The best is yet to come, Victor Obama vows
REUTERS photoPresident Barack Obama rolled to re-election and a second term in the White House yesterday with a clear victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Obama easily captured far more than the 270 electoral votes needed for victory and further cemented his place in American history with a victory despite having been at the country’s helm during difficult economic times. Obama told a rally of cheering supporters that the election “reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back.” For the United States, “the best is yet to come,” he told thousands of supporters in his hometown of Chicago.
The incumbent 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.”
As Obama’s victory was confirmed with wins in rustbelt Ohio and his spiritual political home in Iowa, large crowds suddenly materialized at the White House, chanting “four more years” and “O-bama, O-bama.” The president also said he looked forward to sitting down with Romney to find if they could find common ground to work together while congratulating his defeated foe on “a spirited campaign.”
Romney and Obama spoke of the need for unity and healing the nation’s partisan divide. But the election did nothing to end America’s divided government. The Democrats retained their narrow majority in the Senate, while the Republicans kept firm control of the House of Representatives.
Obama’s narrow lead in the popular vote will make it difficult for him to claim a sweeping mandate. With returns from 88 percent of the nation’s precincts, Obama had 55.8 million, 49.8 percent of the popular vote. Romney had 54.5 million, or 48.6 percent. But Obama did have a sizeable victory where it mattered, in the competition for Electoral College votes, taking at least 303 votes versus Romney’s 206.
The president is chosen in a state-by-state tally of electoral votes, not according to the nationwide popular vote, making battleground states – which vote neither Republican nor Democrat on a consistent basis – particularly important in such a tight race. Obama’s victory in the hotly contested swing state of Ohio was a major step in the fight for the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House and ended Romney’s hopes of pulling off a string of swing-state upsets. Obama scored narrow wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire – all states that Romney had contested – while the only swing state captured by Romney was North Carolina.
Obama’s victory came despite lingering high unemployment 7.9% on election day. Prior to Obama’s victory, no president in 70 years had won re-election with the unemployment rate above 7.4 percent.
Millions flock to social media
Barack Obama brought his sophisticated social media campaign to an emotional climax, proclaiming his victory on Twitter and Facebook just as TV networks were breaking the news. “This happened because of you. Thank you,” he tweeted to his 22 million followers just minutes after the first U.S. network called his victory. “Four more years,” he said straight afterwards, posting a photo of himself hugging First Lady Michelle Obama as other TV networks followed suit and, one-by-one, announced his re-election as the 44th President of the United States. The post was his most
retweeted tweet - 472,000 shares in three hours. The same picture of a happy, serene-looking Obama hugging his wife appeared on the president’s Facebook account and was shared tens
of thousands of times by some of his 32 million fans. Minutes later, Obama tweeted again. “We’re all in this together. That’s how we campaigned, and that’s who we are. Thank you.” Social networks have emerged as key tools in the months-long U.S. presidential campaign, with both Obama and Romney staging major pushes on these popular platforms to draw in supporters. According to Twitter, the election has become the most tweeted about event in U.S. political history, with some 31 million poll-related posts fired out throughout day. When networks called the victory, Twitter went into manic overdrive, with election-related tweets rising to an average of 327,452 a minute.
Mitt Romney concedes defeat
“His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations,” Romney said in a brief address at his election watch party in Boston. “I wish all of them well but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.”
“This election is over, but our principles endure,” said Romney. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation,” Romney said to cheers and applause.
“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and posturing,” he said. “Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work and we citizens have to rise to the occasion.” Romney also thanked his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, as well as wife Ann Romney.
BOSTON – Agence France-Presse
Most female senators ever
That 12-point victory nearly matched Obama’s 13-point win among female voters over Republican John McCain in 2008. Romney did no better among women, who outvoted their male counterparts by 6 percent, than McCain did four years ago. One key to Obama’s success: social issues. Nearly two times as many women as men rank matters like abortion and same-sex marriage as the most important issue that determined their vote, according to polling data. NEW YORK - Reuters
Voters ok pot and gay marriage
Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin as the first openly gay U.S. senator. Baldwin was earlier the first out lesbian in the House of Representatives. The marijuana measures in Colorado and Washington set up a showdown with the federal government, which outlaws the drug. Colorado’s Amendment will allow adults over 21 to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana, though using the drug publicly would still be banned. The amendment would also allow people to grow up to six marijuana plants in a private area. Washington’s measure establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults can buy up to 28 grams. In Massachusetts, voters approved a measure to allow marijuana use for medical reasons, joining 17 other states.
WASHINGTON - The Associated Press