TRIUMPHANT OBAMA TELLS US  » THE BEST IS YET TO COME  »

Triumphant Obama tells US ‘The best is yet to come’

US President Barack Obama won a second four-year term on Tuesday night, conquering the key states of Ohio and Wisconsin to edge out Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In his victory speech Obama said « he had never been more hopeful about America ».

Barack Obama won a second term as the president of the United States on Tuesday night, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney in an extraordinarily tight race.

In the end Obama easily secured the 270 electoral votes needed for victory despite suggestions the weak US economy would derail his re-election bid. With Florida’s results not yet declared and its 29 electoral votes still unclaimed, Obama stood on 303 votes compared to Romney’s 206.

The result delighted Democrat supporters, thousands of whom packed into a convention centre in Chicago to hear Obama’s victory speech.

As he entered the stage along with his wife Michelle and his two daughters Sasha and Malia, the crowd acclaimed him with chants of « four more years ».

« The best is yet to come »

He told them the future was bright for America.

“In this election the American people reminded us that while our road has been hard and our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up and fought our way back,” Obama said.

“We know in our hearts that for the United States the best is yet to come.”

Obama said he was returning to the White House “more determined and more inspired than ever”.

“I have never been more hopeful about the future and never been more hopeful about America,” he added.

The president also paid tribute to his defeated rival after their “fierce battle”, saying he looked forward to working with Governor Romney “to move this country forward”.

Ohio once more proved to be America’s « bellweather state » in a tight contest that saw the two rivals separated by a few electoral college votes when the race was finally called.

Obama’s advantage in that state appeared to seal his victory, after wins in the swing states of Winsonsin and Iowa.

Shortly after victory was confirmed Obama took to Twitter to declare « Four more years », and published a photo of himself embracing First Lady Michelle Obama. Within minutes it became the most re-tweeted message in the short history of the micro-blogging site.

The incumbent also thanked his supporters: “We’re all in this together. That’s how we campaigned, and that’s who we are.”

Obama may have knotched a comfortable victory in the state-by-state electoral vote system that decides the race for the White House but the popular vote count remained extremely close.

Obama took about 50 percent to 49 percent for Romney after a campaign in which the candidates and their party allies spent a combined $2 billion.

Romney concedes

His Republican rival for the White House conceded defeat around one hour later in a phone call to the president congratulating him on his victory.

In a gracious speech Romney said it was time to put partisan politics aside « for the good of the American people ».

« This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation, » Romney told supporters.

Obama became the second Democrat to win two consecutive terms as president since the end of World War Two. Former president Bill Clinton, who campaigned heavily on Obama’s behalf, won his own re-election bid in 1996.

But the president’s second term is likely to be marked by more gridlock over legislation after the Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives.

The Democrats, however, did manage to keep control of the Senate with initial results suggesting they may have even increased their majority after snatching several key seats out of Republican hands.

Obama powers back in swing states

The first vote projections by TV networks showed the state of Kentucky and its 8 electoral votes side with Romney, while the small northeastern state of Vermont (3 votes) went to Obama. Romney enjoyed an early lead as the first poll results trickled in, but tallies for key battleground states reversed that trend.

Pennsylvania — despite Republicans’ claims that they would steal away the state — was comfortably won by Obama. New Hampshire, another key swing state in past elections, was also taken by the president.

Wins for Obama in the swing states of Wisconsin and Iowa revved up Democratic supporters gathered at the president’s campaign headquarters in the city of Chicago, before the announcement of victory in Ohio sparked wild cheering.

With the Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio hat trick, the suspense surrounding the elector-rich state of Florida was erased. Even if Romney went on to win the battleground states of Florida and Virginia, his presidential bid was doomed.

There were few surprises elsewhere. Both Obama and Romney took the states that analysts predicted they would safely capture. Obama won the West Coast state of California, while Romney took Texas.

WMAGAZINEWORLD / JANBOLAT KHANAT

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