With Florida Up in the Air, President Obama Wins Four More Years
Around the State
The 2012 Election was over for Republican Mitt Romney the minute virtually all news networks called pivotal swing-state Ohio for Obama.
The former governor of Massachusetts had just lost Wisconsin, Paul Ryan's home state, a state Republicans hoped Ryan would deliver when Romney selected him as his running mate.
Speaking just after midnight Wednesday to a vast party of supporters in Boston, many in tears, Mitt Romney delivered his concession speech. He told the crowd he had called the president to concede. "I wish all of them well, particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters," he said.
"I ran for office because I'm concerned for America. ... Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign."
Florida remains a close, if not meaningful, presidential contest at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, with Obama at 4,049,883 votes to Romney's 3,988,637. In fact, voters in Miami-Dade County were still waiting to cast ballots at this hour.
The question in Florida always was the coattails effect -- what effect the presidential race would have on the fate of 190 state and federal lawmakers and hundreds of local officials.
The election that was first about economic optimism still had to be won by the candidate who best could convince Americans that he had the answers to return the American dream and greatness to this country. In the end, voters decided it was Obama who made the better case: Yes, unemployment remains high at 7.9 percent, and the recovery has been slow. But slow growth and no growth are worlds apart.
Incumbent presidents presiding over a growing economy with rising job numbers almost always prevail in an election year. Also, as summer ended and soon after, as the price of gasoline began to fall, the number of Americans expressing optimism about the future of the economy was on the rise again. Even consumer confidence is rising. All those things -- added to the fact that the Romney-Ryan economic plan was less than specific -- served to make voters not as desperate for change this year as they seemed last.
What Obama did is to overcome a determined challenge from Mitt Romney and the worst Election Day unemployment rate since World War II.
At 1:40 a.m., after the president had taken Romney's congratulatory phone call, supporters at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago erupted when Obama strode on stage with his family to make his victory speech.
“Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. Our long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I learned from you,” Obama said.
“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties,” he said.
The presidential race by itself has cost as much as $3 billion in funds laid out by the candidates, Democratic and Republican party committees and outside spending groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That represents a 7 percent increase from 2008.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.