Obama wins re-election with old coalition and Ohio boosting his candidacy

President faces daunting challenges, including a $16 trillion national debt and uncontrolled growth in the costs of Social Security and Medicare.
Wire
Nov 7, 2012

 

President Barack Obama won a second term Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney after a long and bitter campaign that revolved around questions of how to accelerate the economy and the proper scope of government.

Obama swept Ohio and the other battleground states, accumulating a solid majority of at least 303 electoral votes despite the nation's sluggish growth, high unemployment and partisan gridlock in Washington.

Obama held a slight lead in the national popular vote as of early Wednesday morning. Shortly before 1 a.m., Romney called Obama to concede.

In the last week of the campaign, Romney and GOP allies made a dramatic push for Pennsylvania, putting $11 million worth of ads on television, but Obama carried the state handily, along with New Jersey.

Obama won in large part by reassembling his coalition of young and minority voters. He had a huge advantage with Hispanics, the nation's fastest growing ethnic group, which was crucial to his winning Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.

It was fitting that Ohio, the most heavily targeted of the electoral battleground states, put the president over the top.

Four years after his historic election as the first African American president on a message of hope and change, Obama faces daunting challenges, including a $16 trillion national debt and uncontrolled growth in the costs of Social Security and Medicare.

The partisan makeup of Congress was projected to stay the same, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats the Senate. Already, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) said his caucus would not support a tax increase as part of any deal to close a $1 trillion deficit.

The results of the election will shape the nation's course in an age of austerity at home and peril abroad, between limiting the reach of the federal government and cutting expensive entitlements, or maintaining a safety net and spending more to stimulate the economy and bolster the middle class.

Romney and Obama had competing visions on taxes, federal spending, health care and foreign policy, notably how to respond to Iran's nuclear ambitions and what to do about the rising power of China.

Obama was fighting to avoid becoming the third incumbent in the past three decades to be denied a second term. Democrat Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Republican George H.W. Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992.

For all the sharp differences between Obama and Romney on broad principles, both of them were often vague on the details of their policy proposals.

Romney called for cutting income tax rates by 20 percent across the board and said he would offset the cost by eliminating tax breaks, but failed to specify which ones, as nonpartisan think tanks questioned the validity of his math. He also proposed overhauling the Medicare system so that, within a decade, beneficiaries under age 55 would receive a fixed amount of money from the government with which to buy either private health insurance or public Medicare-like coverage. But Romney declined to explain in detail how the new plan would work.

For his part, Obama never unveiled a detailed agenda for a second term, except to say that he would stop the harm to the middle class that he argued would come from Romney's approach, and promising, in general, to finish work left undone from his first four years.

During the campaign Obama said he wanted to overhaul immigration laws to provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, though he had failed to introduce legislation to do so in the first term. Obama also said he would spend more money on education and continue to invest in the development of alternative energy.

With a weak economy, and an unemployment rate approaching 8 percent, Obama began the election season in danger, his job-approval ratings well below 50 percent. After all, no incumbent since FDR had been reelected with unemployment higher than 7.2 percent.

So Obama and his team of strategists turned to making Romney unacceptable. They zeroed in on his record as founder and chief executive of the private-equity firm Bain Capital, attacking him in an early barrage of attack ads in battleground states as a vulture capitalist who profited from buying companies to drain them of their assets, lay off workers, and ship jobs overseas.

The image seemed to sink in, and it looked in September as if Obama was pulling away after a series of Romney missteps, including a video showing the Republican at a swank fund-raiser dismissing the 47 percent of the electorate that does not pay income tax as moochers with a victim mentality.

Then the game-changer: the first presidential debate Oct. 3 in Denver, when Romney offered a forceful critique of the president's record and blunted some of his more conservative positions as Obama stood by, listless. Romney began a slow and steady rise in the polls, nationally and in swing states.

In recent days, Obama stopped the erosion in his support as he led the federal response to super-storm Sandy in the Northeast. The storm consumed news coverage for a week, blotting out Romney and his message.

Exit polls found, not surprisingly, that the top issue on the minds of voters was the economy. While three-quarters of voters rated the national economy as "not so good" or poor, 3 in 10 said it was getting worse, while 4 in 10 said things were improving. Half of voters said former President George W. Bush was more to blame for current economic problems, while 4 in 10 said Obama was more responsible.

Fifty-one percent of voters in early exit polls said Romney would better handle the economy, while 47 chose Obama.

And yet those polls also seemed to ratify Obama's strategy of stressing class differences. Forty-three percent of those surveyed after voting said Obama's policies favor the middle class, compared with 10 percent who said they favor the rich and 31 percent who said they favor the poor.

As for Romney, 52 percent said he'd favor the wealthy with his policies, compared with 36 percent who said the middle class and 2 percent who said he'd tilt toward the poor.

Wendy Brockett, 51, a married mother of two from Doylestown Township in the swing county of Bucks, voted for Obama Tuesday, as she did in 2008. She said she is unhappy with the economy, but felt the president had been "dealt a pretty bad hand."

She added, "Romney would be good for people earning good money. We have to have a strong middle class and I feel Obama's plan has a better chance of making that happen."

Ohio, the state that became pivotal to the outcome, was particularly fertile ground for Obama. He was able to remind voters that he had saved the auto industry with a federal bailout of Chrysler and GM, which he championed. Romney opposed the deal, which became a liability in a state where one in eight jobs depend on the auto industry. Exit polls of Ohio voters showed that 59 percent supported the bailout.

Recognizing the threat, Romney began airing controversial ads in Ohio that suggested Chrysler was planning to move jobs from its Jeep assembly plant in suburban Toledo to China -- which the auto company, its competitor, GM, and independent fact-checkers said was false.

Chrysler is planning to open a plant in China to sell Jeeps there, but said it was increasing jobs in Ohio.

"It clearly backfired," said Philadelphia-based Democratic consultant Daniel F. McElhatton. "When people can say, 'We know this isn't true because we live it,' then anything else Romney said becomes a lie."

Obama also benefited, exit polls said, from a sizable advantage among women. The president's reelection campaign stoked that gap as the race tightened by hammering Romney's opposition to abortion rights and vows to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

___

By Thomas Fitzgerald - The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT) Inquirer staff writers Jennifer Lin and Kristen Graham contributed to this article.

(c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.philly.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

all fact or all...

Ok we are all americans and are in this together. The hate against this party or the other is out of hand. We will fall apart if that does not change.
I was in German for years in the military and , NOBODY overthere has the same hate or dissdain for each other they way we do, why? more civilized? what is it that we are so passionate and hate each other so much?... for what?... I cannot believe how divided we have become. A good christian believes all men are created equal. Christan or not when we walk into that poling station we have the right to vote for who we think is the best person. It's a two party system, We all can have our opinons, lets leave it there.

Dr. Information

@all fact. If all men are created equal, then why is 1/2 of this nation paying for the other half that doesn't want to work?

TFPONH

Ways to improve elections:
1) Eliminate anyone from buying elections as they tried to do in this election.
2) Evenly divide all political donations to have all candidates be able to debate, not just Republicans or Democrats.
3) Eliminate the Electoral College. This is corrupt and always will be.
4) Emiminate gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is no different than Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong or any other athlete using performance enhancing drugs.
5) Instil a true Democratic Republic. Having politicians voting on party platforms instead of the will of the people will only cause outrage. Also, voting on party platform intead of the will of the people causes corruption as the elected feel obligated to repay their supporters.

teiwaz

It's your own fault, guys. I've been TRYING to vote Republican for the last two elections, and who do you give me? Sarah Palin? Mitt Romney? Paul Ryan? Get the religious zealots out of your party and then come see me.

all fact or all...

And don't forget Donald Trump..Where would the repubs be with out him.

jack langhals

I tried all over the internet to find a Conservative Muslim,that went to college as a foreign student with a alias name,and was a traitor to his country.No luck !

rogerthat

Exactly. I remember Republicans and these guys are no Republicans!

Windy

The 47% may have just won, but ultimately our nation will be lost.

all fact or all...

Here are your takers:

Here are your 47% people that don't pay federal taxes!

Many are elderly

Many are poor--they pay payroll but don't make enough for federal (under 20,000.00) a year.

A few are rich:
While a majority of those who don’t pay income tax don’t do so because they are either elderly or don’t earn enough, there are “some exceptions to the old-or-poor rule,” says Roose. One big, rich exception: the roughly 3,000 members of the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers—they earned more than $2,178,866 in 2011—who paid no federal income tax

Many hail from conservative states :
Romney argues that the 47 percent he’s referring to in his sound bite will always vote for Obama, but, according to David A. Graham at The Atlantic, a disproportionate amount of those people actually reside in red states—which typically vote for Republican candidates. Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of people who pay no income tax, nine are red states

Some are young people and students

Darwin's choice

You've conviently forgotten to mention the 13 to 15 million illegals that are here bleeding the system, please post all the "percenters", not just the sensational! Nice cut and paste, by the way.

sanduskysteve

A lot of those illegals actually do work - and have payroll taxes - they also pay the same state and local taxes the rest of you do. But for this very reason there needs to be a re-investigation of HR25 - the Fair Tax Act and get the thing passed. It will solve the problem and eliminate any 47%.

Contango

@ sanduskysteve:

The second largest economy in the world (after the U.S.) is the black market - untaxed and unregulated.

The Fair tax? Ain't ever gonna happen. Mr. Obama and his ilk likes taxing the "rich" too much.

jack langhals

If the new ones are working, that trampled the flag,grabbed their testes and gave us the finger, in pictures, where are they working?we need to get those job opportunities out to the unemployed.

all fact or all...

Thank you, at leastI didn't open my mouth and just let stuff spew out, Google "who are the 47%" I am sure someone you know fits in one of these catagories.

Contango

@ all fact or all...:

News flash: Do you make over $47K annually? If you do you are in the richest 1% in the world.

You lucky dog.

all fact or all...

When asked Mr. Romney said he concidered people that made between 200,000.00 and 250,000,00 middle class, so NO! I am one of the poor people. You must make over 250,000.00 a year and are mad that you are in the tax range.

Dr. Information

@all...typical liberal mindset. Give me more of your hard earned money. You went to college...shame on you for making over 250K you evil, money hungry person. You are destroying our nation because you started a business and have things I cannot afford.

Greed is a bitch. Jealousy is her sister.

Kottage Kat

Praying for the RAPTURE. " Those who are not ruled by GOD will be ruled by TYRANTS" ----- William Penn.
Windy Totally agree. Here in Tibet at the Monestary all are praying. Hope to be back with all of you friends and foes soon. Sorry for spelling errors.
Kat

jack langhals

All minister's on the news this morning were saying this is the final sign of Revelation's before Christ's return.

betrump

I love it. Doom and Gloom! The End of the World! The Sky is Falling! You know what? We survived 8 years of Bush, the most incompetent and divisive President ever, so I'm sure you'll survive 4 more of President Obama. Time to put your big girl panties on.

Contango

@ betrump:

Good to know that you place your future in the hands of bureaucrats.

"Divisive"? The popular vote count shows a fairly even split.

"Survive"? Prosperity is much more desirable to merely surviving.

Not-to-worry: Watch the partisan fun of the upcoming fiscal cliff and the raising of the federal debt ceiling.

jack langhals

Your right, we will probably survive and be trillions more in debt.Are defenses will be cut and we will prop up every Muslim Country trying to prove they are working as a democracy.The Embassy Fiasco was a cover up for arms supplies,just as was the Mexican Cartel.In 4 years with a Lame Duck Congress,we won't pay the interest which was around 406 billion in 2006.

Contango

@ jack langhals:

Interest on the national debt was $454B in 2011.

Raising the debt ceiling (currently at $16.394T) will undoubtedly result in another credit rating downgrade which will hike the interest rate paid to our creditors.

China and other foreign countries who hold approx. 50% of our debt will demand a better ROI.

A $1T annual interest payment in the near future is not impossible.

All cuts will have to come from non-discretionary entitlement spending - the largest slice of our federal budget.

Gotta luv the clueless Obamasheeple who remain grossly ignorant about these and other serious fiscal issues and who 'somehow' expect Mr. Obama to be a fiscal magician.

Yea, taxing the rich will solve all the problems. LMAO!!!

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/go...

betrump

Instead, we should cut taxes for the wealthy again, and continue to give subsidies to big business. Because the less revenue you have coming in, the bigger your pocketbook gets. Makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

Contango

@ betrump:

"Give"?

So in your mind, all the wealth of a country belongs to the govt. and it's up to the bureaucrats to dole it out as they see fit?

In your dystopian Progressive society, how many means of production, resources and how much wealth should each peasant be allowed to privately own?

Do you think that the Progressives could succeed in creating the 'perfect' society where the Bolsheviks failed?

☭ FORWARD SOVIET! ☭

betrump

Sweden? Great Social Democracy. Welfare State. Private Capitalist Market. It works great, People are happier, healthier, and business is great. They're not the only social democracy that's working well, either. You think it's a coincidence they're all near or at the top of the HDI listings? You make it sound like a country that takes care of its citizens is a terrible thing, when you have such a biased, and uneducated world view. Expand your horizons a little bit. You might be surprised that the universe doesn't revolve around the US and the extreme market economy.

Contango

@ betrump:

A very poor argument and comparison in that you're using Sweden as a potential socio-economic model for the U.S.

There is nothing comparable in its demographics, political model, history, geography, etc.

You're of course free to move. And take the other collectivists with you.

betrump

And as a Libertarian, you're free to move to Somalia. I hear it's beautiful there this time of year. And all the guns you could want!

Contango

@ betrump:

"libertarian" small "l." A "Libertarian" is a member of the Libertarian Party - know the difference.

You mentioned Sweden as a model for the U.S. Unlike you, I do not endorse collectivism.

betrump

A libertarian is a libertarian. They all live in a fantasy world utopia that would never work in any society. But Sweden? Not even remotely Collectivist. Perhaps you should know the difference. Maybe I can help? http://geert-hofstede.com/sweden...

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