The 2012 presidential election finally came to an end Tuesday as President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term. Obama beat Republican nominee Mitt Romney, 303 electoral votes to 206 (Florida results have not yet all been counted), and also likely captured the popular vote.
Democrats, who maintained their majority in the Senate while Republicans kept theirs in the House, say this victory offers Obama the right to claim a mandate to pursue his agenda in the next four years. They argue it proves Americans see the benefit of the government in things like stimulus spending, the auto industry bailout, healthcare legislation, and federal response to disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
Obama didn't take the stage until the early hours of Wednesday morning in Chicago to give his victory speech, expressing his hope for the future of America. The president also emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in order for the government to continue tackling things like the country's economic challenges:
You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner, frequently a thorn in the side of Obama during his first term and leader of the Republican opposition, also stressed the importance of the parties working together to solve the issues facing the nation:
The American people re-elected the president, and re-elected our majority in the House … If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt.
The New York Times said that while Obama's re-election didn't show the country was united, the increasingly hard-line Republican positions on both the economy and social issues were simply not the majority views in America:
President Obama's dramatic re-election victory was not a sign that a fractured nation had finally come together on Election Day. But it was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, healthcare reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction—and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage.
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