WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama will continue to lead the nation for the next four years, according to CBS News.
After a polarizing contest where billions were spent, Obama went over the 270 electoral vote count after the president took Ohio.
Obama thanked supporters in an email following the victory.
“I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started,” Obama said.
Obama overcame a struggling economy and a high unemployment rate to win re-election over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
To say Obama had a roller-coaster first term is an understatement. Among his biggest moments during his first term:
He pushed his health care law through a divided Congress and had it survive a Supreme Court ruling; ended the Iraq War and announced the end of the Afghanistan War for 2014; ordered the mission to take out Osama bin Laden; bailed out financial institutions and the auto industry; ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; came out in support of gay marriage; and most recently faced scrutiny over developments of what the White House knew of the terror attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that cost the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Obama was elected the first black president in 2008, and four years later, Romney became the first Mormon to appear on a general election ballot. Yet one man’s race and the other’s religion were never major factors in this year’s campaign for the White House, a race dominated from the outset by the economy.
Over and over, Obama said that during his term the nation has begun to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. While he conceded progress has been slow, he accused Romney of offering recycled Republican policies that have helped the wealthy and harmed the middle class in the past and would do so again.
Romney countered that a second Obama term could mean a repeat recession in a country where economic growth has been weak and unemployment is worse now than when the president was inaugurated. A wealthy former businessman, he claimed the knowledge and the skills to put in place policies that would make the economy healthy again.
In a race where the two men disagreed often, one of the principal fault lines was over taxes. Obama campaigned for the renewal of income tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31 at all income levels except above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
Romney said no one’s taxes should go up in uncertain economic times. In addition, he proposed a 20 percent cut across the board in income tax rates but said he would end or curtail a variety of tax breaks to make sure federal deficits didn’t rise.
The differences over taxes, the economy, Medicare, abortion and more were expressed in intensely negative advertising.
Obama launched first, shortly after Romney dispatched his Republican foes in his quest for the party nomination.
One memorable commercial showed Romney singing an off-key rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Pictures and signs scrolled by saying that his companies had shipped jobs to Mexico and China, that Massachusetts state jobs had gone to India while he was governor and that he has personal investments in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Romney spent less on advertising than Obama. A collection of outside groups made up the difference, some of them operating under rules that allowed donors to remain anonymous. Most of the ads were of the attack variety. But the Republican National Committee relied on one that had a far softer touch, and seemed aimed at voters who had been drawn to the excitement caused by Obama’s first campaign. It referred to a growing national debt and unemployment, then said, “He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.”
More than 30 million voters cast early ballots in nearly three dozen states, a reflection of the growing appeal of a relatively new phenomenon.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)