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

horst

I agree with many of your points...but as an MBA with a degree in Economic you are "WRONG" about the govt. not being a business. The United States Govt. is the biggest employer and "BIGGEST" business in the world. They operate as a 501c instead of a profit making entity. Your "BY the PEOPLE for the PEOPLE is very 19th century. The US govt. outgrew that mentality after WWII when it grew too big to serve the people and began servicing the people. Now "THE PEOPLE" expect to be serviced by the Govt and that's how all those snakes get re-elected, Barry, Geo, Slick Willie…all of them. They should be promising freedom and independence from the govt, ”NOT STUFF”. I honestly don't blame Obama or Geo Bush for the economy, any more than I give Reagan credit for it. The economy historically cycles up and down, however forces get put into play by men and govts. that influence the depths and lengths of these cycles. Greedy Union contracts, ridicules CEO salaries and bonuses, govt. not having a budget or balancing one, all play into the cycle.
People hate war but this recession would have been a lot longer and deeper without it. Lay-offs at Boeing, GE, Alcoa, etc…etc..etc will make Detroit look like a hiccup if defense spending is slowed to the degree Obama wants. Look it up, that’s how Reagan got the economy jump started and without a war in his first term. He had a record to run on.
Romney should have checked, he was right about one thing. The 47% were the “us” and not the “them”. I took offense to that 47% statement because portions of that 47% were the people on social security that have earned the right to that program by paying into it. I assume he was referring to the blood suckers that use govt. programs to live off but they’re far from 47%.
You make me laugh.  Both parties goal is to make the other a one termer, so take Obama off the alter you have him on.
CONSENSUS; You mean like the Democrat heads that rolled in 2010 when Barry lost his majority in Congress. And this election gap that closed from Barry’s 2008 win. You better watch over your shoulder, you’re losing your consensus. Or get more corpses register to vote.
I have to think about my country before it's given away in gifts, grants and programs to people with no intention of ever contributing to it. I happily pay 32% in taxes so it “IS” about me more than the takers that don't contribute. I’m a flat tax (17%) and a 10% donation person. He’s a fact for you. We wouldn’t need Obama/Romney and the programs if “EVERYBODY” gave 5% of their income to charity. But we have people like Joe Biden that give a whopping $1500 of his $200,000+ income to charity. I was raised Catholic and he calls himself a good Catholic…HE’S A JOKE and not in a ha ha funny sort of way.
And stop fabricating to prove a point. I never bashed Obama once...FACT: NO BUDGET. FACT: BIGGEST DEFICIT EVER. FACT: MOST GOVT. ENTITLEMENTS EVER (the food stamp President). You can’t argue or debate facts
I like that fact that all these Washington snakes “NOW” have a deadline or “CLIFF”. It’s amazing how well people cooperate when there is a gun to their elected heads. All Barry has to worry about now is his legacy not his not election.
I’m now a minority which gives me license to scream and moan and cry about everything; a white male (got to figure out how I can play some type of race card when I don’t have a valid argument)
Herman Cain would have been a “GREAT” President. I really miss Bill Clinton.

Lanivan

Horst - it's sad to me that your achievement of a MBA with a degree in Economics isn't enough to balance your distortion of the facts, your inherent biases and prejudices, and your apparent love of hate and fear-based drama. Your slippery slide into simplistic arguments regarding budgets, deficits, and entitlements without even a single attempt at putting them into some kind of reality-based context is quite off-putting. I hope you can find some peace of mind in the next 4 years. If the GOP can come to the table in a spirit of doing what's best for the country and not their old stand-by - intransigence and their allegiance to their party and Grover Norquist - I think we'll be ok.

horst

Thanks for the attack Laivan. Why can’t you give me some facts to rebut my facts, not just the a-typical liberal character assassination? How in your self-righteous mind can look past the facts that Obama is 50% or more to blame for our current situations (Oh, I forgot, blame Bush). He got very little done in his first 2 years with complete control over Washington (but that was his on-the-job training) and got nothing done after the 2010 election gut check. I agree, “If the GOP can come to the table in a spirit of doing what's best for the country and not their old stand-by” and Obama can put his legacy in front of his ego and become more Clinton-ish, maybe they can get something done. But ultimately whether in business sports or govt. it’s the CEO, Head Coach or President that must get the job done and stop blaming others and making excuses and their minions must do likewise.

The good news, he cannot become the worst president in my lifetime or recent history. That dubious distinction goes to Jimmy Carter.

FACTS DISTORTED???? $16 TRILLION IS A FACT!!! More people on food stamps than ever in the history of our country but yet Obama claims more new jobs...wake up Lanivan, these two metrics work in opposite directions i. e.: more jobs, less food stamps.

Oh, by the way, I had great employer paid health insurance and I was just informed Friday that I must now pay $131.50 every month to cover the Obama care increases, as stated by my HR department. Even at $131.50 it’s still a deal, so guess what, “OBAMA LIED” I’m middle class and just got a $1578.00 yr. tax increase. Call it what you want Lanivan but I’m getting $1578.00 less money next year.
You won, start acting like it

Lanivan

The reason I didn't give much in the way of facts is because I've been doing that for months and what I've found is that you Obama haters simply are not able to allow even so much as a sliver of light shine into the vast cave of your convictions. 1) Obama has achieved an astonishing amount in his first term, even with unprecedented GOP intransigence. It's the congressional Republicans who have spent millions of taxpayer money doing nothing for the economy but attacking human rights. 2) Obama governs right-center, not far left, upside down or inside out. 3) You've mentioned Clinton a number of times. Too bad the Republicans spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer money trying to bring him down. Look how that turned out. 4) I feel your pain, Horst, regarding your insurance premium. In our small business, we pay in excess of $1,400/month, and we're darn glad to have it. However, I feel it is misplaced. Could it be that your company was waiting in the wings to apply this increase, but waited until after the election with the subtle move of making ObamaCare the fall guy? Many major corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars rather than investing in their businesses....how does this factor in to this sudden need to lay off, cut back, and increase premiums? Obama is calling on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on the upper tax rates - with a top rate of the Clinton years. If your employer has chosen to use this as a reason to begin charging insurance premiums, take your anger out on your employer, not Obama.

Lanivan

Our only business president was Herbert Hoover, and we know how that worked out.

Bookemdano

Where is my FREE Obama phone????

Lanivan

You mean the Landline Program started by Reagan in 1984, expanded by Clinton in 1996, turned into a free cell phone with limited monthly minutes by Bush in 2008, paid for through fees to the phone suppliers by the FCC? Well, if that's what you're talking about, you have to be really,really poor. And, by the way, it's not an Obama phone, it's a Nokia. Sorry - didn't you hear? Obama-bashing is so pre-election. Grow up.

Vladtheimp

The spin - Lanivan The Reality - http://youtu.be/tpAOwJvTOio

Lanivan

Really?? The reality?? Vlad - you can be so disappointing at times. I do expect more from a Juris Doctor from Georgetown.

Vladtheimp

Why should my education cause me to ignore reality? A video is worth a thousand words. These are your fellow Obama voters, Lanivan, whether you like it or not. And if you wish to swap videos, remember that I have a target rich environment.

Lanivan

I would expect your education to enable you to recognize fact-based reality, reject the constraints of denial, and free you from your prejudices and biases. I saw this video months (years?) ago. It feeds and inflates your need to Obama-bash. The whole " free Obama phone" thing is bogus. Unless you picketed Reagan back in the 80's when he arranged the deal with the FCC. And as for being my fellow voters, he!! yes. We're all fellow voters in this mixed bag of a country. What are you insinuating? Oh yes, she's another one of your buddy Bill's moochers who want "stuff". She's the one you all want to suppress, right! What arrogance! What an alternative reality you live in! That attitude cost the GOP royally in this last election. Millions of us white folks stayed home. Why? How about the video of Rove stammering and sweating profusely as he realized 100's of millions of dollars spent pounding Obama with lies, distortions, misinformation, and propaganda were all for naught, or all those videos of skinheads and hate-filled birthers and their obscene tirades. Yes - you are so right - a video is worth a thousand words.

Vladtheimp

If you saw it years ago, you truly are in an alternate reality - see the date. I almost sympathize with your pathetic attempt to draw a distinction between you and the folks who support a candidate solely based on race. It's hard to ignore that reality!

Lanivan

I stand corrected. In my haste to rebut, I didn't make the distinction that I got the nasty forwarding e-mail at least a year ago, maybe 2. The video I saw and which you promote was a more recent entry into the significantly more altered and weakened reality of which we both accuse the other of living in....whew! Actually, my 2 votes for Obama were not race-based at all, more faith-based. I got my first degree from a black southern university - I don't see black like you and others might. I believe that the vast majority of women and non-white people are capable, responsible, intelligent, hard working, and reasonable citizens, not moochers, takers, loafers. I do admit to a developing prejudice against Tea Party folks, however.

Vladtheimp

1. I'm not promoting anything except reality - the video speaks for itself and it is not an outlier. 2. I hope your 2 votes for Obama did not occur in November, 2012. 3. I don't see "black" one way or the other - I would bet the farm that my experiences with black people far exceed yours in number, duration, and intensity. I do not think the majority of black folks are are moochers, takers, and loafers; having said that, from a reality perspective one has to separate the urban young from the remainder of the population.

Wingmaster

That's the beauty of Vlad...an intellectual with common sense. Must come from good midwest stock!

Vladtheimp

Thanks for the kind words, but I'm hardly an intellectual - just trying to be a realist. And my Midwest stock is actually, and proudly, Long Island, New York, which is suffering more than New Olans suffered while one Brownie got castigated.

Lanivan

Hey - my new neighbor next door is from Long Island.....O.M.G........Chuck - is that you??

Vladtheimp

Who is Chuck? Is your new neighbor from the North Shore? Has he/she worked landscaping for many years? Did he/she go to really integrated public schools? Are his/her/ friends and neighbors suffering far worse than the dependents in Katrina? Does your new neighbor know the difference between Seaford and Ronkonkoma? How about baymen and Long Island ducks (industry and hockey team)? Let me know and maybe he/she was my neighbor.

Lanivan

I will ask him when he returns (travels a lot in his work). He's around 47-48, and moved from Long Island as a child. Will get back to you. It would be neat if there was a connection - there does not seem to be many people in the area who come from LI, NY.

Vladtheimp

STAND UP CHUCK!

RenegadeX

Now THAT'S funny! What was I saying about serial buffoonery and Biden?

Wingmaster

Yes interesting tale of two storms isn't it. Where's Sean Penn when you need him!!

RenegadeX

An HBO series in the offing perhaps?

Lanivan

Aahhh.....Vlad's very own fan club!! Do you two have coffee periodically to gin up your arguments? I imagine you, damnyankee, and a few others all sitting around, plotting your next war campaign! Delightful......

Wingmaster

I assure you, we would not recognize each other if we passed each other on the street. Although we would all have a grand time discussing the next campaign. Incidentally, you and Vlad as neighbors would give us our own northern version of the Hatfield and McCoy's. LOL.

Vladtheimp

Maybe Londonderry vs. Sligo. . . .

Lanivan

Whatever. I would love to visit some day.

Vladtheimp

Me neighbor, or Ireland?

Lanivan

Ireland! I've traveled and loved my ancestral country of Britain and Scotland - Ireland and Wales would be wonderful.

Lanivan

The fun thing is that for all we know, we could be neighbors. It's not a terribly palatable thought, is it?

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