'The Best Is Yet To Come'
President Barack Obama promises action -- not politics -- as he celebrates reelection
Striking a tone reminiscent of the 2004 speech that first brought him to national prominence, President Barack Obama in a victory speech early Wednesday morning urged the nation to work together "to perfect our union" as he returns to the White House after winning a second term.
Taking the stage about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday at his campaign headquarters in Chicago, a grateful Obama said "the best is yet to come."
"Tonight you voted for action,
"I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for very first time, or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that," Obama said in an aside to cheers. "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."
The speech held in the early morning hours of Wednesday following a surprisingly early Election Night capped off months of intense, divisive and often racially questionable general election campaigning between the Democratic President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The president emerged the winner of the presidential contest, with NBC networks being the first to call the race for Obama a little before 11:30 p.m. Election Night after finding that battleground Ohio had gone into the president's column.
On a night when Americans were uncertain whether there would be a repeat of 2008's history-making Election Night -- whether the nation's first African American president would be sent back to the White House for four more years -- they had their answer.
The results sent waves of excitement and jubilation late Tuesday evening at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago -- early network and cable news footage showed supporters waving flags, singing Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT," and letting out signs of relief.
With many of the early network and cable news projections favoring Romney, it was clear that the election would be decided in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Virginia. Florida, with their hours-long lines and early voting delays. Florida's results were still out as of early Wednesday morning, but Obama was leading in the vote count. In addition to Ohio, Colorado and Virginia were called for the president.
In New York City's famous Harlem neighborhood, Obama supporters were jubilant.
"Oh yes we did...again!" said 27-year-old New York City resident Dayna Isom, who watched the election results with a group of friends in the city's Harlem neighborhood. "My heart was beating very fast until I saw [Obama had won] Ohio."
While it's certainly premature to speculate what the first 100 days of the second Obama administration will look like, the president has pledged to continue pushing Congress to pass legislation that will speed up job creation. He has said he will not play ball with Republicans on extension of tax cuts for the rich. In his second term, he will have the opportunity to help retain hard-fought civil rights gains for women, on issues like abortion and fair pay, and for minorities, on issues like affirmative action and voting rights, with one or two appointments to the Supreme Court.