‘We believe in generous, tolerant America’ says Barack Obama
That was the message from United States President Barack Obama shortly after he was re-elected for another four years.
Obama defeated his challenger Mitt Romney about 5pm Wednesday afternoon (NZ time), when most major media outlets declared he had won the state of Ohio, following a lengthy campaign for the White House.
The president’s Twitter account soon posted a photo of Obama and his wife Michelle hugging under the caption “Four more years” soon after the announcements.
In his victory speech, Obama said America has earned four more years due to all of the hard work of his campaigners.
“Whether you voted for the very the first time or waited in line for a very long tim,” he told supporters at his campaign headquarters in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and millions watching on television.
“Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard, and you made a difference.”
Obama said he will be sitting down with Romney over the next few weeks to see where they can work together.
“The best is yet to come,” he added, after walking on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha to boisterous cheers.
“Despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.
“We will disagree about how to get there. Progress will come in fits and starts. But the common bond is where we must begin.”
President Obama finished his speech by saying: “We are more than just a collection of red states and blue states, we are the United States of America.”
As Obama’s victory was declared, Romney was leading in the nationwide popular vote.
However, Obama had secured victory in the crucial swing states, giving him enough Electoral College votes to secure the win nationally.
The Romney campaign initially refused to concede Ohio, saying that with the gap between the two candidates only 1500 votes, it was too close to call.
However at 6.50pm (NZ time), Mr Romney called President Obama to concede defeat.
Romney then delivered a concession speech to his supporters in Boston, congratulating the President for his victory, and thanking his campaigners for their hard work.
Romney’s speech was positive and conciliatory, twice saying that he would pray for the president.
Romney said he and his vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, “had left everything on the field”, but still had words of advice for Obama.
“It’s time to end partisan bickering and political posturing and reach across the aisle.”
Romney said it was “time to put people before politics”.
While polls before today’s vote indicated an extremely close race, Romney was only able to add North Carolina and Indiana to the list of states won by Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.
Re-election for President Obama makes this the first time that three consecutive presidents have been re-elected to a second term since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe were elected between 1800 and 1820.
The United States has a two-term limit on presidents, meaning that Obama will not be able to stand for re-election in 2016.
In the hours since Obama’s victory was declared, he has taken the lead in the nationwide popular vote.
If Obama wins with less than 52.87% of the popular vote, he will be the first US President re-elected for a second term since Andrew Jackson with less percentage of support in his second term.