UPDATE: President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election
Barack Obama captured a second White Housel term, blunting a mighty challenge by Republican Mitt Romney as Americans
voted for a leader they knew over over a wealthy businessman they did not.
Obama, America's first black president, easily captured the 270 electoral votes needed for victory and further cemented his place in American history Tuesday with a victory, despite having led the country through its most difficult economic times since the Great Depression in the 1930s, a time of stubbornly high unemployment and anxiety about the future.
The win for the Democrat also reflected Americans' suspicions about Romney, who had a history of shifting positions to keep pace with the increasingly hard right political stands of his Republican party.
``This happened because of you. Thank you'' Obama tweeted to supporters as he celebrated four more years in the White House.
After the costliest campaign in history (and one of the nastiest in recent history) divided government seemed alive and well. Democrats retained control of the Senate with surprising ease. Republicans were on course for the same in the House, making it likely that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Obama's partner in unsuccessful deficit talks, would reclaim his seat at the bargaining table.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, led narrowly in the popular vote, with 47.5 million votes, to 47.3 for Obama with votes counted in 70 per cent of the nation's precincts. But Obama's laserlike focus on the battleground states allowed
him to run up a sizeable margin in the competition for electoral votes, where it mattered.
The president is chosen in a state-by-state tally of electors, not according to the nationwide popular vote, making such ``battleground'' states (which vote neither Republican nor Democrat on a consistent basis) particularly important in such a tight race.
Obama won Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada, seven of the nine battleground states where the rivals and their allies poured nearly $1 billion into dueling television commercials. Romney was in Massachusetts, his long and grueling bid for the presidency at an unsuccessful end. Obama had retreated to his home on the south side of Chicago. Of the nine battleground states, Romney captured only North Carolina. The final swing state, Florida, remained too close to call.
Polls were still open in much of the country as the two rivals began claiming the spoils of a brawl of an election in a year in
which the struggling economy put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions.
No U.S. president since Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s had run for re-election with a national jobless rate as high as it is
now: 7.9 per cent in October.