Barack Obama has been re-elected president of the United States. "Four more years," the president tweeted late Tuesday night.
Most of election night was a close call, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney ahead until both California and Ohio were called for Obama, pulling the president ahead with an estimated 303 electoral college votes to Romney's 206, as of press time.
After Romney conceded the election with a short, respectful speech, Obama addressed the nation at 1:35 a.m./ET, taking the stage to the tune of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" with wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia. "Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward," he said. "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, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.
"Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come. I want to thank every American who participated in this election. Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time — by the way, we have to fix that — whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference."
Obama applauded Romney, and said he plans to sit down with the governor to see where they can work together to move this country forward. "I just spoke with Gov. Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign," he said. "We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future."
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He also took the time to thank Vice President Joe Biden, calling him "America's happy warrior," as well as his daughters and Michelle. "I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago," he said. "Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of American fall in love with you too as our nation's first lady."
Obama emphasized forward momentum, noting that we will all disagree about the best route. "Despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future," Obama went on to say. "We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader of technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow. We want our children to live in America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass along a country that is safe and respected and that is admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this world has ever known, but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being."
"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you and you've made me a better president," he continued. "With your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead."
Romney called Obama to concede the election before 12:55 a.m./ET, when he took the stage to address his supporters. "This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation," he said. "I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife Ann, Paul is the best choice I've ever made... I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would've been a wonderful first lady. She has been that and more to me and our family, and the many people she has touched with her compassion and her care."
In a TVGuide.com poll, 51 percent of voters wanted Obama to take the win, though it was a tight race there as well, as Romney followed with 44 percent.
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