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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

As it happened: the world reacts to Barack Obama’s re-election

Four more years.

Image: Carolyn Kaster/AP/Press Association Images

BARACK OBAMA HAS won a second term as President of the United States, beating Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a tight race to the White House.

The result was called by most American television networks just after 4am when Ohio was given to the incumbent, bringing him over the required 270 electoral votes.

As Jen Wade and Gav Reilly retired to get some sleep after keeping the midnight oil burning so @sineadocarroll and @oconnellhugh took you through the morning as the world reacted to a historic win for Obama.

Other key points from today:

5.55 – NBC reports that Mitt Romney has called Barack Obama to concede defeat; Romney is due to give public remarks in a few moments.

5.56 – Mitt Romney has started his address to supporters, wishing the Obamas success in guarding the nation.

5.57 – Romney thanks his family, and in particular his wife Ann who he says would have made a wonderful first lady.

5.58 – Romney encourages bipartisanship, concedes that for success there will have to be a reach across the aisle.

6.00 – “I believe in America. I believe in the people of America [applause, cheers] and I ran for office because I am concerned about America” – Romney during his concession speech.

6.01 – The failed candidate says he wishes so much he could have led the country in a different direction as his supporters had hoped. He is joined on stage by the Ryan Family and his own wife, children and grandchildren to cheers of Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!

6.02 – Obama’s victory speech is due soon.

6.03 – As we wait for the President, let’s have a look at the most-retweeted-ever tweet from the man himself.

6.10 – Hat-tip to Sarah Bruning, associate features editor at Time Out New York and cupcake maker supreme, for that Barack Boogie.

6.07 – And another Internet distraction courtesy of @barackdubs who ‘mashups’ presidential speeches to the tune of popular music, based on Youtuber requests. This may be his finest work:


6.08 – Obama’s victory speech will probably not look like this.

6.22 – The Empire State Building as it turned blue to signal a Democratic victory in the 2012 US Presidential Election.

Image: Alyson Silver

6.34 – The President is on his way to address supporters at his Chicago campaign HQ, according to CNN.

6.25 – The first official photo from the White House, taken moments after television networks called the election in Obama’s favour.

6.40 – The journey has been long but we have picked ourselves up and the best is yet to come, he continues to massive applause and cheers.

6.37 – Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered rings out as Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha (who look SO mature compared to four years ago) take to the stage.

6.39 – Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony determined its own right, this nation has once more decided to move forward, begins Obama.

6.41 – Obama notes that many voters had to wait a very long time in queues to cast their ballot – “by the way, I’ll have to fix that”, he added.

6.43 – SWOON. Barack tells Michelle that he has “never loved her more” and is “so proud” to have watched America fall in love with her.

6.42 – Obama thanks Joe Biden, calls him America’s Happy Warrior.

6.50 – We believe in a passionate and tolerant America, continues Obama as he pushes his theme of “going forward”.

6.45 – He then notes that Sasha and Malia have grown up before our very eyes. Seriously.

6.51 – And we’re on to bipartisanship. There will be fierce disagreements, he warns. Difficult compromises will be needed to move the US forward.

6.51 – The economy is recovering and the decade of war is ending, according to the President.

He promises to be more determined and inspired than ever.

6.52 – Obama says there is a lot more work to do and he looks forward to working with other leaders to do it. Cites freeing America from foreign oil, improving the economy, fixing the jobs situation…

6.54 – “The belief that our destiny is sharing” is what makes America rich, continues a very passionate Obama.

“That is what makes America great.”

6.59 – Despite all the frustrations of Washington, Obama says he has never been more hopeful (and that’s not just optimism or wishful idealism, he adds).

“Hope is that stubborn thing inside us…despite evidence of the contrary…that something better awaits us as long as we have the courage to keep fighting.”

6.56 – Onto healthcare reform, the President recounts a story from a father who thanked him for taking care of his little girl when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

6.59 – “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, or Hispanic, Asian, young or old, gay or straight…you can make it here in America if you only try.”

7.02 – Good morning, Hugh O’Connell here fresh from all of a few minutes sleep overnight. Sinead is off to get your 9 at 9 ready and I am going to bring you more reaction to President Obama’s re-election.

7.06 – The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, have issued a statement congratulating Obama on his re-election:

We have the pleasure of extending our warm congratulations to President Obama on his re-election as President of the United States of America. The United States is a key strategic partner of the European Union and we look forward to continuing the close cooperation established with President Obama over these last four years, to further strengthening our bilateral ties and to jointly addressing global challenges, including in the fields of security and economy.

Creation of growth and jobs remains a priority for both the US and the EU and we will continue to work with President Obama to unlock the unparalleled potential of the transatlantic market. We are also ready to continue our intense cooperation in foreign policy issues and in the promotion of our common values. We look forward to meeting President Obama at an early date in order to reconfirm our priorities and provide renewed impetus to our joint action.

7.13 – Some of the newspaper front pages are coming in. Here is The New York Times:

via @jodikantor

7.15 – And from France, here is Le Figaro

7.20 – The New York Times already has a transcript of Barack Obama’s speech if you missed it just a few moments ago. An excerpt:

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.

7.21 – The White House has said that the Obama family, which has been embracing the President warmly on stage in Chicago in the last few minutes, will head back to Washington DC tomorrow afternoon. Time for some sleep, me thinks.

7.23 – A steamy version of The Guardian’s latest front page:

via @SimonNRicketts

7.36 – You can now watch Barack Obama’s full acceptance speech here.

7.43 – The front pages continue to roll in and here is what the Wall Street Journal has on offer. A simple, yet effective ‘Obama Wins’:

7.51 – We’re still waiting on the outcome in Florida but thankfully it’s not as important as it has been in recent years. With 99 per cent of precincts reporting there, Obama is leading 50 per cent to 49.2 per cent – about 60,000 votes. If he takes Florida he will have 332 electoral votes compared to Romney’s 206.

8.06 – RTÉ is reporting that President Michael D Higgins has issued congratulations to Obama on his re-election and he’s not the only one. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released this statement:

“The strategic alliance between Israel and the US is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel.”

8.15 – Unsurprisingly Twitter went insane overnight as the results of the US election rolled in with the microblogging site hitting a peak of 327,452 Tweets per minute at one stage.  This blog has more details on the stats that will blow you away.

While the tweet: ‘Four more years’ accompanied by a picture of Barack Obama hugging his wife Michelle that was sent by the President’s official Twitter account has immediately become the most popular tweet of all time.

8.21 – More congratulations rolling in for Obama. AFP reports that French President Francois Hollande has said that Obama’s victory means a “clear choice for an open, united America that is totally engaged on the international scene.”

We’ve had Israel and now the Palestinians have offered their congratulations while at the same time urging that the President advance peace efforts in the Middle East. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, reportedly “hopes that Obama continues his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East”.

8.24 – Anyone who read our election guide yesterday will know that senior Obama advisor David Axelrod had pledged to shave his legendary moustache off if the President lost Minnesota, Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Well thankfully for ‘Axe’ none of this transpired and the ‘tache is safe:

8.27 – The London Times front page has just dropped and its a good one:

via @suttonnick

8.30 – British Prime Minister David ‘Dave’ Cameron is meeting German chancellor Angela ‘Angela’ Merkel today but he’s had time to get out a statement about President Obama’s re-election. Fresh from Downing Street, he says:

“I would like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election.

“I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years.

“There are so many things that we need to do: we need to kick start the world economy and I want to see an EU-US trade deal.

“Right here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories about what has happened inside Syria so one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.

“Above all, congratulations to Barack. I’ve enjoyed working with him, I think he’s a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future.”

8.35 – Not much by the way of official Irish reaction to President Obama’s win except for President Higgins’ congratulations earlier but at the US Embassy in Dublin, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he hopes Obama will return to Ireland in his second term.

via @usembassydublin

8.39 – No wonder David ‘Dave’ Cameron was full of praise for Obama in his statement this morning. My colleague Sinead O’Carroll points out that the two have a whopping big bromance going on. The evidence.

8.44 – Eamon Gilmore on Morning Ireland has congratulated Obama and has said that the President has been a very good friend to Ireland.

8.47 – Gilmore tells Aine Lawlor that immigration reform has been held up because of the election but he hopes that now that the election is over Ireland will be working closely with the US congress and the President “to try and get a visa arrangement” for Irish in America.

An EU-US trade agreement is also something that will be on the agenda during Ireland’s presidency of the union at the beginning of the year, Gilmore says.

Henry Healy, Obama’s cousin from Moneygall, has also been on to send his congratulations to Barack O’Bama.

8.54 – Now then you may have heard about the New York Times pollster Nate Silver who correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 election and who really did stick his neck on the line this time when he predicted that there was a 92 per cent chance of Obama winning this time around.

The right wing blogosphere and many in the mainstream US media scoffed at him but it turns out that Silver is on course to have correctly predicted the outcome of this election in all 50 states.

via @amontalenti

Mashable is hailing this Triumph of the Nerds.

8.55 – Here is the state of play according to the Associated Press. We’re just waiting for Florida:

9.00 – Do you think this is actually happening?

9.11 – Essential maintenance…

9.18 – The Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has chipped in his congrats to the President. If Scotland gains full independence in two years time perhaps Salmond will be paying a visit to the White House during Obama’s second term.

9.32 – So this guy has just been on BBC News and we are LOVING his ‘tache. Loving it:

9.36 – Okay so enough funny business. Here is some good reading for this morning…

Over on Politico Maggie Haberman has been analysing the fallout from the election and what it all meant. Specifically she outlines that Republican hopes of the black turnout decreasing significantly on 2008 did not transpire and that Paul Ryan was not a game-changing choice as vice president. She writes:

For months, Republicans had been working under the assumption that a bad economy would combine with an ebbing of the electorate that gave Obama victory in 2008. White voters would represent a higher portion of the electorate, black voters would never turn out again in such numbers, and Hispanic voters would be in play.

None of that turned out to be the case. The model predicted by Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, was right, and the one created by Romney pollster Neil Newhouse was wrong. And public polls, especially in battleground states, contrary to an Internet uproar, were not “skewed” as conservatives fiercely insisted.

The full article is well worth a read.

On the New York Times, Peter Baker has been looking at what Obama can look to do in his second term bearing in mind that the majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track yet they are prepared to give the incumbent ‘a second chance’.

Mr. Obama emerges from a scalding campaign and a four-year education in the realities of Washington a far different figure from the man sent to the White House in 2008. What faces him in this next stage of his journey are not overinflated expectations of partisan, racial and global healing, but granular negotiations over spending cuts and tax increases plus a looming showdown with Iran.

Read the full piece here.

9.46 – An interesting snippet from AFP from the election party at the US embassy in China last night. More than 200 Chinese citizens voted in a mock ballot and overwhelmingly elected Obama 153 votes to 51.

“It is unfortunate that China cannot have elections like this,” a beaming He Jiangtao told AFP after casting his vote. ”As long as the Communist Party is in power, it is unlikely that China will ever have democratic elections.”

10.02 – That Obama ‘four more years’ tweet – already the most retweeted ever – now has more than 550,000 retweets. Wowser.

10.06 – I’ve just put together a video round-up of the moment the US television networks called the election for Obama. Lots of flashy graphics, tense music and dramatic voices. Oh and a bizarre incident involving Fox News and Karl Rove. Check it out here.

10.17 – The Taoiseach has sent his congratulations on Obama’s victory. He’s been writing letters and all:

This morning I have written to both President Obama and Vice President Biden, on behalf of the Irish people, congratulating them on their great victory. Our countries enjoy an especially warm and friendly relationship. This has been strongly reflected during President Obama’s first term of office, never more so than during his wonderful visit to Ireland last year.

I am confident that the relationship between our two countries will continue to flourish during his coming term of office, as our administrations continue to work together across a range of policy areas in our respective efforts to boost our economies, increase trade and investment, and create new and sustainable jobs.

I also look forward to working closely with President Obama and the United States as Ireland assumes the Presidency of the European Union on 1 January 2013. I have already made clear that I see Ireland’s EU Presidency as an opportunity to seek to strengthen the ties between Europe and the United States, including in the area of international trade.

Once again, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Barack Obama, to his wife Michelle, and to their two daughters.

10.28 – Barack Obama singing ‘Can’t Touch This’? Well you would if you’d just won a whole election, wouldn’t you?

10.35 – At Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this morning, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has taken the opportunity to congratulate President Barack Obama and paid tribute to Mitt Romney for a “very competitive campaign”.

Before he headed for the chamber, Martin – a former Minister for Foreign Affairs, tweeted this:

10.45 – You want analysis? I’ll give you analysis. Over on the Washington Post, Scott Wilson and Philip Rucker have been assessing the strategy the Obama campaign mapped out that would ultimately lead to victory.

This strategy involved a choice between portraying Romney as a flip-flopper who had adjusted his positions on matters such as abortion and gun rights significantly to the right from his days as the moderate governor of Massachusetts or as a protector of the privileged from his involvement with investment firm Bain Capital.

The choice was the latter and far from the positive campaign in 2008, the Obama camp launched an unprecedented attack on the Republican candidate – and it worked. Read more.

10.48 – Another front page and a wonderful play on words from the always hilarious New York Post (Osama Bin Wankin’ anyone?)

via @MurphyVincent

10.55 – The fella off Scrubs wonders aloud…

He’s talking about this photoshoot that the failed vice presidential candidate did with TIME before he was picked for VP:

Morto.

10.59 – US-Russian relations are not too shabby these days but the seemingly unending presence of Vladimir Putin in power always has Washington a little on edge but the frostiness is, er, defrosting a little a bit if a statement from Russian president Putin is anything to go by.

AFP says that Putin sent a telegram congratulating Obama on his victory with a spokesperson telling Russian news agencies: ”We hope that the positive beginnings that have taken hold in Russian-US relations on the world arena will grow in the interests of international security and stability.”

Moscow is ready to “go as far as the US administration is willing to go,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was also quoted as saying, perhaps in reference to the civil war in Syria and the ongoing impassé.

11.07 – Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zadari has congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election and has said he hopes relations will prosper, AFP reports. That’s significant given the strain on US-Pakistani relations in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil last year and repeated drone strikes in the tribal areas around the country’s border with Afghanistan.

11.13 – Very rowdy in the Dáil this morning with Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett repeatedly having to tell TDs to behave themselves. One wonders if they’re all a bit cranky after a late night in front of the television.

11.29 – Over on the Guardian, Gary Younge writes that Obama’s victory was all the more impressive for it not being as symbolic as his election four years ago as the first African-American president of the United States. Obama has run on a record, a questionable one economically, but ultimately he has given what Younge terms a “plausible account of his efforts” to convince the electorate.

The author also deals with the Republicans continued troubles with minorities such as black and Latinos. As these minorities increase in population terms across the US this is becoming more and more of an issue for the Grand Old Party. In other words, they’re going to have to do more to convince black and Latino voters to vote for them. Younge highlights Nevada, once considered a safe red state, but whose increasing minority population has ensured victory for Obama there this year and in 2008.

His piece is well worth a read.

11.44 – This is what 21st century leaders do:

That’s former Russian president and current prime minister Dmitry Medvedev just dropping a quick tweet to Barry O. No biggie.

11.53 – You’d hate to wake up and be Mitt Romney this morning, wouldn’t you?

12.03 – We’re going to finish up shortly but before we do let me draw your attention to this interesting piece on the BBC News website in which their various foreign correspondents analyse what an Obama win means for America’s relations with the rest of the world.

Generally the mood is positive towards Obama’s re-election with either the status quo maintained or delicate diplomatic matters unlikely to be unsettled by the arrival of a new face on the Oval Office.

The article also raises some interesting questions about Obama’s foreign policy in his second term. In the case of Africa, Obama has had very little to do with the continent from which his father hailed from in his first term. BBC’S Andrew Harding writes:

So far, there is no sign of a grand “Obama Doctrine” for Africa – and perhaps that’s a good thing, given the diversity and complexity of the continent. Mr Obama has left it to others to warn about the dangers posed by an insatiable China, but his second term may give him an opportunity to move away from the distorting “war on terror” preoccupations of Mali and Somalia, and focus on the broader issues – trade in particular – that he raised three years ago in Ghana.

Lots of other interesting snippets in there and well worth a read during your coffee break.

12.09 – Okay, we’re going to wrap it up there for the day. Thanks very much for your company this morning and all through the night if you were following the very excellent coverage provided by Jen Wade and Gavan Reilly as the results rolled in.

If there are any further developments in the hours ahead – such as Florida being officially declared – we’ll bring them to you but for now we’ll leave you with this very Brokeback Mountain-like snap from Obama’s acceptance speech last night:

M. Spencer Green/AP/Press Association Images

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