Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama wins second term in the White House


 IMAGE: President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden at the election night party on Wednesday.

The president rolled to a second term over Romney, winning more than 300 electoral votes. Obama told supporters "the best is yet to come."
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the American people have "picked ourselves up" and fought back during tough economic times, declaring after winning re-election that the "best is yet to come."
Obama says he wants to meet with Republican rival Mitt Romney to discuss how they can work together. He says they may have "battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply."
The president rolled to a second term over Romney, winning more than 300 electoral votes. Only one state's electoral votes hadn't been called by The Associated Press as of early Wednesday morning. In Florida, Obama has a 46,000-vote lead, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. But Florida historically has left as many as 5 percent of its votes uncounted until after Election Day, making the race too close to call until state officials complete their count, the AP said.
In victory, Obama spoke to thousands of cheering supporters, praising Romney and promising that better days are ahead. "While our road has been hard, though our journey has been long, 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.
Romney made a graceful concession speech before a disappointed crowd in Boston. He summoned all Americans to pray for Obama and urged the night's political winners to put partisan bickering aside and "reach across the aisle" to tackle the nation's problems. Romney said earlier he called Obama to congratulate him on his victory, adding that he prays "the president will be successful in guiding our nation."
Obama triumphed despite a weak economy that plagued his first term and put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions.
After the costliest - and arguably the nastiest - campaign in history, divided government seemed alive and well.Democrats retained control of the Senate with surprising ease. Republicans did the same in the House, making it likely that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Obama's partner in unsuccessful deficit talks, would reclaim his seat at the bargaining table.
At Obama headquarters in Chicago, a huge crowd gathered waving small American flags and cheering. Supporters hugged each other, danced and pumped their fists in the air. Excited crowds also gathered in New York's Times Square, at Faneuil Hall in Boston and near the White House in Washington, drivers joyfully honking as they passed by.
With votes counted in 75 percent of the nation's precincts, Obama held a narrow advantage in the popular vote, leading by about 25,000 out of more than 99 million cast.
But the president's laserlike focus on the battleground states allowed him to run up a 303-206 margin in the competition for electoral votes, where the White House is won or lost. It took 270 to win. Obama captured Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada, seven of the nine states where the rivals and their allies poured nearly $1 billion into dueling television commercials.
Romney won only North Carolina among the battleground states. Four years ago, Obama had carried the state.
Florida remained too close to call, a state where long lines of voters kept the polls open in some areas well past the appointed poll close time.
Here’s how it shaped up for the candidates.
The election emerged as a choice between two very different visions of government - whether it occupies a major, front-row place in American lives or is in the background as a less-obtrusive facilitator for private enterprise and entrepreneurship.
The economy was rated the top issue by about 60 percent of voters surveyed as they left their polling places. But more said former President George W. Bush bore responsibility for current circumstances than Obama did after nearly four years in office. That bode well for the president, who had worked to turn the election into a choice between his proposals and Romney's, rather than the simple referendum on the economy during his time in the White House.
Unemployment stood at 7.9 percent on election day, higher than when he took office. And despite signs of progress, the economy is still struggling after the worst recession in history.
About 4 in 10 said the economy is on the mend, but more than that said it was stagnant or getting worse more than four years after the near-collapse of 2008. The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and a group of television networks.
OTHER RACES
Democrats held their narrow majority in the Senate on Tuesday, with 53 seats, grabbing GOP seats in Massachusetts and Indiana and turning aside Republican challenges in Virginia and Ohio. Republicans regained control of the House -- 232 seats to the Democrats' 191 seats -- ensuring that Congress will be divided at the start of President Barack Obama's second term in office.
Democrat Elizabeth Warren won in Massachusetts over Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who stunned the political world in January 2010 when he won Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat. Democrat Joe Donnelly won Indiana's Senate seat in a close-fought battle with tea-party backed state treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock had been considered the favorite after knocking out six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary in May. But he damaged his chances when he said in a debate that pregnancy resulting from rape is "something God intended."
In Ohio, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown survived an onslaught of outside spending, some $30 million, to defeat state treasurer Josh Mandel. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey survived a late scare from businessman Tom Smith, who invested more than $17 million of his own money in the race.
Texas sent Tea Party-backed Ted Cruz to the Senate as the Republican won the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Cruz will become the third Hispanic in the Senate, joining Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson triumphed in his bid for a third term, holding off a challenge from Republican Rep. Connie Mack. Republican groups had spent heavily against Nelson early in the race, but the moderate Democrat was a prolific fundraiser with wide appeal among Democrats and some Republicans in the Panhandle. 
In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin won a full term even though his state went heavily for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Tennesseans gave Republican Sen. Bob Corker a second term. Wyoming voters did the same for Sen. John Barrasso, and Republican Roger Wicker captured another term in Mississippi.
North Carolina voters elected their first Republican governor in two decades Tuesday, fanning the GOP's hope of broadening their party's hold on governor's mansions across the country. The victory by former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory came two years after Republicans snatched six governors' offices in the midterm elections, giving the party 29 governorships to 20 for Democrats and one independent entering the elections in which 11 gubernatorial races were to be decided.
When all the ballots are counted, Republicans could have as many as 33 governorships - the most since the 1920s and one more than they had in the 1990s.
Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, won a Connecticut seat long held by Sen. Joe Lieberman, retiring after a career that included a vice presidential spot on Al Gore's ticket in 2000. It was Republican Linda McMahon's second defeat in two tries, at a personal cost of $92 million.
Former Gov. Angus King won the Senate race in Maine, running as an independent. King will take over the seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Another independent, Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders, also has been re-elected.
Incumbent Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) gained enough votes to win a second term

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