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Obama Wins Re-Election With Romney Defeated in Key States

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Barack Obama, the post-partisan candidate of hope four years ago, who became the first black U.S. president, won re-election by overcoming four years of economic discontent with a mix of political populism and electoral math.

“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 said in his victory speech in Chicago. “We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”

Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, winning at least 303 electoral votes in yesterday’s election with 270 needed for the victory. With one state -- Florida -- yet to be decided, Romney had 206 electoral votes.

The president faces a partisan divide in Congress, with Republicans retaining their House majority while Democrats kept control of the Senate, and a looming fiscal crisis of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to begin next year unless a compromise is reached.

"This is a time for great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said in a concession speech in Boston, where he had watched returns with family and friends. He called Obama to concede and offer congratulations shortly before his remarks.

“At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering,” Romney, 65, said in a speech that lasted less than five minutes. “We have given our all to this campaign.”

Throughout a volatile Republican nominating contest, Obama’s political team never wavered from the view that its eventual opponent would be Romney, a former private equity executive whom they would portray as an out-of-touch embodiment of moneyed privilege and heartless capitalism.

Even before the Republican primary contest ended, as the public was still forming impressions of Romney, Obama and his allies began a campaign to define their opponent.

By summer, they inundated battleground states with commercials featuring layoffs at companies purchased by Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital LLC, as well as his Swiss banks accounts and tax returns showing how he took advantage of breaks not available to most middle-income taxpayers.

Romney didn’t counter with his own aggressive effort to establish an identity with voters as he focused his campaign on turning the election into a referendum on persistent high joblessness. The unemployment rate under Obama exceeded 8 percent for 43 months, the longest period of such high joblessness since the start of monthly records in 1948.

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