As Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, sealed, delivered’ serenaded the cheering crowd in Chicago, US President Barack Obama walked on stage and promised his citizens that “the best is yet to come”.
In an election that got pundits divided as to its likely outcome, Obama surged ahead after trailing in both the Electoral College votes and popular vote to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to clinch a second term at the White House.
“Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward, it moves forward because of you,” said Obama. “The result reflects the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise and fall together as one nation and as one people.”
“I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding fathers, the idea that if you're willing to work hard; it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, or what you look like or where you love; it doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight; you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
Obama also congratulated Romney on “a hard-fought campaign.”
Romney was ahead in Electoral College votes for much of the night; and also had a slight edge in the popular vote. However, that lead eventually slipped away and Obama led by nearly a million votes.
Virginia was the final state to be declared for Obama early this morning, giving him 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.
In the U.S., the popular vote does not decide who wins the election. Rather, the winner of each state gets that state’s Electoral College votes, and 270 are needed to win.
Romney conceded victory to Obama in his early morning address to his supporters at his campaign’s headquarters in Boston.
“I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory,” he said. “His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. Paul and I have left everything on the field...I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes and lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader."
However, Obama will once again face the challenge of leading the country with a divided Congress, as Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans maintained their hold over the House of Representatives.