Barack Obama has nothing to lose, says Simon Schama


Barack Obama has “nothing to lose” following his re-election as US president and it is now in his hands to build on his victory, a leading historian and broadcaster said.

Simon Schama, a professor at Columbia University in the US, said Obama has done "not a bad job at all" in the face of the "horrendous poison chalice" he was given four years ago in terms of the economic difficulties facing the country.

"Barack Obama in the second term has nothing to lose, it is not the case I think as people kept on saying earlier on in the evening that he is going to be faced with an even more brutally ferocious House, he will, but it means something to have been re-elected transformationally as the first African American president - he has won this election, it is in his hands to build on it or not," he told BBC Breakfast.

West Wing actor Richard Schiff told BBC Breakfast that he was ecstatic and thrilled by Obama's victory.

"It is going to be a tough four years, it is a good night, it is a relief for a lot of us. I would be very scared by the thought of a Romney presidency," he said.

"I have a great deal of relief right now. Some nice speeches were made tonight but there is going to be some vitriol and some vindictiveness, it remains to be seen if the Republicans are going to co-operate on any possible level."

Susan Schoenfeld Harrington, spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad UK, told BBC Breakfast: "I think that people see him (Obama) as representing a part of America that is America at its best.

"It's an America that sees their differences, can accept someone who may not always look the same or feel the same or have a different background, and can still lead us and can still talk in way that makes us understand that we can work together."

She predicted global warming would feature at the top of Obama's political agenda as he heads into his second term, along with tackling the economic crisis.

Stacy Hilliard, the London-based vice chairman of Republicans Abroad, said the election results showed "nothing has changed".

She told BBC Breakfast: "People did not think that either candidate, Romney or Obama, put forward a plan that they thought would actually move the country forward.

"The presidential elections certainly are about the personality, you are actually electing a person and not a party, which is what you do here in the Parliamentary system, so that kind of leads to the nasty bit - but negative campaigning works and that's why it has been used."