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.
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



@ betrump:

Good to know that individual initiative, personal freedom and responsibility are dead in your regimented fascistic world.

So you 'seriously' believe that a socio-economic system that apparently works for a mere 9M homogeneous people can be imposed on a population of 315M that are culturally and ethnically diverse?

Reads like an argument for forced social engineering craziness. A third civil war anyone?

Enjoy the trip.

Dr. Information

actually our market has everything to do with everything on this planet.

jack langhals

I hear it is a great place for the young.Beer a plenty ,broads a plenty, limited laws and a fun place to live.We have a family member that visits periodically and gives us an update.You are right, we think we are the only people on earth that knows how to live.that is why we are in a war all the time,we go all over the world trying to impose our way of life on everyone else.if we'd mind our own business we would have saved many troops and be out of debt.



Dr. Information

@betrump. Should we close some loopholes in the tax code. Sure. But this country doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. You cannot keep relying on the middle upper to upper class to continue to bail this country out. It wont generate enough. Increasing taxes will crush small business owners. For every company grossing 1 million a year in annual sales, a 1-2% increase in taxes is a job that will get cut...bottom line. 1 million in annual take in for a business is not a lot. I know of small family restaurants that do that, I know of drive thrus that sell beer and wine that easily do that. Are they rich? Not by any means....most are middle class. There has to be reform of the #1 killer of this country.....welfare. Its out of control and until they get people off their ass and make them go back to work instead of living the life off the government, nothing will get fixed. Raising taxes to 100% of the top 10% of earners wont fix it. If you think taxes and price increases wont hit the middle class you are sadly mistaken. When business's are forced to provide healthcare through Obamacare, when business's that create jobs taxes go up, so does the price of their goods.

all fact or all...


Dr. Information

@betrump. Do you actually work?

Swamp Fox

The people receive the government they deserve.


We should not be surprised as our standards have diminished and our morals are on a downward spiral that will doom us as a nation. And I know I will receive a lot of comments from those who know nothing about what Gods Word says and thats Ok as the bible has forwarned me about the likes of those people. But to imagine that the majority of Americans could care less about our debt or about our President and the way he governs not paying any attention to our Constitution (4 years no budget) along with many other differences on the Constituion he just ignores, and his flat out lies about the Lybia attack and deaths of 4 Americans. I congratulate him on his win but really sad on the position of the American people and their requirements for a leader. Did you ever hear of Gods Wrath?

Dr. Information

Its easy to see those who get and like the handouts and don't pay federal taxes. Who is Obama and his supporters going to blame 4 more years down the road? Bush? Oh, no wait, you will blame Romney and Bain Capital. Handouts here they come, debt will hit 20 trillion in no time. Taxes...here they come on the rise. Obamacare will put this country on its knees....mark my word.


How's that ideological sand you've got your head in? Nice and warm?

Dr. Information

The Down down 300 points today. Looks like "business America" wasn't to happy with the election either.

all fact or all...

I am just happy to see the AMERICAN people won't let BIG money buy their President. Norquist didn't get his pen in the white house.


@ all fact or all...:

"Big money" didn't help put Mr. Obama back in the WH? What were all those trips to Hollywood and Wall St.?


The rich in DC are pullin' the wool over your eyes.

jack langhals

Most of them paid some big bucks to kiss his axx!


@all.....your post is comical. So Obama had zero big money supporters behind him in this election. Take your blinders off. You just simply do not get it and are so biased.

all fact or all...

No bias on your part is there? If I don't agree with you I am automaticly comical or wrong. Well Carl Rover and his billionaire friends are 300 million dollars lighter today, Like the bumper sticker read "Vote Democrat..We are not always right but, their nuts"

Dr. Information

You should learn to answer the question instead of spinning. I to find your comments a bit lopsided. Did Obama have big money as his major supporters during his campaign run? Yes or No?

all fact or all...

yup he did but most were @0 dollars, 50 dollar and other small amounts by hundreds of people not 300 hundred million by a bunch of million and billionairs to buy the white house. Take a look at the states where Romny did good, most all southern and mid western states not the states that drew up our constitution, the states where the civil war was fought. I can't believe the racest remarks on this forum are from residents of a town where I grew up. The majority spoke and I am moving on..over and out.

Dr. Information

Funny because 49% of Obama's super pac donors (no limit donations) were donors of 1 million +, while Romney's super pac donors of 1 million + was only 38%. You say Obama didn't get a bunch of big donations, but that statement is wrong, he did just that. Also, why throw out the race card? Nobody is talking about color, but its funny you bring up the constitution and then race. Many counties in Pennsylvania failed to even record a vote for Romney by one black person. The same went for quite a few counties in the Illinois and more specifically Chicago area. Reverse discrimination?


Yup, he won! Told you he would....lol!

jack langhals

He won,you lost !


Dont argue or respond to all fact or all...., Obama cannot do nothing wrong. Big money and people who are rich are evil, except when they donate to Obama, then they are cool and its all good. The problem is most conservatives know what they stand for.......liberals flip flop like a fish out of the water. Who will they all blame in 2016? Can't blame Bush, but liberals like all fact and a few others on here still will. The "I want more's" have won the election again. They want to see how much blood they can get out of people that pay taxes. Guns and ammo people, guns and ammo. Stock up now before its to late.


"Obama cannot do nothing wrong" Don't worry about Obama, you should worry about a G.E.D.


Never claimed to be an English major...........typing from my iphone with my large fingers seems to always end up with few words autocorrected to something I never meant to put. I have my Doctorate, but thanks for asking. Always a cut by you when you cannot win. How typical of the liberal mindset. Hope you feel better.

jack langhals

You better get your's.That comment isn't proper english.


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... yes! the handout is the opiate of the masses! ...


Comrades the rations lines start next week for toilet paper and caned goods,so get there by 530am it opens at 700am.I'll be hooking the horse to the cart to help you haul you goods to your homes. I only well ask for 2 rolls of paper 2 cans of food for my services.

Second Opinion

The press ignored reporting about this deficit until after the election.
I believe the entire industry is ran by Chris Matthews.

June of 2012 Forbes Magazine reported:
"President Obama’s own 2013 budget shows that as a result federal debt held by the public will double during Obama’s four years as President. That means in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined."

NOW this paper prints this news wire as if Obama is fighting the problem, while in fact HE CREATED IT.