Barack Obama has been elected to a second term as President of the United States. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has conceded the race, and wished Obama a successful term in his concession speech.
“We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you,” the president wrote on Twitter shortly after the projection was reported.
In his acceptance speech, Obama praised the American spirit that helped the country unify and overcome its darkest hours, and said he would work with Republicans to move on and achieve their common goals.
Obama thanked all those who voted on Tuesday, and those who helped his campaign. He said he is returning to the White House more inspired than ever, and pledged to realize the vision of a prosperous, technologically superior, well-defended and inspirational America.
In his concession speech, Romney thanked his supporters and called for national unity during a particularly difficult moment in America’s history. He said the country cannot afford partisan division, and wished Obama a successful term.
More than 80 percent of votes have been counted across the United States. Obama won about half of the popular vote, beating Romney by roughly one percent point. His victories in several of the country’s most populous states earned him 303 Electoral College votes, compared to 206 for Romney.
Major media outlets first called the race for Obama after news broke that he was ahead in Ohio, a crucial swing state. Ohio is a bellwether state in US presidential elections. No Republican candidate has made it to the White House without winning this state. For the last 12 elections, this swing state went to the winner of the national race.
Obama won other crucial states, including New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. The only battleground state Romney took is North Carolina. Votes in Florida are still being counted, the state is expected to go to Obama.
Romney refrained from speaking to the media immediately after news broke of Obama’s projected victory. A number of GOP staffers were reportedly shocked that so many states had voted for Obama.
Blue lights lit up the top of the Empire State Building to mark Obama’s reelection.
Obama had another victory besides beating Romney in the popular and electoral votes. He beat pop star Justin Bieber’s Twitter record for the most re-tweeted message of all time. He wrote, “This happened because of you. Thank you,” a message that was retweeted 298,318 times in 30 minutes. The previous record was for Bieber’s message “RIP Avalanna. i love you,” which had 223,376 retweets.
In addition to securing America’s highest office, Democrats are also slated to retain control of the Senate. They won three seats in the upper legislative chamber, and are expected to hold 53 out of the 100 total – a majority of the chamber.
Republicans will maintain their majority in the House. The GOP won 227 of the chamber’s seats, compared to the Democrats’ 178, with 30 still up for grabs. The current composition of the legislative body is split 193 to 242 between Democrats and Republicans, respectively.
The economy and, more specifically, unemployment were at the heart of the 2012 presidential race. The Romney camp threw out the perennial “are you better off than you were four years ago?” litmus test established by Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter in 1980, to which the electorate voted “yes”.
Obama argued there had been 32 straight months of job growth under his tenure, with 5.4 million new jobs being added during that time. He also lowered taxes on middle-class families making $50,000 a year. He claimed his bailout of the US automotive industry saved 1 million jobs, an argument that likely had considerable sway over autoworkers in battleground states like Ohio and Michigan.
He also pledged that his national healthcare plan would keep people with preexisting conditions from being denied coverage. He also claims “Obamacare” will cut the deficit by over a trillion dollars over the next two decades and reduce healthcare costs in America.
Obama was carried a sizable six to eight point lead over Romney among women in the run-up to Election Day, likely because of his stance that a woman’s healthcare choices were between her and her doctor. He also supported women’s fight against pay discrimination in the workplace, by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
He was viewed to be strong on national defense, bringing an end to the Iraq War, setting a 2014 troop withdrawal deadline for Afghanistan, and bringing Osama Bin Laden “to justice.”