Obama re-elected

President Barack Obama rolled to re-election Tuesday night, vanquishing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and winning four more years in office despite a weak economy that plagued his first term and put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions. "This happened because of you. Thank you" Obama tweeted to supporters as he celebrated four more years in the White House.
Tribune Staff
Nov 7, 2012

 

Romney telephoned the president, then spoke to disappointed supporters in Boston. In a graceful concession, he summoned all Americans to pray for the president and urged the night's winners to put partisan bickering aside and "reach across the aisle" to tackle the nation's problems.

After the costliest — and arguably the nastiest — campaign in history, divided government seemed alive and well.

Democrats retained control of the Senate with surprising ease. Republicans were on course for the same in the House, making it likely 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 votes counted in 75 percent of the nation's precincts, Obama held a narrow advantage in the popular vote, leading by about 25,000 out of more than 99 million cast.

But the president's laserlike focus on the battleground states allowed him to run up a 303-203 margin in the competition for electoral votes, where the White House is won or lost. It took 270 to win.

Obama captured Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, 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 was in Massachusetts, his long and grueling bid for the presidency at an unsuccessful end.

He won North Carolina among the battleground states.

Florida remained too close to call, a state where there were long lines of voters kept the polls open in some areas well past the appointed poll close time..

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

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, Democrats won seats currently held by Republicans in Indiana and Massachusetts.

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.

Polls were still open in much of the country as the two rivals began claiming the spoils of a brawl of an election in a year in which the struggling economy put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions.

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.

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

In the presidential race, an estimated one million commercials aired in nine battleground states where the rival camps agreed the election was most likely to be settled — Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

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.

In Virginia, the polls had been closed for several minutes when Obama's campaign texted a call for volunteers "to make sure everyone who's still in line gets to vote."

In Florida, there were long lines at the hour set for polls to close. Under state law, everyone waiting was entitled to cast a ballot.

According to the exit poll, 53 percent of voters said Obama is 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.

Depending on the outcome of a few races, it was possible that white men would wind up in a minority in the Democratic caucus for the first time.

Speaker John A. 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 if 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 has begun to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. While he conceded progress has 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.

 

Comments

Lanivan

Most of these comments reflect the very reasons behind the demise of the GOP campaign. Opinions based on innuendo, propaganda, bias, hate and fear. Not a fact in sight. Verbal sparring that borders on verbal abuse. The lack of reason is pathetic. The far right wing of the GOP has shown it's hand, and America has rejected it. People are becoming more and more aware, and are realizing that this government must begin consensus building and start working to tackle the truly important issues of our time. Deficits? Balanced budgets? Entitlements? If you really care, quit the squabbling and start pressuring your congresspeople to focus on compromise and consensus. There's a reason Congress has a 13% approval rating - the lowest ever. The people have spoken. Ignore or dismiss them and you will quickly become irrelevant.....or worse.

racina

Lanivan 2016

Wingmaster

Keep reading your tea leaves your way Laninvain. We are supporting and contacting our congress people, perhaps you also misinterpeted the 2010 mid term elections! I relish in the fact that you view this election as the demise of the GOP. While you are busy dancing in the streets over Obama's mulligan term, the conservative base is extremely energized and focused on its message. Just as your party veered hard left after a stunning defeats during the mid terms, so too will the GOP move to the harder to the right. Its obvious after running two different moderates during the last two Presidential election it does not work. So, while the left triumphed again during this cycle, they have sealed their fate. Four more years of this socialist path we are on is going to move many "moderates" back to conservative side of the aisle. Mark my words. Lets hope for the sake of you and I the country does not suffer insurmountable attacks on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the mean time. Please continue as I missed your eloquent, yet miss guided views. You have completely miss why the GOP lost, my hope is so has the rest of your party. Just remember 35% of this country still considers itself to be conservative. That is larger percent than those that view themselves as liberal or moderates or no opinion.

RenegadeX

The people have spoken...61.2 million for Obiden and 58.2 million for Romney, a difference of just 3 million out of nearly 120 million cast. Obiden received more than 7 million FEWER votes and at least 50 less electoral votes than in 2008. He's only the second incumbent in US history to accomplish this dubious feat. Oh, and his share of the electorate dropped as well. So, spare us the indignation as we compete in the arena of ideas, and opine upon the issue du jour. While I am sure it would bring great comfort to your ilk if well-meaning conservatives would just shut up, you'll forgive us as we enthusiastically embrace our 1st amendment right. Now, I need to excuse myself to go clean the manifestation of my 2nd amendment right.

Wingmaster

LOL, that last line will really confuse a few here... and good luck when you put it to use next week!

RenegadeX

You too!

Lanivan

Wing - how you underestimate your fellow citizens! Better spend tons of money and hoard all those hunting rifles - did ya hear Obama's going to come into your house and take em all away????

Wingmaster

Oh, I knew the reference would get a response from you Laninvain. A very predictable one at that. Care to elaborate all those facts or are you just going to just tease us fellow citizens...er old white people?

Lanivan

So just when is a win not a win, but a loss? And when is a loss really a win in disguise? And at what point does an airing of opinions and ideas become useless and continuous dribble? Your comment that most of these posts are about "competing in the arena of ideas" is as astute as all the predictions that Romney was going to win. What you guys still don't get is that moderation and consensus is the key to success. This country is not all about aging white guys any more. The country is not interested in extremes. The country wants not only two political parties that can bring their differences to the table, but are willing to come to that table. And there must be more diversity in these posts and less abuse towards those who think differently. You guys are stuck in a rut and really, really need to move on from this broken record of "I'm all righteous and right and anyone who who disagrees with me is going to get a heap of mud piled on them". It's 2012, it's a new day, let's all agree that we love our country and together we will pull the best ideas from different people, different parties, different approaches. Oh wait, that's no Fun!!

Wingmaster

There's that "old white people" reference again. Did everbody catch that. The next class division in the left's war dividing people.

Lanivan

Oh Wing - you are a hoot....of all I wrote you respond to the "aging white guy". Perhaps a little too sensitive?? Too close for comfort?? Or you just want to draw attention away from the real point of my comment??

Wingmaster

Sorry Laninvain, I thought I was moving the dialogue further along from the useless dribble you referenced in the previous post. So which is it more useless dribble or expanded dialogue. Perhaps I did touch on something you do not realize you drank? You really need to expand your news sources as you are becoming quite predictable. Please advise as I once again must have underestimated my fellow citizen.

Lanivan

I do think I will back away from the "aging" reference as I suppose a case could be made that I too am in that category....

horst

WOW LANIVAN, Barry's first four years made these three items, written from your hand (Deficits? Balanced budgets? Entitlements?) the worst in US history. I hope he attempts to fix them since it was his lack of training and knowledge that made them so bad. As I stated before. The US Govt. is the biggest business in the world, we need a seasoned business person running it, not a rookie attorney or lifetime politicians. Where are all the good Democrat business men hiding when it comes to running for office...are there any???

Lanivan

Horst - your problem is that you equate government with business. They are not, never have been, nor ever will be one and the same. Democratic government is run by the people, for the people; business is not. Business operates on profit, government does not. Government must be run with adequate revenue balanced with responsible spending. This is why I was so appalled that Bush took a perfectly good surplus handed to him by Clinton (look it up - Democratic presidents reduce deficits, Republican presidents increase them) and squandered it with glee by instituting tax cuts, 2 wars, and a big pharma handout through Medicare D, and then the country into a ditch. Oh well, This is all old news. The Republican stated goal for the last 4 years to make Obama a 1-term president is now moot. The American people want consensus and I predict if the Republicans continue to roll with this treasonous behavior, heads will continue to roll. And people like you who pigeon-hole and stereotype need to 1) Stop the Obama-bashing. It's not relevant or attractive any more. 2) Start thinking about your country differently - it's not all about you. 3) Realize you aren't always right and everybody else is always wrong.

RenegadeX

Name one thing Obiden should give up as a means of compromise?

Lanivan

He already did. He offered the Repubs $10 worth of spending cuts for $1 worth of tax increases and in a stunningly stupid move, they refused. Another time they put their oath to lobbyist Grover Norquist above their sacred oath of office to uphold the Constitution. And what's with the Obiden thing - another way to show your total lack of respect for your president? If you're going to insist on being disrespectful, at least be clever and/or funny about it.

RenegadeX

Let’s be clear about what we are talking about with the “Grand Bargain”, shall we? The federal government would receive a projected $39 trillion in revenue if the Bush Tax cuts were allowed to expire over the 10 years which is the subject of this discussion. If those tax cuts were extended permanently, projections were of $35.5 trillion. Boehner was offering the President a package of $36.3 trillion in revenue which could only be achieved if some of the Bush Tax cuts expired. In effect, a tax increase of $800 billion over the decade the negotiations covered…You could at least be honest and acknowledge the complicated nature of the discussions and the personalities involved in these negotiations. Not only did you have the President, and his immediate aids like Bill Daley and Timothy Geitner, but you had John Boehner and Eric Cantor representing the house Republicans (to the extent they could). There was the Senate Gang of Six comprised of Mark Warner, Richard Durbin and Kent Conrad on the Democratic side, along with the Republicans Saxby Chambliss, Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo. The Senate was having its own discussion of a plan to reduce spending. Readers will recall, this is the same Democratic controlled Senate that hasn’t passed a federal budget in the four years Obama has been president…The Senate went ahead and endorsed a competing plan that would have raised revenue which the President immediately went forth and welcomed, though only as a way of exerting pressure on House Republicans to agree to the Senate plan which raised taxes $1.2 trillion more than what Obiden and Boehner were originally discussing. It was, the proverbial “Bridge to Far”. And again, this plan was separate from what Boehner and Obiden were discussing. In effect the President and Boehner had a broad outline, yet the President felt it necessary to then endorse a competing Senate plan. Does that sound like someone you’d want to continue negotiating with?...As negotiations neared completion with Boehner, the President countered Boehner’s original $800 billion in revenue increase by proposing $1.16 trillion as a “floor”, not a “ceiling” of additional revenue. Obiden did this because he KNEW he couldn’t get a majority of Democrats to sign on to a plan that reduced and/or cut spending on their “priorities”. After a broad outline was established on cuts and revenue with Boehner, Obiden changed the terms of the deal, though he was willing to return to the broad outlines initially discussed after it was apparent Boehner wouldn’t or couldn’t agree to these new numbers. At that point, Boehner had no choice but to walk away leaving us in the position where we are today with cuts and a tax increase looming….Now, if you want to say the Republicans walked away from this “deal” in a “stunningly stupid” move, that’s your prerogative. What you aren’t telling readings is how exceedingly difficult it would have been to get this past both Republicans AND Democrats had it actually made it to the floor of both legislative chambers. You want to assume two people in a room could speak for 534 other legislators. Do you really think Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have filibustered the proposed cuts to death? And this doesn’t take into account the changes the President made AFTER Boehner thought broad outlines had been agreed to. As for “respecting” the President, I’ll show him the same level of respect he and his campaign showed Governor Romney during the campaign, or that “progressives” in general showed George W. Bush when he was President. And I think Obiden is sufficiently cleaver given the serial buffoonery of Joe Biden and his sidekick, Barry Obama

Wingmaster

Impressive and with great context RenegadeX. The question is, how do we get the entire voting citizens of the country to pay attention long enough to follow the shenanigans in the hallowed halls of government? That is the million dollar question for conservatism.

RenegadeX

Dare I say Wingmaster, it's the TRILLION dollar question? Thanks for your kind words and relevant postings on any number of issues in these foras. The stench of another four years of Obiden is lessened when one realizes there are thoughtful, caring people willing to express contrarian views in the best of the conservative tradition. http://www.nationalreview.com/ar... Enjoy the weekend all!

Lanivan

Thanks for the refresher course on American history, RenX - but you asked me what President Obama offered in a spirit of compromise, and am I to understand his offer of $10 in spending cuts for $1 in taxes, which was summarily rejected by the GOP, was not sufficient enough for you?

RenegadeX

No, I asked what he SHOULD give up. "RenegadeX says
Name one thing Obiden should give up as a means of compromise". And you are welcome for a refresher on the facts of "the Grand Bargain". Heaven forbid if anyone should prognosticate in these fora without all the facts.

Wingmaster

You just clearly illustrated why government should not run health care. Because government does not run on a profit, they do not need to complete and provide the best services possible. Don't think you realized you veered into that ditch. Oh and the deficit thing, Obama has added to the deficit more than any president in the last 224 years from Washington to Clinton. Yes Bush started it, then Obama ran in 08 that he would reduce it! So lets not lose sight of that fact like most of the voters did. Obama has presided over the tripling of the debt to 16 trillion. So much for your democrat presidents reducing deficit dribble. Hey don't forget your democrats also voted for those 2 wars and own as much responsibility for the debt run up there. The GOP's problem is they did listen to much to the democrats banter about a more moderate candidate the last 2 cycles and we know how that turned out for them. Your last 3 democrat talking points are designed to keep the GOP focus. This election was close victory for your side with the problem being less turn out. That turn out is a message to both sides. People hate politicians and unlike you and I vote on sound bytes and scare tactics. Your scare tactics worked better this time. I hope we survive the results.

horst

Hey wing, I think your a minority now like me: white male. We need a PAC in Washington

Wingmaster

No doubt there. I think Cain would have been a great choice too. Why is it the GOP "eats its young" and the Dems put the same character flaws up as some kind of experience to grow from or ignore. Bubba finds creative ways to use a cigar on an intern in the oval office and is a serial philanderer with a list he has doinked. Kennedy's, need I go there. We need a viable 3rd party to break the garbage we are getting out of this two party system. I'm tired of the scare tactics both parties use that your handing the election to the other guy. I have much more but need to reflect more in natures wonderland.

Lanivan

I thought most of the Washington super pacs were dominated my minority white males.

Lanivan

I love your economic theory that government can not compete, thus they can not provide the best services possible. Did you know Social Security is run very efficiently, with very little operating expenses, and is a model of effective government? When it comes to health care, government is the ideal way to provide access to a broad number of citizens. After all, we've only had competitive private health care in this country, and look how that has kept costs and premiums down - NOT! Of course, there are those rotten apples like Tea Party Florida governor, Rick Scott, who was indicted for Medicare fraud to the tune of over $1 billion when CEO of his nursing home empire. Just think! - the good people of Florida rewarded his corruption and fraud on the taxpayers pocketbook by voting him in as governor. Of course, he now has a very low approval rating - DUH! Back to deficits - of course you and I both know by now that Obama inherited around $10 Trillion of the Bush deficit, then had to pull the country out of the ditch during the Great Recession, and of course there's interest on those credit card wars. You keep pullin' out all the stops, Wing, and I still am not buyin' it.

Wingmaster

So using your math, Bush $10 million two terms and war that Dems voted for and Obama 1 term and draw down in Iraq $6 million. Does it not look like by this trajectory in Obama's 2nd term we will be at a minimum of $12 milion?? Lets no forget the bill from Obama care starting to come due. Social Security is run efficiently? No wonder you look at government as the answer when you cannot see the simply mathmatics on that program are about to implode when all the boomers retire.

Lanivan

Don't start on Social Security with me! I was one of the lucky ones assigned SS in Econ 101 for a research paper (the extent of my economics credentials). It's true - SS is very efficiently managed. The poster child of government-run insurance programs (of course you know it's not an entitlement program, right?). The thing is, like all programs that are universal, it has to be tweaked a bit here and there - just like Reagan and Tip did in the '80's. Raise the cap a bit and all is well - we don't need to demolish the whole thing. Which is what the far right want to do. Invest in Wall Street!! I watched my father have a stroke - from extreme anxiety imo - after he lost his retirement account in Merrill Lynch in the 2001-2 dot.com bubble burst.

Wingmaster

You know the fix for SS is not that simple. It will take more than a tweak to fix it at this point. The numbers will not work with all the boomers retiring. Your research thirty years?? ago probably did not take into account that problem. The after the boomers generation are the ones that are going to get screwed by the collapse of the ponzi scheme as they will get near the time to retire and the age will have to change to allow more of the aging boomers to die off. Why not fix the program now instead of punting it. Sorry, by the way about your Dad's stroke.

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