Obama? Romney? Americans decide after long campaign

2012-11-07 00:59:23 GMT2012-11-07 08:59:23(Beijing Time)  SINA.com
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney smiles as he speaks to a U.S. Secret Service agent before boarding his plane in Bedford Mass. Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney smiles as he speaks to a U.S. Secret Service agent before boarding his plane in Bedford Mass.
President Barack Obama calls out to people outside a campaign office in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, after a visit with volunteers on the morning of the 2012 election. (AP Photo)President Barack Obama calls out to people outside a campaign office in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, after a visit with volunteers on the morning of the 2012 election. (AP Photo)

U.S. president Barack Obama won Vermont and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney countered with Kentucky Tuesday in a duel for the White House shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment that crimped middle class dreams for millions.

Romney led in the early popular vote by a margin of 63 percent to 35 percent, unsurprisingly so since many of the early reporting precincts were from reliably Republican Kentucky and Indiana.

In the competition for electoral votes, where the outcome will be decided, the challenger had 8, Obama 3, with 270 needed to win the White House.

Voters also chose a new Congress to serve alongside the man who will be inaugurated president in January, Democrats defending their majority in the Senate, and Republicans in the House. Eleven states picked governors, and ballot measures ranging from gay marriage to gambling dotted ballots.

In the presidential race, an estimated one million commercials aired in nine battleground states where the rival camps agreed the election was most likely to be settled — Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. They accounted for 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, and they drew repeated appearances by the 51-year-old president and Romney, 65.

Romney raced to Ohio and Pennsylvania for Election Day campaigning and projected confidence as he flew home to Massachusetts to await the results. "We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful," he said, adding that he had finished writing a speech anticipating victory.

Obama made get-out-the-vote calls from a campaign office near his home in Chicago and found time for his traditional Election Day basketball game with friends. Addressing his rival, he said, "I also want to say to Gov. Romney, 'Congratulations on a spirited campaign.' I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today." Romney, in turn, congratulated the president for running a "strong campaign."

Other than the battlegrounds, big states were virtually ignored in the final months of the campaign. Romney wrote off New York, Illinois and California, while Obama made no attempt to carry Texas, much of the South or the Rocky Mountain region other than Colorado.

There were 33 Senate seats on the ballot, 23 of them defended by Democrats and the rest by Republicans.

The GOP needed a gain of three for a majority if Romney won, and four if Obama was re-elected. Neither Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada nor GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was on the ballot, but each had high stakes in the outcome.

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.

More than 30 million voters cast early ballots in nearly three dozen states, a reflection of the growing appeal of a relatively new phenomenon.

(Agencies)

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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