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 610.

    To all Republican fanatics

    It took GW Bush just 8 years to completely mess up your country and you then expect Obama to put everything right in 4. At the same time you block everything that Obama tries to do and then blame him for the whole thing. It would have been a a complete disaster, not only for the US but for the rest of the world if Obama had not been re-elected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 609.

    Do our elections get this much coverage by BBC news?

  • rate this

    Comment number 608.

    Compromise it's called common sense. You'll get ahead; if two people work together to achieve a common goal.The nation should work together to re-build areas that have problems; achieve growth in energy and move forward not back to basic ole ideas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    599. firemensaction

    "50% of USA will be denied their view of America."

    50% of USA have no view, otherwise they would have voted!

  • Comment number 606.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    The election is based on ethnic lines. Ethnic preponderance determines the result, not mass judgement. It is a farce, and americans have themselves to blame. Democracy this is not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 604.

    "The Word
    Same set-up in the UK: a minority of votes run the country, which is clearly ridiculous. Other cultures must laugh at us - quite rightly"

    Which country's electoral system are you holding up as the one we should following?

    Besides, here in the UK we have a coalition of two parties which between them got 59.1% of the vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    Thank you America. From the outside looking in, you've made the right decision.

    Your electoral system sucks though - how anyone can justify £1.25 BILLION on persuading people to vote I don't know.

    And as for Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state . . that's UKIP's plans scuppered then, the UK will have to be the 52nd state now . . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 602.

    "Utter rubbish Obama WON by a landslide"
    "When will America learn that the expression "leader of the free world" is utterly offensive to non-Americans?"
    I was talking about the popular vote and merely making an observation. I'm not American and should have put "free world" in quotes. And I'm glad Obama won.

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    598 cont

    and providing banal rhetorical quotes from another era isn't evidence of rectitude either!

  • rate this

    Comment number 600.

    Obama could get his second term off to a flying start by releasing the persecuted and abused American hero Bradley Manning. Won't happen though. Whistle blowers must be made an example of in world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 599.

    More of the same for next four years it appears.
    Remains to be seen what USA is like under more 4 years of Obama.
    50% of USA will be denied their view of America, whilst the State will grow, just as Obama has planned since 2008..
    At least the Media will be happy,as they are well paid/fed and have a job and home!Unlike lots of Working Americans.
    Obama has failed US in 4 yrs.Hope next 4 better!

  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    U clearly u put equality ahead of Freedom"

    How do you conclude that? It's not a zero sum game either! You have also never answered the question on which modern, technologically developed state conforms to your ideal. You agreed yesterday that Singapore most certainly did not. Switzerland also imposes severe restrictions on the personal freedoms of its citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 597.

    Reading many of the 'starry-eyed' suggestive comments on here, I am seriously wondering what planet I have ended up on this morning. Yes, Obama probably was the better of the two, but where does that leave the relatives of all the limbless corpses in the villages of Pakistan subject to drone attacks? Where does that leave the Law, which the US administration continues to abuse? Wake up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    #568. Not surprising that voter turnout is only 50% when voters are expected to stand in a queue for 4 hours in the cold! It's unbelievable that an advanced country like the USA has such an inefficient voting system. Why hold the election on a Tuesday, when the obvious day is a Sunday, when everybody is at home!

  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    The BIG question remains.
    Have the yanks elected what they call an "allien" (foreigner ) as President again.
    Only Mr Obama can quash that rumour once and for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 594.

    To: 568

    Same set-up in the UK: a minority of votes run the country, which is clearly ridiculous. Other cultures must laugh at us - quite rightly. Here's the solution: each potential voter takes a basic exam to assess that you have the basic education and understanding to vote; if you pass the exam, you get a vote. Voters create/run the country through proportionally representative government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 593.

    Guzzie - the problem of electorate's not wanting to hear the truth isn't unique to the US. It's no different here. You can't blame politicians for the fact that the would be debt-cutters are happy for the other guy to bear the brunt, but rarely accept it for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 592.

    As a president you don't have much power, Obama said: 'Guantanamo bay gone in 100 days' as one of his first key statements. He has a strong will and he has been doing right for the economy; but his views alone will not change the world as much as one would hope, there is too much paid-support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 591.

    566. SteveS

    With a social security system that ...
    (C) Supports pensioners who wouldn't need it if they were still married

    I'm a huge admirer of President Obama and what he is trying to do ...

    but I don't think even he can abolish death!


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