Obama wins election for second term as president

President Barack Obama handily defeated Gov. Mitt Romney and won himself a second term Tuesday after a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states. Networks project that Obama beat Romney after nabbing the crucial state of Ohio.

The Romney campaign's last-ditch attempt to put blue-leaning Midwestern swing states in play failed as Obama's Midwestern firewall sent the president back to the White House for four more years. Obama picked up the swing states of New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio. Florida and Virginia are still too close to call, but even if he won them, they would not give Romney enough Electoral College votes to put him over the top. Romney looks poised to do better in the overall popular vote.

The Obama victory marks an end to a years-long campaign that saw historic advertisement spending levels, countless rallies and speeches, and three much-watched debates.

President Barack Obama grabbed an advantage in the earlier race for the White House late on Tuesday with wins in key swing states that limited Republican challenger Mitt Romney 's path to victory as U.S. voters decided between two starkly different visions for the country.

Obama's wins in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire - all states that Romney had contested - put pressure on the Republican to score victories in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, three battleground states where the race remained too close to call.

At least 120 million American voters were expected to decide between the Democratic incumbent and Romney after a long, expensive and bitter presidential campaign centered around how to repair the ailing U.S. economy.

If the trend held up, Obama looked poised to win a second four-year term faced with a difficult task of tackling $1 trillion annual deficits, reducing a $16 trillion national debt, overhauling expensive social programs and dealing with a gridlocked U.S. Congress that looked likely to maintain the same partisan makeup.

In the state-by-state battle to get to 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency, Obama and Romney piled up early victories in the states they were expected to win easily.

Early vote-counting in the swing state of Florida showed them running neck-and-neck. Obama led in the critical battleground state of Ohio and Romney held the lead in a third swing state, Virginia.

Romney needs all three of those states to navigate a narrow path to the presidency, while Obama could afford to lose one or two of them and still win a second four-year term in office.

The Republican's chances were hit by Obama victories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as New Hampshire.

Romney last week visited Wisconsin, home state of his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, and had stopped in Pennsylvania earlier on Tuesday in hopes of pulling off a surprise win there. He has a vacation home in New Hampshire and his last campaign rally was there on Monday night.

In a victory that also limited Romney's path to a victory, Obama won Michigan, the Republican's state of birth but where he ran afoul of voters by opposing an auto industry bailout pushed by Obama. Some polls had shown a tight race there.

Television networks projected Romney the winner, as expected, in Republican states Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Indiana. He was declared the winner in Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Obama was projected the winner in the Democratic strongholds of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and his home state of Illinois, as well as Washington, D.C.

Here's a cute observation from the social media area: Each time polls close in a set of states, the phrase "Stay in Line" spikes on Twitter. Photo: Twitter

A general view of the Empire State Building and the skyline of Middle Manhattan from Hoboken, New Jersey, November 6, 2012. The Empire State Building is lit in blue and red to display the presidential race's projected tally of the states' 270 electoral votes on a vertical, LED-lit screen. The blue lights represent vote tallies for U.S. President Barack Obama and red for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Photo: Reuters


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