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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform