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After grueling campaign, Obama re-elected for a second term

Todd Needle/Daily
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Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 7, 2012

CHICAGO — A few minutes past ten o’clock here, Chicago resident Lester Montgomery paraded down an entranceway at McCormick Place, bouncing up and down and waving his arms in the air upon hearing news that Barack Obama was the projected winner of the 2012 presidential election.

Montgomery and his wife, Toya, crying on his arm, had been waiting for hours at the Obama campaign’s election night rally. Now came the moment they had been hoping for, in which the incumbent prevailed, defeating Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In his victory speech, an impassioned Obama addressed the beaming crowd waving flags and cheering blissfully, and said that though the past four years have been challenging, the support of the American people on Tuesday is indicative of the promise of his coming term.

“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,” Obama said.

Obama’s re-election — coming after a campaign season in which the two candidates paved distinct choices for the country’s future — seemed to signify that despite waning support, the electorate still believes in the vision of change the president first laid out four years ago.

However, his victory was not as decisive as the historic 2008 presidential election. In the final month following the Oct. 3 presidential debate, Obama faced a nationwide surge by Romney and tightening poll numbers that threatened his hold on crucial swing states and his prospects for a coveted second term.

As of 4 a.m., Obama holds 303 Electoral College votes to Romney’s 206 according to the Associated Press, a margin significantly lower than his 385-173 victory over Senator John McCain (R–Ariz.) in 2008. However, the popular vote remains close, with Obama holding a slim lead of just 50 percent to 48 percent.

Despite the challenges, Obama clinched the electoral votes of swing states like Ohio and Virginia, both of which projected narrow margins throughout the evening after the polls closed. He also won early victories in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states that Romney singled out as late annexations to his electoral map, before Wisconsin, Nevada and Iowa also went blue.

In his concession speech from Boston early Wednesday morning, Romney told the crowd to put aside partisanship, as he stood before a banner bearing the words “A Believe in America”

“The nation, as you know, is at a critical point,” Romney said. “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

Romney’s defeat represented a sharp loss for Republicans, who touted the election as an opportunity to reverse the direction of the country over the last four years and to restore American values.

“I ran for office because I’m concerned about America,” Romney said. “This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.”

The defeat for Romney was especially bitter for some in Michigan, as the candidate is a native of Bloomfield Hills and the son of former governor George Romney, who served from 1963 to 1969.

Early returns in the state, after Oakland County became the first county to report its results, were promising for Romney. But strong turnout among younger voters and minority voters and Obama’s support for the auto bailout gave him an edge in the state, where he ultimately won by 5 percent according to the Associated Press.