For much of the night, it was one of the closest presidential elections in history, akin to Truman-Dewey in 1948, Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, and Bush-Gore in 2000. That’s the way the popular vote was playing out, but President Barack Obama took command in the Electoral College and captured the battleground states he had to have.
As of 10:30 pm, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, CNN and NBC News were among those declaring that the President would be re-elected in his long duel with Governor Mitt Romney.
Neither candidate ran away from the other in the first hours after the polls closed. Governor Romney did well, rounding up southern states and the heartland—from North Dakota down to Texas.
Obama, though, took hold in the northeast and collected major victories in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The gap in Florida, not quite in either competitor’s camp at press time, was as thin as a butterfly’s wing.
The Electoral College tally, according to msn.com was 290-200 for Obama, again, around 11:00. 270 is necessary to win. The nation waited for California—where the President was favored—to count its ballots, and when that was done, after most of the rest of the nation had totaled theirs, Mr. Obama pocketed 55 electoral votes. It was doom for the hopes of Mr. Romney.
The popular vote—which does not top the College in deciding a winner, and with 65% counted—was in the 90 million range, and the Governor led in this category by some 200,000 votes.
If Obama is indeed re-elected, it would mark a tremendous comeback in the eyes of some political observers. It appeared Obama’s Health Care program was highly unpopular with the majority of the country; the economy has been more down than up the last four years; the national debt is staggering. With all of that against the president, Governor Romney was waging a strong campaign, and he was at his pinnacle in the campaign during the first of three debates.
Obama was always close, though, helped along by Romney’s statement that implied he didn’t care about what 47% of the nation thought—he’d lose those ballots, anyway.
The President rallied to win the second debate. A loss there might have ended his chances to remain in the White House. The third debate was even. Nothing much happened in the final days.
The campaign seemed to go on forever—the long Republican primary and the tiresome-at-times, one-on-one confrontation. President Obama emerged first at the wire in the cross-country contest for the world’s most powerful—maybe toughest—job.
The U.S. House will remain in the hands of the GOP by a solid margin; the Senate will probably be Democratic, but not by much.
It is a night of triumph for President Obama, but he faces another four years of the most critical of all battles—trying to bring together a divided nation. It will be a mammoth challenge.