trustees was re-elected by a single vote over a challenger. (34 to 33).

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    One single TV debate does not transform into votes & or win elections neither do big donations from millionaires like Sheldon Adelson nor the Koch brothers.

    What really wins elections are what matter to people i.e. abortion rights, a society where everyone pays their fair share, lower taxes for the poor. And above all TRUST. Remember the 47% statement made by Mr Romney?

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    There was no mainstream choice. Both had the same policies. The trouble is Obama doesn't have to worry about re-election so he has carte blanche to destroy even more civil liberties ala the NDAA bill. I expect TSA agents feeling up children in bus depots and sports stadiums very soon. Raw milk sellers arrested as terrorists. Police state here we come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    What a relief!
    That so many more Americans have seen the light and realise that even though Obama has had a hard time during the last 5 years (he was never going to perform miracles) is definitely on the right track. They have chosen the right man to lead the country back towards a more peaceful and properous future. My sleeves are still wet!

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    @203 Sledger 10

    "The BBC needs to be put down."


    And yet you are reading the BBC website, and posting on their comment section...

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Well done there, Mr President! Watching events unfold in realtime on a USA political stats website last night might seem a strange thing for a Brit to do, but it was quite gripping for me. When the economy turns round shortly? Obama will be seen for what he is - a true statesman. And the Republicans will be seen for what they really are. Sore losers. Four more years of whinging coming up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    By whatever mechanism, the US (and the rest of the world) have been spared 4 years of bigotted religious zealotry.

    Can only be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Despite vilification by the gun-totin', bible-bashin', Israel-panderin' old white male right-wingers, Obama has managed to get through to the voices of reason. Four more years of hope.


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