Voters chose action over politics as usual, President Barack Obama told the nation in a rousing victory speech delivered after 1:30 a.m., Wednesday.
Obama, who beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney, renewed his message of hope in saying the nation was on its way to recovering from tough times.
“Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over," Obama said. "And whether I earned your vote or note, I have listened to you, I have learned from you and you’ve made me a better president. 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.”
Obama held a comfortable lead in the electoral college though the popular vote early Wednesday morning remained close.
Obama said he looks forward to working with leaders from both parties on issues like jobs, immigration, energy and tax reform. But he also said the nation would remain politically divided on some issues.
“Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated,” he said. “We have our own opinions, each of us has deeply-held beliefs and when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as country, it necessarily stirs passion, stirs controversy. That won’t change after tonight and it shouldn’t.”
Romney made a short but gracious concession speech from his headquarters in Boston just before 1 a.m., Wednesday. The speech lasted about five minutes.
"I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," said Romney, who also called for less bipartisanship in government.
“Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the citizens’ work,” he said.
Barack Obama tweeted "four more years" shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, with a picture of him hugging his wife Michelle.
“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," Obama said in his victory speech.
Several television networks gave the race to Obama around 11 p.m., when they projected that he had beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Ohio.