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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  • Comment number 650.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 649.

    The Big Question? In whose mind other than yours?
    There are more serious things the world over than your conspiracy theory.
    Did you make a fuss, I wonder, when it appeared that Ian Duncan-Smith might have been an eigth Japanese? You need - along with others - to get a sense of perspective about what matters in the world today.
    50% denied a say? 50% too bone idle to vote says it all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 648.

    In response to 568.ihopethisoneworks:

    And Mitt Romney was endorsed by more than two-and-a-half million less US citizens than Barak Obama. So who should be the leader?

    Your answer seems to be "Nobody", because that is where the majority of the US vote went.

    This argument occurs in EVERY true democracy in the world without exception. The national leader is NEVER endorsed by the majority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 647.

    Good election to lose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 646.

    I think they were just as wary of domestic tyranny as foreign when thinking of the 2nd amendment.
    I agree, not much anyone can do against Apaches. I dread to speculate how a tyrannical state would use them on the population.

    "The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson

  • rate this

    Comment number 645.

    @625.Dancin Pagan The Mad Kiltie

    "I'm pretty sure there were taxes prior to capitalism. The benefit state, pensions & human rights are mainly the result of socialist ideals."

    Oh, when do you think capitalism was 'invented'??

    What do you think would pay for today's bloated benefit state/nhs if there was no capitalism?

    Do you think it could be paid by the taxes of those in the public sector?

  • rate this

    Comment number 644.

    the media runs the usa , just as it runs the uk.......elections are meaningless all the leaders are clones and yes men.

  • rate this

    Comment number 643.

    Leader of the 'Free World'? I wonder what Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao would have to say about that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 642.

    628. ronnieboy1

    does it matter who wins? america is and will be the worlds policeman,who ever is in power, they basically run the whole show who ever is in power.

    Utter arrogance!

    (And if this forum were not monitored, I would put a suitable epithet between the two words!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 641.

    Four more years of inertia.
    The whole US election process has to be overhauled from the "lesser of two evil" process and should be changed to reflect popular vote, not electoral (the TV networks called it at 11pm eastern time??? Something is wrong with that). And it's not that I'm a Romney supporter; I voted Green party. I'd rather vote my conscience rather than the same old, same old.

  • Comment number 640.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 639.

    At best it is the lesser of two evils. Sadly they are all war-mongering idiots that believe they can force all countries into submission. And our politicians in the UK are the puppets that follow them without question.

    In mitigation: If Obama had a majority in the House then several things might have been different.

    At least there is less of a chance that the USA will attack Iran.

  • rate this

    Comment number 638.

    "627. Bastiat"

    You keep proving that the only thing you value is money and direct economic benefit to you. Society and the rest of humanity can go to hell so long as you're ok. What happens when you need help your money can't buy? You didn't answer how you'd survive with a chronic degenerative uninsurable medical condition. How would you?

    And what you just said is also arrant nonsense.

  • Comment number 637.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 636.

    Better man won but what will the world get?
    More drones and extra-judicial killings, more rendition flights, more torture, more support for armed groups in the middle east, continuing imprisonment without trial at Gitmo?
    He is the first acknowledged mixed-race Pres. in the USA, not the first black Pres..

  • rate this

    Comment number 635.

    @unsureaboutanything I think you have it backwards as to who was playing on fear and hope. The country is in trouble and would we would still be in dire straits had Romney won but when a president puts us in 6 trillion in debt in less than 4 years. Wake up people. We are sliding fast. Very fast.

  • rate this

    Comment number 634.

    I'm glad that common sense has prevailed and the American people voted Obama back in. Let's hope he manages to do his job unencumbered by the racist Republicans who have gone out of their way to obstruct him so far.

  • rate this

    Comment number 633.

    Obama is a fine speaker but I can't help thinking that is as far as his dynamism goes.

    Perhaps the US has similar problems to us; we end picking the best of a bad bunch because all of them are pretty lacklustre these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 632.

    I live in North Carolina and I am not surprised that the President won the election. I am a Republican, but I was never thrilled about Romney. He never fired me up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 631.

    No they haven't. the hospital had records of his birth. The government checked. He released his birth certificate (short form and long form).
    There was never any actual evidence to support the theory in the first place, just the whispering of idiots.


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