OBAMA WINS – takes key battleground states


Barack Obama was decisively re-elected Tuesday as the president of the United States of America.

He emerged at his Chicago headquarters at 1:35 a.m. Wednesday to claim victory in a hard-fought campaign with Republican rival Mitt Romney. Forty minutes earlier, Romney conceded defeat in what was for many an unexpectedly early conclusion to a tense race.

“We are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation,” he said. “… And we know that in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”

Obama said he looks forward to meeting with Romney “to talk about where we can work together.” And with his supporters cheering and waving flags, he thanked re-elected Vice President Joseph Biden.

In a short, emotion-tinged concession speech at his headquarters in Boston, roshe run femmes Romney also spoke of the importance of working together across party lines. “This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said.

Obama won in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Nevada and Iowa – all closely contested states. He was leading in Florida.

With about 79 percent of precincts recorded,each candidate had 49 percent of the popular vote; Obama led by about 500,000 votes.  But Obama was prevailing by a wide margin in electoral votes, projected to have at least 303. The winner must have 270. Four years ago, Obama had 365 electoral votes and 53 percent of the popular vote.

Obama will have the immediate task of managing finding a way out of “fiscal cliff” that could lead to huge spending cuts and tax increases, dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions  and – a concern for New York voters – speeding the recovery following Hurricane Sandy.  This comes  in addition to  facing the challenges of an economy still recovering from recession, ever-deepening concerns about the rising budget deficit and America’s increasingly complicated role in a changing world.

For almost his entire term, Obama had to defend his actions against very resistant congressional Republicans, ranging from his signature healthcare reform to his setting of a deadline for a withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan. He had to walk the tightrope of being able to justify these policies as best for the country, while also making sure that he didn’t suffer politically for pushing forward such controversial proposals.

Coming out of a contentious and protracted Republican primary, Romney faced the always difficult task of unseating an incumbent. He was helped by a stagnant economy that ranked as the issue that voters were worried about the most. He pointed to his business background, saying it made him particularly equipped to face this challenge. However, he was often scrutinized for his ever-changing positions and contradictory remarks regarding a wide variety of issues. Democratic advertising assailed his business experience, trying to portray him as out of touch with everyday people.

With the unemployment rate staying above 8 percent for most of Obama’s term, the state of the economy became an opportunity for  Romney to offer a clear counterpoint. His selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, a noted conservative stalwart on the issues of taxes and deficit spending, signaled his support for the conservative agenda on these issues.

Romney was no stranger to controversy. There was perhaps no bigger example than a secret recording of a speech that he had given to high-priced campaign contributors in a private event in Boca Raton during the summer. He described “47 percent” of Americans as being overly dependent on the government and representative of the flaws of a country that was becoming too much of a welfare state.

The pairing of Romney and Ryan offered little experience in foreign policy, typically a strong point for Republican presidential candidates.

Obama emphasized his withdrawal of active troops from Iraq and more famously, his decision to launch a special operations raid into Pakistan to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in May, 2011.

Both sides attacked each other through the use of various political action committees, known as Super PACs.  Obama and Romney’s campaigns raised a billion dollars each, an unprecedented sum for a national election.

It would not be until the presidential debates during the month of October that the candidates faced each other.

With Obama leading in most polls up to that point, the first debate was deemed a must-win for the Romney campaign, and to most political observers it was. He appeared to have a grasp on the issues and was forthright in his statements. The president on the other hand looked disinterested.

Obama re-asserted himself over the course of the last two debates, despite being criticized for his handling of a new crisis in the Middle East.

On Sept. 11, terrorists had apparently attacked an American consulate in the city of Benghazi in Libya and killed four of its staff, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The attacks coincided with protests throughout the region that were aroused by an Internet video that voiced inflammatory statements about Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

Initially the Obama administration conflated the protests with the attack, roshe run flywire with different agencies and departments offering differing conclusions.

When a voter asked a question regarding the incident at the second debate, Romney saw an opportunity to charge that the president’s statements were inconsistent, disagreeing that Obama had early on called the incident a terrorist act. Obama calmly denied the accusation and referred to the record that he had indeed called it an “act of terror.” Eventually the moderator Candy Crowley interceded and confirmed that the president had indeed said that.

Ultimately, the foreign policy positions of the candidates were more similar than different. Both said they would t continue drone attacks, withdraw from Afghanistan and stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

It is on the issue of the economy where they differed, with the president favoring increasing taxes on high earners and maintaining social programs such as Medicare and Social Security.   Romney and Ryan preferred to lower those taxes while instituting cuts to government programs in order to manage the budget deficit.

The suddenness with which Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast just a week before the election is an example of how crises can erupt with minimal warning. The president, no matter the party, must be able face those challenges, while at the same time, being wary of the threats and dangers that are visible on the horizon. Obama benefited when one of Romney’s chief supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, praised his handling of the disaster.

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