In his victory speech, Obama sought to provide a moment of lift at the end of a grueling campaign.
"The task of perfecting our Union moves forward,” the president told his supporters at McCormick Place in Chicago. “It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope.”
Major news outlets had called the election for Obama at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, but Mr. Romney delayed conceding until early Wednesday morning, when his advisers had determined there was no credible way to keep fighting, even as Florida remained too close to call with Obama slightly ahead. The president won all the other states he had taken in 2008, except Indiana and North Carolina. If Obama’s lead in Florida holds, he will have won the Electoral College 332 to 206.
In what was likely his final moment in the national spotlight, Romney wished Obama well.
“This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney told his supporters in Boston.
But the outlook for a better atmosphere in Washington is uncertain at best.