Presidential election 2012

Obama wins four more years as Romney challenge is crushed

America’s women, young and minorities back President – and he heralds victory via Twitter

Chicago

President Obama won another four years in office, rising triumphant from a brutal campaign against his Republican foe, Mitt Romney, who failed to harvest the votes he needed in enough of the handful of swing states that was always going to decide this election.

In a speech lasting almost 25 minutes, the President insisted he had hope for the future but admitted there was "more work to do".

"The best is yet to come, but we have more work to do," he told the crowd.

The president said his supporters "voted for action, not business as usual" as he vowed to reduce the deficit, reform taxation and fix the immigration system.

He added: "Tonight, despite all the hardship we have been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I have never been more hopeful about our future, I have never been more hopeful about America."

Thanking the thousands of supporters in the room, he told them: "Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

"It moves forward because of you, it moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and oppression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

"Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, 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, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

Mr Romney formally conceded the election just before 6am GMT today. He said: 'I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.'

In the end, an election night that some had seen stretching into the wee hours was decided with reasonable speed even as the counting was still under way in Florida and Virginia, two among the squeakier battleground states.  It was not initially clear whether Mr Obama could also prevail in the popular vote.  A failure to do so would only have been a subplot to his victory but an important one that would surely hamper his ability to govern in a second term. So there was relief in his camp when he took that lead as well.

Whereas the early betting during the summer had been on Mr Obama, a dismal performance in the first presidential debate in Denver later threw the race wide open and even into the late hours of yesterday top aides around Mr Romney were evincing calm optimism that the night would be theirs.  But so had been Team Obama.

His victory, decided by passing the magic 270-mark in the Electoral College shortly past midnight on the East Coast according the networks, is vindication for a president who promoted himself fiercely in the closing rallies of the campaign as a champion of America’s middle class who admitted that there was more work to do to mend the economy while insisting that he was the right person for the job.

“I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started,” Mr Obama said in a tweet to party loyalists. “But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place. Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.”

The disappointment for Republicans, by contrast, was crushing.  Surely a post-mortem in their ranks will now rage over which direction the party can take now after suffering two presidential losses in a row and whether it was harmed either by a faulty candidate or by the rightwards pull exerted on it by the Tea Party.  Central to the self-doubts also will be how deeply in a hole Republicans now are with minorities and especially Hispanics.

On paper, Mr Obama should have been in trouble.  Indeed, yesterday he broke the historical mold by becoming the first president to achieve re-election since FDR with an unemployment rate of 7.9 per cent.  Mr Romney had offered a CV of a successful businessman perfectly suited to put the economy and national finances in order.  But in the end, young Americans, women, minorities – the new progressive coalition in America – pushed Mr Obama over the finishing line.

All the hopes that Mr Romney had of expanding his paths to victory by winning states normally expected to vote Democrat were dashed last night.  He lost in Michigan, where his father served as governor, and failed to take Wisconsin the home state of his running mate Paul Ryan.  Doubtless, there will be Republicans second-guessing Mr Romney for his choice of vice-presidential nominee and wondering if picking Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, which he lost, might have served him better in that state and even elsewhere.  Mr Obama meanwhile did well protecting, though not always entirely, the margins of victory he achieved four years ago in places like Colorado.  Among the last states to be called for Mr Obama was Colorado.  Counted continued however in Ohio and Florida.

As midnight came, America was face to face with history.  In victory, Mr Obama validated an agenda of social inclusion and activist government and avoided joining the one-term club alongside Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush.  Nor was he re-elected because of any thrill that came last time with the sending of the first African-American to the highest office but because of his record.

Not entering the history books in the right way, however, is Mr Romney who came close to being the first Mormon President-elect.  To what extent his faith hurt him in the race is still a murky question, but it could have suppressed the evangelical vote which was so pivotal in putting George W. Bush into office for a second time in 2004.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit