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11/7/2012 8:06:00 AM
Obama powers to re-election despite weak economy
Carolyn Kaster/The Associated PressPresident Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate at his election night party in Chicago.
Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden celebrate at his election night party in Chicago.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama rolled to re-election Tuesday night, vanquishing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney despite a weak economy that plagued his first term and put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions. In victory, he confidently promised better days ahead.

Obama spoke to thousands of cheering supporters in his hometown of Chicago, praising Romney and declaring his optimism for the next four years. "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 his own 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.

Still, after the costliest - and one of the nastiest - campaigns in history, divided government was alive and well.

Democrats retained control of the Senate with surprising ease.

Republicans did the same in the House, ensuring 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 returns from 84 percent of the nation's precincts, Obama had 53.7 million, 49.6 percent of the popular vote. Romney had 53 million, or 48.9 percent.

The president's laserlike focus on the battleground states allowed him to run up a 303-206 margin in the competition for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, the count that mattered most. Remarkably, given the sour economy, he lost only two states that he captured in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina.

Florida, another Obama state four years ago, remained too close to call.

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 boded well for the president, who had worked to turn the election into a choice between his proposals and Romney's, rather than a 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.

Obama captured Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, 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 North Carolina among the battleground states.

Florida was too close to call, Obama leading narrowly in a state where there were still long lines of voters at some polling places long after the appointed closing time.

Romney, who grew wealthy in business and ran the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City before entering politics, spoke only briefly to supporters, some of whom wept.

"I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he said. "But the nation chose another leader and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation."

Moments later, Obama stepped before a far different crowd hundreds of miles away.

"Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual," he said. He pledged to work with leaders of both parties to help the nation complete its recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

By any description, the list of challenges is daunting - high unemployment, a slow-growth economy, soaring deficits, a national debt at unsustainable. To say nothing of the threat of a nuclear Iran and the menace of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups more than a decade after the attacks of Sept., 11, 2001.

There was no doubt about what drove voters to one candidate or the other.

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.

In the battle for the Senate, Elizabeth Warren turned Republican Scott Brown out of office in Massachusetts, and Rep. Joe Donnelly captured a seat from GOP hands in Indiana.

Deb Fischer picked up a seat for Republicans in Nebraska, defeating former Sen. Bob Kerrey.

In Maine, independent former Gov. Angus King was elected to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe. He has not yet said which party he will side with, but Republicans attacked him in television advertising during the race, and Democrats rushed to his cause.

In the presidential race, Obama won in the reliably Democratic Northeast and West Coast. Pennsylvania was his, too, despite two late campaign stops by Romney.

Romney won most of the South as well as much of the Rocky Mountain West and Farm Belt.

The president was in Chicago as he awaited the voters' verdict on his four years in office. He told reporters he had a concession speech as well as victory remarks prepared. He congratulated Romney on a spirited campaign. "I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today" as Obama's own, he added.

Romney reciprocated, congratulating the man who he had campaigned against for more than a year.

Earlier, he raced to Ohio and Pennsylvania for Election Day campaigning and projected confidence as he flew home to Massachusetts. "We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful," he said, adding that he had finished writing a speech anticipating victory but nothing if the election went to his rival.

But the mood soured among the Republican high command as the votes came in and Obama ground out a lead in critical states.

Like Obama, Vice President Joe Biden was in Chicago as he waited to find out if he was in line for a second term. Republican running mate Paul Ryan was with Romney in Boston, although he kept one eye on his re-election campaign for a House seat in Wisconsin, just in case. He won re-election to Congress.

The long campaign's cost soared into the billions, much of it spent on negative ads, some harshly so.

In a months-long general election ad war that cost nearly $1 billion, Romney and Republican groups spent more than $550 million and Obama and his allies $381 million, according to organizations that track advertising.

According to the exit poll, 53 percent of voters said Obama was more in touch with people like them, compared to 43 percent for Romney.

About 60 percent said taxes should be increased, taking sides on an issue that divided the president and Romney. Obama wants to let taxes rise on upper incomes, while Romney does not.

Other than the battlegrounds, big states were virtually ignored in the final months of the campaign. Romney wrote off New York, Illinois and California, while Obama made no attempt to carry Texas, much of the South or the Rocky Mountain region other than Colorado.

There were 33 Senate seats on the ballot, 23 of them defended by Democrats and the rest by Republicans.

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.

The GOP needed a gain of three for a majority if Romney won, and four if Obama was re-elected. Neither Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada nor GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was on the ballot, but each had high stakes in the outcome.

All 435 House seats were on the ballot, including five where one lawmaker ran against another as a result of once-a-decade redistricting to take population shifts into account. Democrats needed to pick up 25 seats to gain the majority they lost two years ago.

House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, raised millions to finance get-out-the-vote operations in states without a robust presidential campaign, New York, Illinois and California among them. His goal was to minimize any losses, or possibly even gain ground, no matter Romney's fate. House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California campaigned aggressively, as well, and faced an uncertain political future after her party failed to win control.

In gubernatorial races, Republicans picked up North Carolina, where Pat McCrory won easily. The incumbent, Democratic Gov. Bev Purdue, did not seek re-election.

In a campaign that traversed contested Republican primaries last winter and spring, a pair of political conventions this summer and three presidential debates, Obama, Romney, Biden and Ryan spoke at hundreds of rallies, were serenaded by Bruce Springstein and Meat Loaf and washed down hamburgers, pizza, barbecue and burrito bowls.

Obama was elected the first black president in 2008, and four years later, Romney became the first Mormon to appear on a general election ballot. Yet one man's race and the other's religion were never major factors in this year's campaign for the White House, a race dominated from the outset by the economy.

Over and over, Obama said that during his term the nation had begun to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. While he conceded progress had been slow, he accused Romney of offering recycled Republican policies that have helped the wealthy and harmed the middle class in the past and would do so again.

Romney countered that a second Obama term could mean a repeat recession in a country where economic growth has been weak and unemployment is worse now than when the president was inaugurated. A wealthy former businessman, he claimed the knowledge and the skills to put in place policies that would make the economy healthy again.

In a race where the two men disagreed often, one of the principal fault lines was over taxes. Obama campaigned for the renewal of income tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31 at all income levels except above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

Romney said no one's taxes should go up in uncertain economic times. In addition, he proposed a 20 percent cut across the board in income tax rates but said he would end or curtail a variety of tax breaks to make sure federal deficits didn't rise.

The differences over taxes, the economy, Medicare, abortion and more were expressed in intensely negative advertising.

Obama launched first, shortly after Romney dispatched his Republican foes in his quest for the party nomination.

One memorable commercial showed Romney singing an off-key rendition of "America The Beautiful." Pictures and signs scrolled by saying that his companies had shipped jobs to Mexico and China, that Massachusetts state jobs had gone to India while he was governor and that he has personal investments in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Romney spent less on advertising than Obama. A collection of outside groups made up the difference, some of them operating under rules that allowed donors to remain anonymous. Most of the ads were of the attack variety. But the Republican National Committee relied on one that had a far softer touch, and seemed aimed at voters who had been drawn to the excitement caused by Obama's first campaign. It referred to a growing national debt and unemployment, then said, "He tried. You tried. It's OK to make a change."

More than 30 million voters cast early ballots in nearly three dozen states, a reflection of the growing appeal of getting a jump on the traditional Election Day.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle


"Ahh but pseudonym, you forget that if only one democratic senator opposes any of obamas idiotic propositions, then majority is lost, and considering 99 senators rejected his budget. They are aware to vote against anything that comes from our first female president."

Ahhh, fellow pseudonym, you are again mistaken. It would take more than one vote to kill the simple majority in the Senate. I would suggest you do some reading.

And for the record, you yourself say you don't vote. It is not your right to complain about anything.

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Article comment by: Tj Denton

Ahh but pseudonym, you forget that if only one democratic senator opposes any of obamas idiotic propositions, then majority is lost, and considering 99 senators rejected his budget. They are aware to vote against anything that comes from our first female president.

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Article comment by: Em Lee

Frank Lee its people like you who caused this election result. Have you ever thought that people do NOT HAVE the money to subsudise their elderly parents income? What about children who are born to losers? They dont ask to be born. They have no choice but I guess they can starve huh? Along with the many other unwanted babies that are aborted but would be born in your plan for this country. Of course I would rather see babies being born.....but not to be abused, forgotten, starved and neglected. Not to even mention family planning educating and helping these girls BEFORE they get pregnant. Not to mention educating boys on NOT getting girls pregnant. People like you seem so selfish and ugly. So worried you might have to pay a little more. So greedy that you would watch people die from lack of basic life sustaining things. You would rather watch people die and our Country crumble than roll up your sleeves and pitch in. That says alot about the people that agree with you. Shame on those who are so selfish.

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

@T J

"well considering no one has the majority in the senate and congress is controled by the right,"

Not sure what planet you have been on lately, other than the I refuse to vote planet, but the Democrats have had the majority in the Senate for quite some time and kept that majority after Tuesday's elections.

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

My basso continuo is conservative.
But is the so-called GOP conser-
vative, are the Republicans con-
servative ? Was their debt-piling
conservative ? Was their immigra-
tion policy conservative ? Was it
conservative to squander billions
on defense ? Was it conservative
to lift mad men like Greenspan
onto the chair of the Federal Re-
serve ? Was it conservative to
give tax credits to corporations
which shifted production to Commie China ?
The Republicans get the receipt
now for the one and only
principle they conserved: $$$$$.

[Nick - When you're entering text in the comment box, don't hit the 'return' key at the end of each line. Just keep typing, the text will wrap. -- Web Admin]

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Harris

One would wonder why Mr Romney and the New Republican Party garnered as many votes as they did. This man avocated Trickle-Down economics and reducing regulations on financial institutions that GW used to largely destroy our economy. His own tax practices became suspect when he vehemently refused to release his taxes (still wonder if there isn't some illegality there). He "Believe(d) in America" so much that he stored millions in overseas banks which could have been used to loan out to small American businesses in our country. He rattled the war drum with Iran. His ancient views on woman, gays, minorities is so out of touch with American. His flip-flopping (his own party official called it Etch a Sketch) began almost immediately after he "used" the Tea Party and far right wing of his party to gain the nomination. He demonstrated he had no loyality to them or to any of his "principals" he pushed in the primaries. And we learned through this campaign about his "unusual" religious practices of a religion clouded in mystery and secrecy.

It was amazing so many stayed with him since he changed his positions on immigration, The Affordable Health Care Act, on and on. Why would the far right (which controls the New Republican Party) stay with Romney after he threw them under the bus? Oh yea, at least in some degree it might be the black man in the WH thing.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

The thing we used to say was "may the best man win" in the obama case the best man lost.
I'm glad I didn't have a hand in this screw up and America will be sorry!
Never thought the USA would become a socialist country but it's here....hope you folks are happy.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: S P

Though I backed a different horse, I congratulate President Obama on his victory. May he put aside the petty differences and work together to forge ahead and do what is right and best for the nation. I would like us to return to those things that made this country great. No matter who you voted for, it is over. The time is now upon us to work together and try to fix the problems ahead. It doesn't matter who created them, it is what will we do to fix them. How do we move forward?

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

well considering no one has the majority in the senate and congress is controled by the right, ide say obama is going to actually have to be bi-partisan if he wants to get anything done. hes not going to be able to raise taxes like he wants with a republican majority and no senate control. so its really not a big deal that he won.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@It's Time

Nope, not at all. I wanted them to block anything maobama wanted in the past 4 years and i want them to continue to do so in the future.

I want us to go over the "fiscal cliff" and automatic budget cuts to kick in. Especially cuts to entitlements.

Social Security? Dozens of times i have heard or read lib/leftists say how their mom or someone they know only has SS to live on. What amazes me is that when it comes to someone like their mom they never even think that should make up for her financial shortfall with their money. Noooooooo....Somehow it is always society's responsibility to help her. That means anyone other than them.

I have seen it in other things as well. Sometimes people will write here about the area needing more drug rehab facilities. Translation? They want rehab for a family member or friend and don't want to pay for it, they want taxpayers to do so. Drug rehab is a scam that is used to stay out of jail here. And methheads have about as much chance of being rehabbed as pedophiles do with therapy. That's why no facility will tell you what their success rate is. It’s a great scam for parasites, both for druggies and the liberals who run the scam

What last nights election results did was put the leaders of the country's parasites and freeloaders fully in charge.

Get this through your head, I so despise the things obama believes in I would rather see the country collapse and have to be rebuilt rather than see him achieve his long term goals.

America did not speak yesterday. The parasites and freeloaders did.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Edward Tomchin
I said as much in another response to an article about It's time to vote. The far right and left will never stop.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: It's Time

@ Frank Lee Speaking

Are you really going to try to tell this forum that the Republicans did "something other than to help Obama fail"? I also suppose you support throwing the Social Security into the Wall Street market! I don't even need a response, America spoke, "AGAIN"!

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Most of these letters are from people that love to tear their country and it's people down!”

I’ll be darned! You’re right the majority of them are from Republicans, Tea..uhh, you know, and Right Wing Loons who hate to see our nation move ahead. Good call, thank you.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: concerned citizen

Ref:Nice Chuckle
You hit the nail on the head! Most of these letters are from people that love to tear their country and it's people down! They're not happy until everyone is as miserable as they are.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Sigh. I guess nothing can put out the fires of hate and racism in this area, so I'll just take my leave and spend my time on my lawsuit. Adios.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Rick Shelby

It is official, we are now a country that will take care of those too lazy to earn it themselves. RIP USA and welcome USSA.
I am not a politician, therefore, not hiding my name.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Voter suppression, lie upon lie about the president, and a Money Hider who could not tell the truth did not fool the American people, and for the first time in her hate spewing career Ann Coulter spoke the truth, “If we don’t run Chris Christie, Mitt Romney will be the nominee and we will lose.” (Feb 2011)

Congratulations America. We will now return you to health care, equal pay for women, protections for women when it comes to health care decisions, the lowest tax rates since the 1950s and the end of two wars stated by the only convicted criminal ever appointed to the White House.

However, I am confident we are not done with hearing birther loon nonsense. Oh, wait, we’ve already seen birther loon posts.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@I'ts Time

"four year vacation"

"Here's hoping for another long vacation. The faster the system collapses the better. Let's see how all of you parasites like it when there is no money for al of your freebies.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Just Sayin

The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.
LOL not even 24 hours after his re-election and news is reporting stocks are down and they don't know why. Obama is actually going to work to raise the taxes of the working people.
Ah God Bless America...yep I said it GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Well once again the President has been elected and he will get 4 more years to try and bring about change in America. Don't think for a minute that I think he has done a great job. I'm a liberal and in spite of what you hear on Fox he is not really a socialist. However the Republicans have moved so far right Obama was the only choice a sane person could make. The question is what will the Repulbicans do next ? If they continue to act like spoiled babies who will not work with the opposition we will have 4 more years of turmoil and little change. If they think that that is what the Americans want they are sadly mistaken and will pay for it once again in 2016. America is no longer a white country. Get over it. We were all created by the same God. Our common interest should be to make America better for everyone not just the top 1 percent. I don't expect this state to change until the large white senior population dies off over the next few years. They are the reason that Arizona is so out of touch with the rest of Amerca. They move here from all over the country and bring with them their bigoted views. If the Republican party wants to be viable in America it must change back to a moderate fiscal conservative party that is more socally liberal. Serving up the tea will only drive them farther down the rabbit hole.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Obama Powers to re-election

Will you liberal hacks give it a break. He barely eeked it out. And us 53% with our own money lost 2% in the markets today. You 47% will just continue to get your money from China. The economy will never recover as long as investors fear the Whitehouse. "Investors" include those on Wall Street to those of us with money in retirement to the small business owner. It's not a bad word. It is how this country was built. Liberalism is killing it.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Chuckle

Reading some of these statements, I can honestly say I now know what Sour Grapes are like.

Sorry your guy lost Republicans. Mine did too. Now get over it and move on.

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: David Gaither

@Edward Tomchin

Easy for you to say, your socialist/communist Democratic party put Obama back in office!

Looks like the Republican party can't oust a President that wants to take money from those who produce and give to those who don't!

So, it's time for the rise of a powerful Teaparty, third party!

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: David Gaither

United States of America
Born July 4, 1776
Died Nov. 6, 2012

Hello: USSA, (United Socialist States of America)

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Article comment by: Breaking News.....Obama allegedly went to Mars ..... and other websites are carrying the story that Obama was teleported to Mars in a CIA program some years ago. Now, the Wired website includes this story on their Tinfoil Tuesday segment. Are they expressing skepticism?

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