Obama wins re-election, looks to second term
President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night, and pledged that America can be more than “a collection of red states and blue states.”
Speaking to a wildly enthusiastic crowd in his hometown of Chicago long after midnight, a Stevie Wonder tune firing up the faithful as he appeared on stage, Obama recognized his supporters for “reaffirming the spirit” that transforms the nation.
“For the United States of America, the best is yet to come,” the president said.
He thanked those who “voted for the first time or waited in line [to vote] for a very long time.
“By the way,” he added, “we have to fix that.”
He said he looked forward to meeting his opponent, Gov. Mitt Romney, in the coming weeks to discuss how they can work together to move the country forward.
Looking to the future, Obama said Americans want good teachers, opportunities, a country that isn’t burdened by debt “or threatened … by warming planet.”
The president said elections can sometimes seem small, but he noted that the people who take part in them at the grassroots level seek changes in their lives and the lives of their families.
“That’s why elections matter,” he said. “It’s not small, it’s big.”
He said he looks forward to working with leaders of both parties to address the country’s problems
“I return to the White House more inspired and determined than ever,” he said.
Romney delivered his concession speech at 12:55 a.m. in Boston, wishing the president, the first lady and their daughters well.
“This is a time of great changes for America,” Romney said, “and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
He urged leaders of both parties to work together for the good of the country.
Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work,” he said.
In a close contest, the president won close but convincing races in battleground states such as Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Wisconsin. And he won a clear victory in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, with 90 percent of the vote reported, Obama led Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney with 52 percent of the vote to Romney’s 47 percent — 2.8 million votes to 2.5 million.
Obama wasn’t the only winner Tuesday. Historic ballot initiatives also went on to victory.
Maryland became the first state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot box, with Maine and Washington poised to follow suit. And Colorado voters legalized marijuana.
Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans kept control of the House.
Nationally, the president led in the popular vote early Wednesday morning by more than a million votes, with 54.7 million to 53.7 million for Romney. A narrow margin, but he won by a wide margin in the Electoral College with at least 303 votes to Romney’s 206.
In Allegheny County, with 98 percent of the vote counted, Obama trounced Romney with 57 percent of the vote to Romney’s 42 percent (327,240 votes to 238,679).
The Romney campaign was still not prepared to concede as of midnight, eying the the still-very close Ohio contest.
Stay tuned to the Chronicle for more details.