Obama’s eyes welled with tears as he thanked the people “who’ve given so much to this campaign over the years,” during a stop in Des Moines, Iowa, a place where his first campaign gained an early foothold in his first run for the White House.
“You took this campaign and made it of your own and you organized yourselves block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, county by county, starting a movement that spread across the country,” Obama said wiping away away tears three times as he talked. In North Carolina, first lady Michelle Obama exhorted voters to endure the expected long lines to vote on Tuesday, telling a Charlotte crowd: “Once you are in that line, do not get out.
Don’t get out. And the waits could be long. We need you to wait it out.”
Obama leads with narrow edge over Romney in Harts
The first results, by tradition, were tallied in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, both in New Hampshire, shortly after midnight (0100 a.m EDT). Obama and Romney each received five votes in Dixville Notch. In Hart’s Location, Obama had 23 votes to nine for Romney and two for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
The town in the state’s northeast corner has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960 but yesterday’s draw was the first in its history. The close presidential race raises the prospect of a disputed outcome similar to the 2000 election, which ended with a U.S. Supreme Court decision favoring George W. Bush over Al Gore after legal challenges to the close vote in Florida. Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have assembled legal teams to deal with possible voting problems, challenges or recounts.
Yesterday’s outcome will influence the direction of a government and country facing chronic federal deficits and debt as well as sluggish economic growth in the wake of a devastating recession and financial industry collapse that confronted Obama when he took office as the first African-American president in January 2009. Voters also will determine the makeup of a new Congress, choosing all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 senators.
Analysts expect Republicans to maintain control of the House and Democrats to keep their narrow advantage in the Senate. No matter who wins the presidency, the White House and Congress will face fresh pressure to legislate a comprehensive deficit reduction deal that has been stymied so far by intransigence on the issue of tax reform, with Republicans refusing to consider any kind of tax increase while Obama and Democrats insist on at least the wealthy paying a higher income tax rate.
Obama congratulates Romney for a hard fight
President Barack Obama congratulated Republican rival Mitt Romney yesterday for running a hard-fought race for the White House and expressed confidence he would win re-election during a stop at a local campaign office to thank volunteers on Tuesday. “I … want to say to Governor Romney congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today,” Obama said as volunteers made phone calls encouraging supporters to get to the polls.
“We feel confident we’ve got the votes to win, but it’s going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that we have that people fought so hard for us to have.” Obama made calls to volunteers from the campaign office to thank them for working for his re-election.
“I expect that we’ll have a good night, but no matter what happens, I just want to say how much I appreciate everybody who supported me, everybody who’s worked so hard on my behalf.” Opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although the Democratic incumbent has a slight advantage in several vital swing states that could give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the state-by-state contest.