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President Obama and his family President Obama greeted a crowd of supporters after winning a second term in the White House. (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque / Landov)

Four More Years

President Barack Obama wins a second term in the White House

By Laura Leigh Davidson | November 6 , 2012
<p>Former Governor Romney gave a brief concession speech at about 1 a.m. (Reuters / Mike Segar)</p>

Former Governor Romney gave a brief concession speech at about 1 a.m. (Reuters / Mike Segar)

President Barack Obama has won a second term as the leader of the United States of America. On Tuesday night, in a tight race, the current President defeated his opponent, Mitt Romney. Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts.

With First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, Obama addressed cheering supporters at the McCormick Place convention center in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

Obama spoke of moving past the challenges that the country has been facing. “[W]hile 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,” he said.

At the close of an election that sharply divided the country, President Obama emphasized the importance of national unity. “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states,” the President said. “We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.”

After calling the President to concede, or admit defeat, Governor Romney gave a brief speech. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction,” he said. “But the nation chose another leader.”

A WIN IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Based on Tuesday’s results, Obama has decisively won the electoral vote. It is by winning the electoral vote that a candidate becomes President.

When Americans go to the voting booth, they don’t vote directly for President. Instead, they vote for a group of people called electors, who officially choose our President. There are a total of 538 electoral votes. To win the presidential election, a candidate must win a majority—at least 270—of those votes.

The number of a state’s electors is equal to the number of its Representatives and Senators combined. (Washington, D.C., also participates in the electoral process. It has three electoral votes.) In all states but Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the state’s popular vote wins all of its electoral votes.

On the morning of Election Day, polls placed the two candidates in a virtual tie. As the votes were counted in the evening, the popular vote remained very close. But with Obama’s victory in key swing states, including Ohio, he secured enough electoral votes to win.

THE 44TH PRESIDENT

President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11. The family has a Portuguese water dog named Bo.

Before becoming President, Obama worked as a lawyer and community organizer in Chicago. He served as a lawmaker in the Illinois state legislature before being elected to the United States Senate.

In 2008, Obama was the first African-American to be elected President. During his first term, he led the country through its toughest financial period since the Great Depression. He worked for and signed into law the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare). This law makes major changes to the health-care system and extends coverage to millions of people.

The President oversaw the end of the war in Iraq and ordered the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden—the leader of the international terrorist group that carried out devastating attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

President Obama says his plans for a second term include ending the war in Afghanistan by 2014. He also wants to make college tuition more affordable and increase the number of college graduates.

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