Washington: Barack Obama has won a second term as US president, defeating his Republican rival Mitt Romney in a closely contested battle that seemed almost close to call till the end. Obama, who four years ago was elected as the US' first African American President, won  274 electoral votes, four more than what was needed to win. As celebrations broke out across the country.

Obama Tweets

As soon as it became clear that he will be re-elected as US President Obama tweeted "Four more years." "We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you," said another tweet from Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother.

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Meanwhile, Republican Mitt Romney conceded defeat in the US presidential elections and congratulated Barack Obama for winning a second term in the White House.

Addressing a gathering of cheering supporters in Boston, he said he wished Obama and his family well. It was a "time of great challenges for America", Romney said, adding that he prayed that the "president would be successful in guiding our nation".

He also thanked his running mate Paul Ryan. "Besides my wife Ann, Paul is the best choice I ever made," Romney, 65, said."She would have made a wonderful first lady," he added.

Romney, who fought a tough fight that went down to the wire, said this was a "critical time" for the nation. We can't afford  partisan bickering, the Republican challenger to the White House told the crowds, many of whom appeared to be listening with tears in their eyes. "I believe in America. I believe in the people of America," he said.

Romney's speech came after the US media projected him as getting about 300 electoral votes, a comfortable victory from the magic figure of 270 needed to win. His wife, children and grandchildren came up on stage after the speech.

  • Barack Obama has a personal background like no other president in U.S. history. His mother, Ann Dunham, was a white woman from Kansas and his father, Barack Obama Sr., was a black Kenyan who saw little of his son after a divorce when the boy was a toddler. Obama spent much of his childhood in Indonesia and then Hawaii, where he lived with his maternal grandparents.
  • Obama struggled with his mixed racial background while growing up, writing in a memoir that he wondered "if something was wrong with me." He also was troubled by the absence of his father, whom he considered a "myth," and said that may have contributed to his use of marijuana and cocaine in his youth.
  • Obama graduated from New York's Columbia University in 1983 and worked in the business sector in New York and for a Chicago community group. In 1988 he went to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.
  • Obama's relationship with Congress has been problematic. Even when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate, Republicans often stymied his initiatives. The situation became more difficult when tax-averse Republicans took over the majority in the House in 2010.
  • In the early 1990s Obama worked in a voter registration campaign in Chicago, taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and joined a law firm that specialized in civil rights and neighborhood development. He married Michelle Robinson, whom he met at a law firm when he was an intern and she was assigned to be his adviser.
  • In his rare spare moments, the lanky Obama pursues his lifelong love of basketball with semi-regular games at an FBI gym. He also makes time for school functions and sports events of his daughters Sasha and Malia and tries to get out for an occasional "date night" with his wife.
  • Obama's political career began with his election to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and soared in 2004 when he gave a rousing keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. In November of that year he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • Obama won the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination by defeating Hilary Clinton, the former first lady and New York senator, and then took the presidency by beating Republican Senator John McCain. His energetic campaign was built on a theme of "hope and change" fueled by powerful oratory.
  • A mood of national optimism prevailed at Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009, which drew an estimated 1.8 million people to the National Mall in Washington despite bitter cold. He began his presidency with a 68 percent approval rating.
  • Obama simultaneously oversaw wars in Iraq, which he ended in 2011, and Afghanistan, as well as the U.S. military involvement in Libya that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi. In May 2011 he authorized the raid in which U.S. Navy SEALS killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan - a triumph he points to as indicative of a strong national security policy.
  • Obama inherited an economic crisis so persistent that it remains a threat to his re-election. Almost 800,000 jobs were lost the month he took over. In the early days of his administration, he pushed through an $831 billion economic stimulus package and renewed loans to automakers, even making the government a temporary part-owner of General Motors.
  • The centerpiece of his domestic agenda was the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform law better known as Obamacare. Its purpose is to give all Americans affordable insurance and more protections but critics say it is expensive federal interference. A key aspect of the reform - requiring most Americans to get insurance or pay a penalty - survived a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
  • Obama has a reputation as a charming communicator but he also is criticized for being aloof and not building better relationships with congressional leaders. Some have questioned his preparation skills, especially after a poor performance in a presidential debate with Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

Advantage Obama

Obama, who was elected four years ago on the plank of "real change", had a tough time answering questions on issues like unemployment and handling economic recession.
Opinion polls had given him only a slight advantage but the tackling of the after-effects of superstorm Sandy appeared to have given him some edge.
Romney's aides had hoped that a late wave in favour of the Republican candidate would oust Obama on account of a sluggish recovery from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s Great Depression and high unemployment.
The mood at Romney headquarters in Boston turned subdued after networks declared his rival the winner. Defeats in New Hampshire, Romney's summer abode, and Wisconsin, the home of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, were especially disheartening for the Republicans.

Polls also showed that though only 39 percent of people believed that the economy was improving, around half of Americans blamed former President George W Bush for the gloomy scenario, and not Obama.

Television networks projected that Republicans would win the House of Representatives, while the Democrats clung onto the Senate.



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