President Barack Obama won re-election in a tight campaign, besting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in enough swing states to secure four more years in office.
Propelled by wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa – states long touted as Obama’s “firewall” – the president won a long-fought election in which the economy, its slow pace of recovery and Obama’s management of it, became the central issue.
NBC News declared Obama the projected winner of Ohio and the election after polls had closed on the West Coast. The president also held onto a series of Democratic strongholds, beating back Romney’s efforts to take back states Obama had won in 2008 and make inroads into traditionally Democratic strongholds, like Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Romney emerged at his election night headquarters in Boston to concede the election shortly before 1 a.m. ET, striking a conciliatory note after a hard-fought campaign.
"This is a time for great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation," the former Republican nominee said, joined by his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (who won re-election to Congress) and their respective families.
"Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign," Romney said. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader."
Exit polls suggested that the economy was, by far and away, the issue at the front of voters’ minds on Election Day. Romney edged Obama nationally by six points among voters who said the economy was their top issue.
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