CHICAGO -- After fighting a fiercely partisan reelection battle, President Barack Obama promised in his victory speech early Wednesday morning that he would reach out to leaders of both parties to resolve the challenges facing the country.
“We may have battled fiercely but its only because we love this country deeply and we care about its future,” said Obama, of the battle he and his opponent Republican Mitt Romney waged against each other. Obama said that in the coming weeks, he would look forward to “sitting down” with Governor Romney “to talk how we can work together to move this country forward.”
The 51-year-old 44th President, a Democrat, was reelected to another four years, after winning Ohio and six other swing states to surpass 270 electoral votes. Although his opponent Mitt Romney already conceded the election, as of early Wednesday morning votes were still left to be counted in Florida, where Obama led Romney by about 45,000 votes out of a 8.27 million votes cast with about 99 percent of the votes counted.
Long lines plagued polling stations across the country, causing concerns among voters’ rights groups that the sometimes hours-long wait to vote would deter voter participation. In Miami Dade County, there were reports that some were waiting up to six hours to vote. Obama acknowledged the problem in his victory speech, bluntly saying, “We're going have to fix that.”
During his 20-minute speech, Obama suggested that the sometimes trite and bitterness of campaign politics and the stark ifferences in opinion, reflected the beauty of America’s imperfect democracy.
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“Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy, messy and complicated, we have our opinions each of us has deeply held beliefs, and when we make decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs up passions, stirs up controversy, that won’t change after tonight and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.”
His speech was optimistic, suggesting that America would continue a path of economic and social improvement. The president said he would build bridges with all Americans, whether they voted for him or not, to achieve certain goals---reducing the deficit, reforming the tax code, fixing the immigration system and “freeing ourselves from foreign oil” dependency.
Obama emphasized America’s diversity, as being one of the country’s greatest assets. “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth." He dismissed the notion that race, age, economic status or sexual orientation should play any role in one’s ability to achieve success in the United States.
Obama thanked Vice President Joe Biden and then to his wife Michelle Obama, he declared in front of the raucous crowd, “Michelle, I have never loved you more and I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as the nation’s First Lady.”
He also thanked his volunteers and campaign workers whom he called “the best ever.” “With your stories and your struggles,” he told them, “I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is in the future that lies ahead.”