Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2014

Currently: 66° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

President wins second term after a bruising campaign

Image

Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 | 8:55 a.m.

Democrats Election Night Party in Las Vegas

Larry Edwards cheers as early returns come in favorable to President Obama during the Nevada Democrats' election night party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 at Mandalay Bay. Launch slideshow »

GOP Election Night Party in Las Vegas

Dorothy Abate of Las Vegas puts her head in the hands after hearing the election called for Barack Obama during a GOP election night watch party at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Obama wins re-election; Romney concedes

President Barack Obama is shown at his Election Night party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Launch slideshow »

Election Night 2012 Across the Country

Supporters of President Barack Obama Shauna Harry, left, and Alana Hearn celebrate by leaping in the air at New York State Democratic Headquarters following Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected president of the United States on Tuesday, overcoming powerful economic headwinds, a lock-step resistance to his agenda by Republicans in Congress and an unprecedented torrent of advertising as a divided nation voted to give him more time.

In defeating Mitt Romney, the president carried Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin, a near sweep of the battleground states, and was holding a narrow advantage in Florida. The path to victory for Romney narrowed as the night wore along, with Obama winning at least 303 electoral votes.

A cheer of jubilation sounded at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago when the television networks began projecting him as the winner at 11:20 p.m., even as the ballots were still being counted in many states where voters had waited in line well into the night. The victory was narrower than his historic election four years ago, but it was no less dramatic.

“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,” Obama told his supporters early Wednesday. “We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”

Obama’s re-election extended his place in history, carrying the tenure of the nation’s first black president into a second term. His path followed a pattern that has been an arc to his political career: faltering when he seemed to be at his strongest – the period before his first debate with Romney — before he redoubled his efforts to lift himself and his supporters to victory.

The evening was not without the drama that has come to mark so many recent elections: For more than 90 minutes after the networks projected Obama as the winner, Romney held off calling him to concede. And as the president waited to declare victory in Chicago, Romney’s aides were prepared to head to the airport, suitcases packed, potentially to contest several close results.

But as it became increasingly clear that no amount of contesting would bring him victory, he called Obama to concede shortly before 1 a.m.

“I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters,” Romney told his supporters in Boston. “This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”

Hispanics made up an important part of Obama’s winning coalition, preliminary exit poll data showed. And before the night was through there were already recriminations from Republican moderates who said Romney had gone too far during the primaries in his statements against those here illegally, including his promise that his get-tough policies would cause some to “self deport.”

Obama, 51, faces governing in a deeply divided country and a partisan-rich capital, where Republicans retained their majority in the House of Representatives and Democrats kept their control of the Senate. His re-election offers him and Vice President Joe Biden another opportunity that will quickly be tested, given the rapidly escalating fiscal showdown.

For Obama, the result brings a ratification of his sweeping health care act, which Romney had vowed to repeal. The law will now continue on course toward nearly full implementation in 2014, promising to significantly change the way medical services are administrated nationwide.

Confident that the economy is finally on a true path toward stability, Obama and his aides have hinted that he would seek to tackle some of the grand but unrealized promises of his first campaign, including the sort of immigration overhaul that has eluded presidents of both parties for decades.

But he will be venturing back into a congressional environment similar to that of his first term, with the Senate under the control of Democrats and the House under the control of Republicans, whose leaders have hinted that they will be no less likely to challenge him than they were during the last four years.

The state-by-state pursuit of 270 electoral votes was being closely tracked by both campaigns, with Romney winning North Carolina and Indiana, which Obama carried four years ago. But Obama won Michigan, the state where Romney was born, and Minnesota and Pennsylvania, three states that Republican groups had spent millions of dollars trying to make competitive.

Americans delivered a final judgment on a long and bitter campaign that drew so many people to the polls that several key states extended voting for hours. In Virginia and Florida, long lines stretched from polling places, with the Obama campaign sending text messages to supporters in those areas, saying: “You can still vote.”

Neither party could predict how the outcome would affect the direction of the Republican Party. Moderates were hopeful it would lead the rank and file to realize that the party’s grass-roots conservatism that Romney pledged himself to during the primaries doomed him in the general election. Tea Party adherents have indicated that they will argue that he was damaged because of his move to middle ground during the general election.

As he delivered his brief concession speech early Wednesday, Romney did not directly address the challenges facing Republicans. His advisers said that his second failed quest for the White House would be his last, with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, standing as one of the leaders of the party.

“We have given our all to this campaign,” said Romney, stoic and gracious in his remarks. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country in a different direction.”

The results were more a matter of voters giving Obama more time than a second chance. Through most of the year slight majorities of voters had told pollsters that they believed his policies would improve the economy if they could stay in place into the future.

Obama’s campaign team built its coalition the hard way, finding and motivating supporters who had lost the ardor of four years ago and, Obama’s strategists feared, might not find their way to polls if left to their own devices.

Up against real enthusiasm for Romney — or, just as important, against Obama — among Republicans and many independents, their strategy of spending vast sums of money on their get-out-the-vote operation seemed vindicated on Tuesday.

As opinion surveys that followed the first debate between Romney and Obama showed a tightening race, Obama’s team had insisted that its coalition was coming together as it hoped it would. In the end, it was not a bluff.

Even with Obama pulling off a new sweep of the highly-contested battlegrounds from Nevada to New Hampshire, the result in each of the states was very narrow.

The top issue on the minds of voters was the economy, according to interviews, with three-quarters saying that economic conditions were not good or poor. But only 3 in 10 said things were getting worse and 4 in 10 said the economy was improving.

Romney, who campaigned aggressively on his ability to turn around the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, was given a narrow edge when voters were asked which candidate was better equipped to handle the economy, the interviews found.

The electorate was split along partisan lines over a question that has driven much of the campaign debate, whether it was Obama or his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, who bore the most responsibility for the nation’s continued economic challenges. But about half of independent voters said that Bush should be held responsible.

The president built a muscular campaign organization and used a strong financial advantage to hold off an array of forces that opposed his candidacy. The margin of his victory was smaller than in 2008 — he held an advantage of about 700,000 in the popular vote early Wednesday — but a strategic firewall in several battleground states protected his Electoral College majority.

“Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you, and you made me a better president,” Obama said in accepting victory. “I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”

As Romney gained steam and stature in the final weeks of the campaign, the Obama campaign put its hopes in one thing perhaps above all others: that the rebound in the auto industry after the president’s bailout package of 2009 would give him the winning edge in Ohio, a linchpin of his road to re-election.

Early interviews with voters showed that nearly 6 in 10 Ohio voters approved of the bailout, a result that was balanced by a less encouraging sign for the president: Almost 4 in 10 said they or someone in their household had lost a job over the last four years.

The strong early-voting program was central to Obama’s performance in Ohio. He defeated Romney 52 percent to 47 percent in Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, but only because of the amount of votes he banked in the month leading up to Election Day.

Obama won despite losing some of his 2008 margins among his key constituencies, including among younger voters, blacks and Jewish voters, yet he appeared to increase his share among Hispanics and Asians. Early poll results showed Latinos representing about 1 in 10 voters nationwide and voting for Obama in greater numbers than four years ago, making a difference in several states, including Colorado and Florida. He held on to female voters, according to preliminary exit polls conducted by Edison Research, but he struggled even more among white men than he did four years ago.

Romney’s coalition included disproportionate support from whites, men, older people, high-income voters, evangelicals, those from suburban and rural counties, and those who call themselves adherents of the Tea Party – a group that had resisted Romney through the primaries but had fully embraced him by Election Day.

The Republican Party seemed destined for a new round of self-reflection over how it approaches Hispanics going forward, a fast-growing portion of the voting population that senior party strategists had sought to woo before a strain of intense anti-illegal immigration activism took hold within the Republican grassroots.

It was the first presidential election since the 2010 Supreme Court decision loosening restrictions on political spending, and the first in which both major party candidates opted out of the campaign matching system that imposes spending limits in return for federal financing. And the overall cost of the campaign rose accordingly, with all candidates for federal office, their parties and their supportive “super PACs” spending more than $6 billion combined.

The results Tuesday were certain to be parsed for days to determine just what effect the spending had, and who would be more irate at the answer — the donors who spent literally millions of dollars of their own money for a certain outcome, or those who found a barrage of negative advertising to be major factors in their defeats.

While the campaign often seemed small and petty, with Romney and Obama intensely quarreling and bickering, the contest was actually rooted in big and consequential decisions, with the role of the federal government squarely at the center of the debate.

In Chicago, as crowds waited for Obama to deliver his speech, his supporters erupted into a roar of relief and elation. Car horns honked from the street as people chanted the president’s name.

“I feel like it’s a repudiation of everything the Republicans said in the campaign,” said Jasmyne Walker, 31, who jumped up and down on the edge of a stone planter in a downtown plaza. “Everybody said that if he lost it would be buyer’s remorse — that we were high on hope in 2008. This says we’re on the right track. I feel like this confirms that.”

Michael Cooper contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 43 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Congratulations President Obama!

    It's now time to use your bully pulpit and brow beat the Grand Obstructionist Party. You have received a mandate from the American people on your policies and you admitted one of your faults was a failure to keep the American people informed. You need your cabinet speaking the facts on your policies constantly on every news network.

    Time to pass the President's public infrastructure jobs bill.

    If the Republican's refuse to compromise on the fiscal cliff"make it clear daily who refuses to compromise and hold firm to allowing Bush's tax cuts to expire on those making more than 250K.

    If you hold firm and keep the public constantly informed you will be rewarded with a Democratic House and Senate in 2014.

  2. The final vote should be a 6 to 8 point win.

  3. Congratulations to the President and all his supporters...

    it looks like a great night overall for the Dem's!

    Unfortunately, it appears as though Mr. Romney & his supporters are going to be, shall we say...less than gracious losers; SHOCKING!

  4. The people have spoken and we got it right--again.
    Congratulations to President Barack Obama.

  5. Well done America, well done.

    QSS

  6. Congrats George W. Obama, you lost the election and still get to be president.

  7. Congratulations President Obama and Vice President Biden on your re-election!

    Mr. Romney showed both class, dignity, and graciousness in his concession speech. He had very positive messages in it for many segments of our country. I am happy he didn't diminish himself by trying to fight results.

    Now, hopefully, there will also be an end to obstructionism and the beginning of some bipartisan work on behalf of our nation.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    I cannot help but notice that some huge gambling entities lost their enormous bets.

    Sheldon Adelson
    Steve Winn
    Wall St.

  8. teamster,

    You were right! ;-)

  9. Mitt Romney gave a gracious concession speech...
    I wish his supporters would follow his lead.
    Continued hand-wringing & teeth gnashing & 'Obama bashing' will not win the day.
    Time to give Barack Obama big-time props; he's won the Presidency of America...TWICE.

    tomD1228...
    Remember those 'R' polls that had lil' Tark with a BIG lead against Senator Horsford?

    A BUNCH of Political 'Pollsters' have been outed as FRAUDULENT today; we should all take notice of them!

    Fox in particular has egg ALL OVER their faces...
    what an abject failure of political punditry!

    lil' Tark is now '0 for 4' in political races; time to give it up!

    Congrat's to Congressman Heck...
    I have NO IDEA how he does it; but the peep's have spoken.

    I wonder...
    is Hank Jr. on 'suicide watch' tonight?

  10. Please do not underestimate the power of truth, no matter how much you camouflage it. Deep within ourselves is that power. If we listened to it, it will not steer us wrong. Despite the din of speeches, accusations, and half-truths, truth always prevails, and it has spoken.

  11. Peacelilly and Kepi:

    Here's to you both! Cheers!

  12. Jeff, Teamster, Sam, Gmag, Vernos, LongtimeVegan, Antigov, and all those who took time to tell the truth:

    Keep going. We need to break through amid all the suppression. Remember:

    "Never doubt that a small thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." .......Margaret Mead

  13. The GOP did surprisingly well after branding 47% of the general population as moochers and another 40% category as sluts.

  14. GoRebels, this is for you:

    You are still young and you need years and years to learn. Saying Democrats NEVER tip, NEVER do good deeds, etc. shows your limited frame of reference.

    Go out there and find out about life. Then, after a few years, come back here and redeem yourself.

    LEARN MORE.

  15. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  16. "Nah, ur one of the "ole white men" she's talking about!

    ....and Nancy Navarro Agustin is a minority. Big deal. Race should never be a factor in deciding who to politically support. Calling republicans a bunch of old white men was disappointing and disrespectful.

  17. Dude:

    Sadly, I do not make that much. How about close to $30,00 less. And, I have a doctorate degree! I do like teaching - a lot. Enough to sustain me amidst ignorant attacks. My rewards are enormous. They are now in place to make change possible. They just elected Obama.

    I did NOT call all republicans white old male. I have many friends who are Republicans and they are awesome. What I said was Big time contributors are white old rich men as in Koch bothers, Adelson, and corporation owners. The ones that are bringing down the ideals of the Republican party and caused its defeat.

    Yes, I have a broad frame of reference. More than you ever would. I was born colored; I am an immigrant; I have lived in various cultures in various countries; and I have probably read more books than you ever would. I have been rich and I have been poor. I was a republican and now a democrat. I have been married and now single. I have been the boss and have been a peon. I am a Catholic and now simply Christian, I have four children and have taught for a hundred years. I have been trough hell and back.

    Now, give me your qualification. It's your turn.

    Good luck to you.

  18. DJIA is dropping like a stone..and gold is going up
    The Wall Street Journal has a ticker and it is ticking like the US Pop Clock..

  19. ASadTeacher,

    Are you sure you make $30,000 or less? When you type in your name, Nancy Agustin, in the search it shows your total compensation, including benefits, was $82, 571 in 2011. A PHD making $30,000 or less??? Perhaps transparentnevada has bogus data.

    http://transparentnevada.com/

  20. America is in line to have over 12 million more jobs in the next 4 years and I am delighted to know that Rommney cannot claim not even one of those as his work.

    The Republicans could have won if they would have had a plan that had details to it! Plans shrouded in mystery are ones to be wary of.

    I hope the Republican party will now purge it's self of the cancer eating away at it's base called the tea party, This group hijacked the brave acts of persons long ago and are promoting them selve's as the same group to fight the civil rights fight 40 years later.

    Two years straight all I heard on this thread from those promoting the tea party agenda was "Wait until November 2012" we will clean house and take full control. Or "77% of the people don't want this Obamacare" Well I guess You all are misinformed. But it's not entirely your fault I too have put a lot of faith in people and later learn that I too was mislead and I learned from it, I learned to diversify all data and then make an INFORMED decision before I act or speak. And if I'm wrong I can say I'm wrong.

    Oh yeah I almost forgot to Mr. Mitch McConnell You have failed sir on your agenda to make sure Obama was a One term President.

  21. Congratulation's to all the Dem's who won.
    Let's see, The pres. won the National popular vote, the electoral college, gained a couple of seats in the Senate, gained a couple of seats in the House, and moved a few of the Tea Party out of their seats.
    The best laugh of the day is all the WHINING from the right(wrong). Some of the usual suspects are missing today. I guess they're still in the bar drowning their sorrows. Now let's take the House in 2014!!!!!!

  22. The icing on the cake for me is knowing that Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers gave 100's of millions to the mainstream media they hate.

    Fox News has been reduced to preaching to the choir and their 4 year effort to smear the President failed. (Most every economic indicator has IMPROVED since Obama took office on 1/20/09)

    Senator Reid needs to hold to his promise and change the senate rules forcing filibusters to be carried out on the floor. Let the Republicans make fools of themselves speaking for days" showing who really has held up the full recovery...obstructionist Republicans.

  23. @ NOTACON please post a link I want to Seeee it.

  24. First the bad news

    1. Our nation has turned into more than 50% TAKERS. This was established in 2008 and re-validated in last nights election.
    2. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul...... until the money runs out
    3. Republicans will never again hold the White House (see #1 & #2 above)
    4. Mitt Romney lost
    5. Obama Won

    Now the good news

    1. Those of us who are MAKERS are going to watch the economy stagnate for 4 more years. (Obama still doesn't know what to do)
    2. We get to listen to Biden spew idiotic functionally illiterate statements on a hourly basis.
    3. The concept of "Atlas Shrugged" is closer than you think.

  25. Here is how much more you will pay that Obama was elected:
    Gas: Expect $5 gas. Obama said himself that $5 gas was needed to cut consumption and to get people to ride bikes and take buses, so he'll impost higher fed taxes on gas or a carbon tax to get it to $5 or higher during his second term. I guarantee this.
    Food: Expect inflation to hit food and everything else delivered by trucks because of the rise in gas.
    Taxes: Here are the Bush Tax cuts that Obama vows to end:
    Tax Brackets - The 10% tax bracket will expire, reverting to 15%, which would apply to all incomes below $34,550. The 25% rate would rise to 28%, the 28% rate to 31%, 33% to 36% and the 35% bracket would go up to 39.6%.
    Marriage Penalty - The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly will be eliminated, no longer a standard deduction double what it is for single filers.
    Child Tax Credit - will fall from $1,000 to $500
    Phase Out Personal Exemption -- The phase out was gradually eliminated over time, if no extension is passed the phase out will resume at incomes over $122,500.
    Tax rate on qualified dividends and capital gains will rise.

    What? You thought he was only going to raise taxes on the rich? WRONG! Making $34,000 is barely getting by and you're taxes are going up!

    This is just the beginning. To try and get back the 5 trillion of our tax money he and Bush gave the banks so that they could gamble on the stock market, triple their money while not lending to anyone, and enable them to give their exec's million dollar bonuses for the past 4 years, he will have to take money from the rich, from the middle class, and from the poor and that won't help because I predict the financial sector will run into problems again and Obama will again throw trillions of tax dollars at them to try ans save off a banking melt-down. This is so predictable. Enjoy!

  26. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  27. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  28. Nancy,

    Cheers to you too! Keep on posting your great posts.

  29. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  30. Congratulations to Pres. Obama, V.P. Biden, their campaign staff and volunteers. People all over the world are celebrating our huge victory which has proved the GOP cannot win by lying, bullying and fearmongering, nor by buying and rigging elections, nor by voter suppression and intimidation. For once, hate lost, big-time. Moreover, the hysterical, meanspirited and threatening comments here and elsewhere by the rightwing sore losers prove they would rather ruin the economy of the USA than admit their mistakes, and work together with all Americans to build a brighter, safer and healthier future for all Americans and the world. If they cannot face reality, change their tactics and rid themselves of extremism, exclusionism and corruption, the GOP will soon be extinct.
    To the sore loser commenters speaking of bailouts, your candidate, Mitt Romney and Bain Capital took $10-15 million of auto bailout money for themselves, then closed the Delphi factories. Romney and Bain caused the loss of at least one hundred thousand American jobs, and took the workers' pensions, making Romney's lies on the auto bailout even more disgusting. The rightwing is now clamoring for Romney to be appointed the head of Pres. Obama's new dept. of business. I hope Pres. Obama disregards that nonsense for the trojan horse it is, and hope that the vulture-capitalist scoundrel Mr. Romney consoles himself with his ill-gained fortune, retires from politics and fades into irrelevancy along with Limbaugh, Rove, Coulter, Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, Huckabee, and the rest of the Fox News propaganda monster that was unleashed upon us by the unAmerican Rupert Murdoch.

  31. Lets all come back to this post in 4 years and talk about it ok?

    Health and Wealth 2016? or Down and Out 2016?

    Health and Wealth - all Obama
    Down and Out - Still bush's fault

    It's so predictable it's almost scary.

  32. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  33. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  34. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  35. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  36. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  37. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  38. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  39. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  40. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  41. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  42. I think the 47% comment, evangelists, dressage, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and the fact that he was getting information from unreliable sources, namely Fox News, cost Mr. Romney the election. It's really quite tragic for the Republicans.

    Good luck Mr. President!

  43. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic