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 290.

    I like Obama...I really do...but please can we have less "America is the greatest nation". The economic and environmental problems we currently face are global and cross all borders. We need to work together globally not nationally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    #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?


    Ummm - the thick thing. You get that governors aren't senators, right? And that lists of disparate items are often put in a single sentence, separated by commas?

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    Obama has made history once again for a reason other than his skin color. This time, we don't say that he's the first African-American to win the presidency of the most powerful office on earth. That record he beat in 2008. This time, he is the second (after Bill Clinton) democrat to win a second term since 1909 (Roosevelt's presidency). Truly, Obama was judged by the content of his character.

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    Well it would appear everyone got Obama phone after all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    In the UK I vote conservative. If I was American however I would vote Democrat. Romney was creepy, ill informed and blinkered. Way too right wing and stuck in the past with no idea how the real world works. Our friends in the states have chosen a better path - one that offers its hand to everyone without prejudice. I'll sleep well tonight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    Okay the party is over Mr. President. From Monday start talking about $16Trillion debt!!!!
    My understanding is that whenever Obama attempted to correct the deficit during his last term, he was stopped by the Republican majority who control the USA government. Seemed to me that the Republicans were out to destroy Obama even if it caused trouble for the USA economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    I wonder if the Repubs are going to remain obstinate and spiteful over the next 4 years again, or will they realise what needs to be done, and what can be done if they just let Barry do his thing?
    I forsee 4 more years of the same, sadly

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Controlled Pair argues that the left will be the downfall of humanity. Fair point. But Obama is a million miles from left wing. In fact he'd probably be classed a centre-right in most nations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Obama comes across as a decent man who is not in the pocket of big business interests. He came to power having to fight two wars and with a massive financial crisis caused by deregulation of financial institutions, neither of which issue he'd have been stupid enough to originate. I hope the President is given more space to make change this time round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Congratulations, but Obama needs to use his last four yrs to bang heads together in the divided administration. The both houses of Congress need to get together and deal with the interests of the US people not their own (take note Mr Cameron & EU). Politicians everywhere are a self-serving disgrace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    President Obama faced the same problems as our Prime Minister when he came to office which was the appalling mess left by the previous administration. The progress of a country is like a supertanker- it takes time to turn around. The UK had the added shackles of being in the EU which is hostile to both the UK and USA but hopefully it will collapse before long.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    Electric Hippy is so dumb he doesn't realise Obama just reads off a teleprompter. Google video when it breaks. He's a clueless automoton. The question is who's pulling his strings. No prizes for guessing what religion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    Just watched his victory speech, it's the same old stuff really. "We know in our hearts that, for the United States of America, the best is yet to come." - sigh...

    You can pretty much forget what any politician says, just watch what they actually do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    I'm very happy to see the BBC reporting on the US election in detail, and I'm happy that we acknowledge the existence of a world outside the UK. You can open a newspaper in the USA and wonder where the rest of the world disappeared to!

    Like it or not, this election affects the whole world; it's quite proper and correct for our broadcasters to report on it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    Good move by the Patriots this, keeping stability at the top and keeping the same puppet in the White House for the next 4 years.

    I'm sure Big Boss would approve...

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    Okay the party is over Mr. President. From Monday start talking about $16Trillion debt!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    We could do with someone with this sort of public speaking talent here: makes our politics look very grey...only one shade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    I only hope Cameron is not going to start blathering about the "special relationship" again. It's cringeworthy. The British right must be so disappointed. Their own man is completely inefficient and for those clamouring to become the 51st state this is a disaster. You'd almost feel sorry for them, but then, they wouldn't if it were the other way round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    28. Chris London

    America is on the brink of a finacail disaster and we re-elect the ostrich.

    The good news is that Obama is no longer the inexperienced and hubristic person who thought he was a god and could railroad the economy without concern for voters.

    There's no ignoring that half the country expects fiscal responsibility this time, and that mid-term election is only 2 years away...

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.


    Well done America, you had me worried for a minute.


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