By TOBY HARNDEN IN BOSTON, HUGO GYE and LYDIA WARREN
Four more years: Barack Obama delivered a powerful acceptance speech early on Wednesday morning in Chicago Barack Obama called for unity and presented an optimistic vision of the future as he declared victory in the presidential election tonight. The re-elected President promised 'the best is yet to come' and paid tribute to his opponent Mitt Romney in soaring rhetoric after his landslide election win. In a speech that saw a return to the soaring rhetoric he has become known for since his election in 2008, Obama said during the fierce campaign he had ‘listened and learned’ to the American people and it had ‘made him a better president and I will return to the White House more determined and inspired than ever’.
Together: Michelle, Sasha, Barack and Malia Obama celebrate the President's victory on stage His voice going hoarse at times, he said: ‘progress comes in fits and starts’ and the road is littered with ‘difficult compromises’. But he said he enters the next four years with an ‘economy recovering, a decade of war ending and a long campaign is over.’ He thanked his wife and also paid tribute to his daughters Sasha and Malia who he said were ‘two smart beautiful young women, just like their mother’, but joked ‘one dog is probably enough’.
Helping hand: Obama embraces Vice President Joe Biden on stage at his Chicago headquarters Romney had earlier called for America to 'put the people before politics' and warned, 'At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing.' He added, 'I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country in a different direction. But the nation chose another leader.'
Commander in chief: Obama was elected by the country to serve another four years in the White House Broadcast networks called the 2012 election for Obama as he swept the map with wins in the swings states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia while Florida still hung in the balance. Obama scored a resounding electoral college win - despite predictions of one of the tightest finishes in history and the dogged insistence of Romney advisers that they were making gains all over the political battlefield. He looked set to win either 332 or 309 electoral college votes, depending on the outcome in Florida, with Romney far behind on 206 or 235. There are 538 electoral college votes in total, meaning that a candidate must win 270 to make it to the White House.
Family: The delighted President was joined by his wife Michelle and their daughters Sasha and Malia Despite unemployment standing at 7.9 per cent and Obama performing very poorly during the first presidential debate, Romney was crushed nationally, though he might finish only just behind in the popular vote. Minutes after his victory was announced, the President tweeted: 'We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you.' He also posted a picture of himself embracing his wife Michelle - and the post rapidly became the most popular tweet of all time.
Crowd: Obama delivered his speech in front of thousands of supporters in Chicago He took to the stage at his campaign headquarters in Chicago to the sounds of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, and delivered a powerful speech looking towards the future, saying: 'We know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.' Obama thanked the citizens who had participated in the political process: 'Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.'
Team: Obama called Biden 'America's happy warrior' as he paid tribute to his role in the election campaign
Devotion: Michelle Obama clearly never lost faith in her husband's political skills He revealed that speaking to Romney, he 'congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hardfought campaign', adding a tribute to the Romney family's history, saying: From George and Lenore to their son Mitt the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is a legacy that we honour and applaud tonight.' Referring to the bitterness of the long-running election campaign, the President said, 'When we go through tough times - when we go through tough decisions as a country - it necessarily provokes arguments, provokes controversy,' but he added: 'These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.'
Pride: The whole Obama family congratulated the President after his landslide election In his conclusion, Obama said: 'I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
Still in the spotlight: Obama will remain the country's most prominent political figure for the next four years, until his successor is elected in 2016 '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.' The Obamas embraced Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Janna, as well as a large number of other relatives and supporters, as Bruce Springsteen's anthem We Take Care of Our Own blared over the arena's speakers.
Says it all: Michelle Obama was visibly fired up by her husband's election success
Confetti: The Obama victory rally was showered in coloured paper as the President emerged to speak source: dailymail
Now make them count! Obama routs Romney to win four more years in the White House
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