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 250.

    Although Obama was the right choice (well done America, we almost thought you were going to make a mistake), it'll be 4 more years of the same - Republicans will prevent any real change or improvement for the sake of petty politics.
    If Barry can convince them to let a lot of his policies go through the US will do well, unfortunately i think the Reds are too spiteful and petulant to see sense

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    I am happy the world avoided the prospect of a religious nut president with his finger on the button, but that is tempered by the prospect of Obama's situation vis a vis Congress and the House remaining more or less unchanged.

    Slightly off topic I would love to have seen Netanyahu's and co's reaction when the result was confirmed :D

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    USA has drawn back from the brink of a catastrophe that could have
    killed off all hope of a future world where the welfare of all people would
    be more important than the enrichment of millionaire 'money bags'
    and their wealthy cronies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Just noticed that 1.5 million fewer people voted in New York in 2012 vs. 2008. I guess this is the effect of the hurricane.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    If billions of Dollars, private Media power are required to run American elections then what kind and how much of a change can an American President bring to America and the World?The elections are also made far too personal and emotional for ordinary citizens making it difficult to think.The lobbyists have a greater say in American policy and hence the world?Obama where are the Banking Reforms?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    A friend of mine said she was glad Obama got re-elected she liked him.

    Then I asked if she liked his party and manifesto. Like me she had no clue on either.

    Although I too like Obama it seems people can be blinded by a charismatic front man and have no idea of the people behind the scenes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    One word, 'phew'

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    No surprise for me. Barrack Obama becames a status of e specific hero of a nation. Why? There is many reasons to this. Firstly, he led to killling the most dangerous terrorist in the history of the world. Secondly, he provided great internationak politics in a really difficult times of an international economic crisis, which also touched USA. And he was a winner of a Nobel Peace Price. It is nice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    Am I being thick or is this article another example of poor BBC editing how can the election of 11 state governors represent a " third" of the 100 senators in the house?

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    This will have practically no influence on my life whatsoever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Can we have our beeb back now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    It is safe to say that this is the result most of the world wanted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    I'm not even going to pretend that I know which candidate had the better policies for the US. But I know which man I respected more and I couldn't be happier that he won this election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Boundah Obama's team is rife wilth reactionary Israelites. I fully expect Obama to change tack with Israel now the election is over. He will now 'pander' to everything Netanyahu desires. Watch this space.

    P.S. A question. Why does the left not talk about the executive orders, NDAA bill, TSA agents feeling up children, the incredible debt burden created by Obama, Guantanemo, rendition etc etc??

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I found following the election results on the BBC very interesting . . . the first time I have gotten a perception from outside the USA, a network with no political iron in the fire, and none of the spin from our ostensibly neutral news outlets. But when it was done, it was time to turn off the fantasy TV and go back to watching episodes of the reality show "Once upon a time . . ."

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    One of the sad things about this HYS is that some of the US contributors seem to be so badly informed, or weighed down with right wing views that they can't see anything objectively.

    If the world had voted in this election Obama would have got 90% of the votes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Many thanks to Britain and the British people for your alliance and support since 1941. America will now descend into that thousand years of darkness one of you Prime Ministers spoke of in 1940. You are now on your own, without us as Obama finishes his mission of destroying the United States.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    This was the right choice for America, and indeed the world. However, the most important thing is that America doesn't spend the next 4 years having Republicans blocking President Obama's plans, not because they are bad but for political gain. It's good to see the public saw through that wicked game this time, but you can be sure Republicans have already started planning for next time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Speaking as an American who has lived in the UK for 20 years, all I can say is *PHEW*. I can only imagine the abuse I would have gotten if Romney had been elected, particularly after by Bush.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    What a relief, fantastic news! Romney was never cut out for that job anyway! Obama can now get on with fulfilling his dream of creating the best oppressive police state the world has ever seen! Good job... keep up the good work Barak, the elite are thankful and extremely proud of you!


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