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 890.

    872:You can't prove that one way or another. It's not documented who is "illegal" (how could it be?) and the votes are supposed to be anonymous. Oh, and you might want to pay more attention in class about what communism is.

    886: How are state propositions related to the presidential vote? They're not. The very link you posted even says it: gay marriage is Constitutionally banned in 31 states.

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    888. Philadelphia
    @887.Unashamedly Independent
    That would be amusing but I don't see how they could and remain Republicans
    Well, that's the thing - DC had to become less of a Tory. They failed to provide him with a personality and a spine though. I guess either are hard to find in the Tory prop department.

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.

    @887.Unashamedly Independent
    That would be amusing but I don't see how they could and remain Republicans. Romney was an northeast Republican which is pretty moderate by US standards. He had to move further right to be accepted as the presidential candidate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.

    What's great about this is, is that like the Tories had to roll out their copy of Tony Blair, the Republicans will have to roll out their version of Obama. And hopefully the likes of Palin, Coulter, Romney will have had their day. Although I suspect Trump will not vanish silently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 886.

    Looks like a few states took advantage and got the jump on Obama on gay marriage & legalising marijuana. He only had 3 years to put gay marriage to a vote, never did.

    Embarrassing for Obama? Yes. Looking forward to the show down between the States v Washington.

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    Arnold Schwazzenegger:

    'I'll be back!'' for next Republican candidate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.

    @882 and a few others
    For what it's worth if the reason is true.
    "Following news that the European Commission had downgraded sharply its growth forecast for the EU and eurozone, the main US index, the Dow Jones, closed down 313 points, or 2.4%, at 12,933, its lowest level since early August."

  • rate this

    Comment number 883.

    The US was cool; the Blues, the Lizard King, Pink Cadilacs, T'Birds, Mustangs, Hollyword. But not anymore.

    47m on food stamps, 2m over 40 stone, infanticied running at an average of two per state per day, everything they wear, watch and press buttons on is imported from folk who have never heard of tax credits, housing benefits and all those vote winning things roled our by Clinton.

  • rate this

    Comment number 882.

    Wow. Obama wins and the stock market goes down over 300 points today. I hope this isn't the hope and change he meant. If it is we can only "hope' we still have some 'change' (coins) in our pockets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 881.

    Unashamedly Independent (876),

    "@ 870. toriestruffles: So someone who contradicts you is automatically a troll? ..."

    I fear that you'll find a number of those types of unwarranted claims in these threads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 880.

    Unashamedly Independent

    - people with more original opinions than yours.///

    Original? - To predict Hilary Clinton as next President.

    - So hilarious.

    - Tame your Ego pal, it needs deflating!

  • rate this

    Comment number 879.

    The best man won then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 878.

    I was hugely relieved that Obama won. I believe the world is a safer place today than it would have been with Mitt Romney. And maybe America's poor and vulnerable have some cause to hope that some humanity will be shown to them. The rich/poor gulf is appalling & it beggars belief that a rich and supposedly civilised country does not ensure at least basic medical care for all its citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 877.

    The first thing I knew about the US presidential election was when I looked up the BBC News website at lunchtime and the black bloke had won. Before that I didn't even know there was an election in the US. Thankyou BBC for protecting us in the UK from all that American crap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 876.

    @ 870. toriestruffles: So someone who contradicts you is automatically a troll? I first posted my Clinton prediction this morning, independent of anyone else's comment and well before you turned up to start hurling cheap insults at people with more original opinions than yours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 875.

    151. Controlled Pair
    >>>more attempts at injecting the poison of socialism into America.
    >>>The most dangerous man in the world has 4 more years.

    I'm guessing you are a middle aged person who hasn't yet got over the cold war? I'm also guessing you're American, since only someone with those two traits could characterise Obamacare etc as "socialism". Go re-read your constitution, please.

  • Comment number 874.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 873.

    If the turnout figures are right (

  • rate this

    Comment number 872.

    The Kenyan's son was a million votes ahead. Easy, there are thirteen million illegal aliens in the US, voting on the very benefits
    they vociferously collect.
    The Chinese empire gets four more years of unrestricted parasitic feeding on the US, thanks to the 2012 coup de Illegal alien voters.
    Obama's oratory with platitudes of ancient are infantile,
    Communism is his only political passion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 871.

    I'm glad that the American people chose Obama. The Republicans make Cameron & co look like philanthropists by comparison. I'd still like to know why so much media coverage is given over to the US elections. GB's hardly get a mention in the USA when they're on. It's not as if GB citizens can have any sway in the process, is it?


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