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 530.

    It makes no difference. The purpose of election is to audition for the figurehead who is best at deceiving the people. Worse, politicians are often unwittingly deceptive as they are a tool of the administration, indoctrinated and shielded from reality. Will Obama delete his illegal kill-list or close Guantanamo? Or stop the slaughter of innocent Pakistanis? It makes not one jot who is President.

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    502. Shaunie Babe502. Shaunie Babes

    To the Leftie Obama supporters :

    "Why do you think ninety three percent of Black voters voted for Obama ?"

    Because the other Guy was Rich White and has no interest in them he actually said that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    it seems like the US has decided to give obama the benefit of the doubt. whether the parties can or will work together remains to be seen but Obama and his party will be judged on the next 4 years. Personally, I'm glad the expensive pantomine is over

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    Americans see sence, placing in yet another corrupt republican who ALONE would caused more pain and suffering to the world, uless your rich.

    The Torys here now jump on the bandwagon, remember Obama is democratic left of centre, sure each nation needs to cut the deficit, which also cost us billions in 2 wars, and proping up the banking sector which caused us this global downfall.
    Dave you are OUT!

  • rate this

    Comment number 526.

    @511.Bastiat, and the option Obama had was to let those companies fail puting millions of American voters out of work, and FYI any republican president would have done the same to try and prop up those companies as not to have done would have caused a depression that make the 30's look like a dip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    I voted for Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party. I like that the Libertarian Party is "fiscally" conservative --but "socially" liberal.

    Fiscally conservative because they want to eliminate (income) taxes, abolish the IRS (tax agency), cut spending, and end ALL American foreign aid.

    Socially liberal because they want to legalize marijuana & prostitution --and reform the entire justice system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

    Congratulations to Colerado and Washington, may this at last, be the beginning of the end of prohibition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    I'm happier that Romney lost than Obama won. Voting is a matter of choosing the candidate that you least dislike. Sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    This is very nice indeed, the result reflects a 3:2 ratio, so clearly no head-to-head race in my opinion. In spite of this I am going to wait until December to send my congratulation E-Mail to him, when Obama really _is_ re-elected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    502. "Why do you think ninety three percent of Black voters voted for Obama ?"

    Because they are on low incomes so it makes more sense for them to vote Democrat.

    Obama's race may have encouraged these people to vote for him rather than, you know, no-one? But it's not like they're voting for a black candidate against their interests (unlike the many white people who voted for Romney, btw).

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    I think the USA's financial problems are so vast, that whatever Obama does, his hands are going to be tied for a long time.
    Talking to friends who have recently returned from working in the SF, I was surprised to hear of the scale of the social issues in the area and the fact that areas of SF city deemed to be "edgy" when I was there are now de facto no-go areas. A small snapshot but telling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    @492.Trout Mask Replica
    Fred Bloggs
    Are you suggesting the monolithic NHS is efficient?"
    "It costs about 8% of GDP"

    I am pro-NHS but under Labour, it became Health tourist hotspot, ended up doing sexchange ops & other 'nice-to-have' plastic surgery for shallow, vain individuals who complained of "depression" because of their looks. That 8% could easy have been a more acceptable 5% or less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    Obama is strong on social policy and weak on economic policy. Romney is weak on social policy and strong on economic policy. Americans forget it is the administration they are electing rather than the man at the top and Republican administrations have historically been stronger than Democrats. Only time will tell if America has made the right choice and how it will affect us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    Congratulations to Osama. He was the lesser of two evils for me. Romney was scary. Way too religious and way too close to Israel (who are still building on occupied territories btw). I think we are all safer without him. How can anyone take a man wearing magic pants seriously?!! If it was just about the economy Romney would have won. But life isn't just about the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    Someone once said: "You can never underestimate the intelligence of the American voter". We proved it once again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    America, America why are you so blind. There was no difference between Obama or Romney. You are blindfold and on a cart being dragged to your execution by these two traitors. And you chose the quick death. Romney would have given you the slow meat grinder death. Either way you are going to die.

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    ... Obama is rightfully focusing on social issues in your country like health and education ...

    >>> In 2008 the US national debt was USD 10.4 trn (74% of GDP). Now, after 4 years of Obama it is 16 trn (105%). 2016 at current rates: 22.6 trn (131%). This is PIIGS level and completely unsustanable. Also he spends more on defence/wars and debt interest than education.

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    What happened to the Tea Party ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    If the House of Representatives didn't keep blocking almost his every move, we might actually see some of Obama's policies working... as it is, it's the partisan fighting that's causing America to stay stuck in the mire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    Obama isn't a corporatist who favours big business, that's only selfish Republican's right?

    In just 3 years Obama has Given over $1Trillion to:

    Bank of America
    Merrill Lynch
    CIT Group
    Fannie Mae
    Freddie Mac

    If he's already deficit spent in 3 years what took Bush 8 to do, how's USA shaping up for Obama 2.0? Those poor Americans... in for a rough road it seems.


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