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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own