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...

I just for the life of me don't understand why most of the people posting on here aren't in Washington DC fixing all these problems since most of you think you have all the answers. Move on people, Obama won the electorial and the popular votes. Just thinking out loud. That makes you the minority group.

arnmcrmn

You are right. The minority is now the working class. The freeloaders are taking the system over.

betrump

And yet every vote for the GOP is a vote against the working class.

Contango

@ betrump:

The House passed over three dozen pro job and economic pieces of legislation. All DOA in the Senate.

betrump

Oh, please...

Dr. Information

That is a pretty bold statement to make. Way to lump everyone into the boat. Where are your "facts" that voting for the GOP is against the working class. I see it the other way. Many Republicans are working class citizens and many whom of which own their own business. 1 in 5 Americans are now on welfare......highest ever. What has this administration done to get people off their butt and back to work. Jobs are there, but nobody wants to work for 30K when they can get 60K a year from the government and not lift a finger. Where is the motivation? There isn't any. Take your glasses off for a second, its going to get worse, just wait and see. I'll be fine, my job isn't going anywhere. I feel bad for the middle class and the poor. With the way things are going, they are going to feel the squeeze the most, and it will hurt.

Contango

@ all fact or all...:

Why would those of us who believe in limited govt. want to be in the capital of the kleptocrats?

This is a representive govt. not a dictatorship.

Mr. Obama's early formative years were not spent in this country. How many Fourth of July parades did he see in Indonesia?

His distain and lip service for its traditions is very much on display.

jack langhals

Yea,break down the popular vote,I am glad i am not one of them!

topsyturvy1

At least Big Bird is O.K.......

Contango

IMO, an interesting article on where to invest in light of Mr. Obama's re-election.

Health ins. cos., home builders, mobile communications.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story...

Contango

Mr. Axelrod done good.

The simple fact is: A national version of the Chicago Democrat political machine got out the vote and won.

If crony capitalism, featherbedding, ghost payrolls, corrupt judges, political payoffs, et al, is good enough for Chicago, it's obviously good enough for the U.S.

Study Chicago-style politics to help you understand the U.S. under Mr. Obama.

Enjoy your man-crush; he’s a puppet for the real masters.

On the other hand, Mr. Obama is a mere lightweight compared to Boss Daley.

As his reward, his handlers let him play golf, glad hand and enjoy the good life while playing president.

http://www.bookrags.com/Boss:_Ri...

arnmcrmn

The only upside to this election is that the house of Rep is retained by the Republicans. Thanks be to God, because if Obama had control of the entire white house again....I'd hate to think where we would be in 4 years.

betrump

Umm...Obama DOES have control of the 'entire white house.' In fact, he controls all the bureaucracy of the executive branch. He's even the Head of State, and the Commander in Chief! I even hear he's gonna do it all while being black, too.

Dr. Information

The house retained the majority of the House of Representatives......hopefully they can stall out anymore senseless spending.

TheGravyWhisperer

...when the results came in, that old familiar phrase came to mind... you know... the one that rhymes with - "clucking bell..."

jack langhals

Maybe we jumped to conclusions on the Health Care Bill.The penalty can never be more than the cost of a Bronze health care plan purchased thru state exchanges.The CBO estimates them to be $4500-5000 per person and $12,000-12,500 per family in 2016 with the costs rising each year.

So basically your penalties of your income will be at these levels.
Less than $9500--0 $9500--37,000income=$695/ $50,000income=$1000/ $75,000=$1600/ $100,000 income=$2250/ $125,000=$2900/ $150,000=$3500 /$175,000=$4100/ $200,000=$4700
The IRS will collect the penalty and can not enforce it,they have to sue you.You will only have to pay no more than twice the Penalty.So employer that has
to pay for employees have to calculate the cost versus the penalty.

Dr. Information

Just wait till the Bush tax cuts expire and everyone is paying more in taxes....yeah thats right, everyone that has a job is going to see a hike.

Contango

@ Dr. Information:

The 16th Amend. originally only applied to the "rich."

The Social Security tax originally only applied to the "rich."

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) originally only applied to the "rich."

Seems to be a pattern...

So when some dumb politician says that he/she only wants to "tax the rich," everyone should hang onto their wallet.

BTW: Extending Mr. Obama's payroll tax cuts will be very difficult as it's adversely affecting the funding of the Soc. Security "trust fund."

TheGravyWhisperer

...well, it appears that the liberals have cleverly figured out that the 'handout' is the opiate of the masses; misdirected, easily swayed individuals willing to quid pro quo their vote for a handout...

...there seems to be an ever increasing supply of social takers surging forth within our country and into our country...

...what used to be the mightiest freedom train in the world is now headed for the railyard of social mediocrity...

jack langhals

This is just a FYI,that great Bozo you re elected,that bowed to the Saudi King,they teach in their schools that Christians are Swine and Jews are Apes.So when they come to cut your head don't come crying.

betrump

The same guy Bush was holding hands with while going on a stroll? Where was the outrage then?

Contango

@ betrump:

Men holding hands is a custom.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/0...

betrump

fyi, here's a link to Reagan bowing to a foreign head of state. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j...

Contango

@ betrump:

Even the WH was hard pressed and lied to come up with an explanation on why Mr. Obama bowed to King Abdullah.

And you think that you know the answer?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

betrump

I personally don't give a damn. I'm glad they can show one another respect instead of arrogance. It's the right wing nuts that are making such a big deal out of it, and I'm simply, once again, reminding you all of your hypocrisy.

Contango

@ betrump:

You write that you don't care; yet you play the game of moral equivalency.

Your responses reek of hypocrisy.

postman 67

Please go to youtube.com and watch (When Mitt Romney came to town) Full version. You guys that supported Mr. Romey need should watch this 28min video. I'm not a Obama fan but he was the better choice.

Dr. Information

Taxes are on the table to expire, debt ceiling will be on the table again and we will raise it to 18+ Trillion. I say let all the tax breaks expire and watch everyone turn against Obama because everyone that works will feel the effect of it, not just the so called "rich".

Contango

@ Dr. Information:

Old saying: Leopards don't change their spots.

IMO, WHEN (not "if"), the economy goes south, the "Blamer-in-Chief" will dodge and weave and the "saved" will forgive him.

Obamanomics is: Borrow, tax, print and spend. Expect more of the same disease of deficit spending as the cure.

Public spending saved the private sector during the financial crisis. Who will save the public sector when the next credit crisis comes to town?

"The question is only whether one should continue expansionism until the final collapse of the whole monetary and credit system or whether one should stop at an earlier date.

The sooner one stops, the less grievous are the damages inflicted and the losses suffered."

- Ludwig von Mises, "The Economic Consequences of Cheap Money."

arnmcrmn

The Messiah has spoken and the people have bought into it. What have they bought into? The idea (and false at best) that anyone who makes 250K and over are the ones to blame for our mess and they are the ones who will be punished by higher taxes. All those evil, greedy people who make gobs of cash, dictate the world and don't work hard to earn their money. Yup, the masses have bought into it. So the next time you see a person who had the balls to open a successful business, or the next time you visit your local Dr or lawyer or for the sake of speaking, any decent business.....slap them on their face and ask them "how dare you, you our country into this mess". Then put out your hand and demand money on the spot.

Just ignore welfare or entitlement programs. SHhhhhhhhhhhhh, they aren't breaking this countries back............please believe this.

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