President Obama’s campaign, in adopting the “Lean Forward” campaign slogan, never really detailed how far voters were supposed to lean forward or that into which they were supposed to lean.
But for the campaign itself, which concluded a defiantly victorious night on Tuesday far earlier than expected when Obama was elected to a second term announced shortly after 11 p.m., it was clear: quite a ways forward, and into quite strong headwinds. An economy with 7.9 percent unemployment, waves of disappointment on a host of special-interest hot-buttons like climate and immigration legislation, a sense that the country had given the president his shot and was ready to move onto the next fellow.
Who happened to be Mitt Romney. As the map collapsed around Romney on Tuesday night, ominously early until it crumpled under the weight of Obama’s dominance, it became evident that voters weren’t willing to buy what Romney, the consummate businessman, was selling.
In Boston, Romney was gracious in defeat, calling for prayers for Obama's success in governing. And in Chicago, Obama delivered the stemwinder his backers had been awaiting all campaign, preaching bipartisanship and the hope for a new national trajectory. Those are the arguments you get to make when you put 303 Electoral College votes on the board.
GOP insiders expect the party to endure an ensanguined civil war as its ideologically insistent wing bucks against its moderates and, having watched two successive centrist-style nominees lose after a Bush presidency with which they were dissatisfied, forces a rupture. Repercussions could ripple up and down the ballot in an historic intraparty power struggle.
For Obama, the job returns from the campaign trail to the Hill, the fiscal cliff, and a still-Republican House and still-Democratic Senate. But, on Tuesday, the leaners broke his way, and more decisively than expected.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Analysis: How Obama Won
[National Journal, 11/6/12] The president avoided a referendum on his economic performance by defining Romney early on his wealth and his record of outsourcing at Bain Capital, writes NJ’s Beth Reinhard. The Obama campaign also benefitted from a surging Hispanic population and a superior turnout apparatus, while Romney blew high-profile opportunities with his gaffe-filled overseas tour and a lackluster convention.
Obama Promises New Optimism in Second Term
[Regional News Network, 11/7/12] Obama thanked Romney for his service to the country and told thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago early Wednesday that “For the United State of America, the best is yet to come.” He also said that despite portrayals of the campaign as small and cynical, it was about big issues and that he was “more inspired than ever.”
Romney Vows to Pray for Obama’s Success
[Reuters, 11/7/12] Nearly two hours after the major networks called the race for Obama, Romney conceded to the president by phone and spoke to supporters at 12:55 a.m. at his election-night event in Boston. He said he and running mate Paul Ryan had “left everything on the field” and that he would pray for the president’s success.
Networks Project Second Term for Obama
[New York Times, 11/6/12] CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC all projected Obama would win re-election. The president’s official Twitter account quickly posted: “This happened because of you. Thank you.”
Electorate Reverts to a Familiar Partisan Divide
[New York Times, 11/6/12] Obama held onto his liberal base, but men, political independents, Roman Catholics and suburbanites — who backed Obama four years ago — this time gave more votes to Mitt Romney, according to independent nationwide surveys of voters leaving the polls. The economy was seen as a crucial factor in the race.
Battleground States Bring Obama Second Term
[Wall Street Journal, 11/6/12] Despite anxiety over the state of the economy and the direction of the coutnry, Obama won in enough battlegrounds to secure a second term. After all sides spent a record $3 billion on the race, and Romney’s last-ditch efforts to expand the battleground map to Pennsylvania and Michigan failed, the final results were consistent with vast majority of polling conducted over the course of the campaign.
Four More For 44
[Politico, 11/6/12] Despite Republican buzz about a runaway Romney victory in the campaign’s final days, Obama’s narrow but persistent leads in key states held. By midnight, Romney appeared poised to put only Indiana and North Carolina back in the Republican column.
Obama Wins Colorado
[Denver Post, 11/6/12] With 1.6 million votes counted and Obama leading 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent, the Denver Post called the state for the president. Obama matched his 2008 performance in Denver County, and even improved his performance in some counties.
Obama Keeps Tight Lead in Florida with 95 Percent Counted
[Palm Beach Post, 11/6/12] Obama’s lead, now at about 55,000 votes, is inching up as the final wave of precincts report. The Orlando Sentinel reported that long lines meant that many polling places stayed open late, and if the thin margin holds, the state could be in for another recount. This time, though, the balance of power in the Electoral College will not depend on the result.
Obama, Democrat Maggie Hassan Win in NH
[AP, 11/6/12] Obama took the four electoral votes of Romney’s second-home state, where former State Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan won the governorship in a tight race with Republican Ovide Lamontagne. Despite the cold, voters in the state turned out early and in high numbers.
Obama Rolls up the Rust Belt
[AP, 11/6/12] Campaigning in Iowa began over a year ago, and went down to the wire. Ultimately Obama walked away with the state’s six electoral votes. In Pennsylvania, despite a last-ditch effort by the Romney campaign to make serious in-roads in the state, Obama took the state’s 20 electoral votes. The last Democrat to win the White House without taking the state was Harry Truman in 1948. In Wisconsin, Obama took 10 electoral votes, the seventh time in a row the state has voted Democratic for president. And in pivotal Ohio, Obama pushed reelection over the top.
Dana Milbank: Why I Voted Republican
[Washington Post, 11/6/12] The columnist who has been highly critical of Republicans comes clean: He voted for a Republican today – a write-in for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Opinion: Get Ready for Obama’s First Term
[National Review, 11/6/12] Stanley Kurtz writes it’s quite possible that America will “lose its distinct characteristics and be transformed into a Euro-style welfare state” and says the only thing that can stop that is a sweeping grassroots rebellion.
Mormon Press Office: Church’s Image Survived the Campaign
[Washington Post, 11/6/12] Ever since Romney began running for president six years ago, the Mormon Church’s press office has acted as the church’s frontline against media coverage that reflected badly upon, or wildly distorted, the church’s image. Now, finally, the office is breathing a sigh of relief.
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