The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Election 2012

November 6, 2012

Obama? Romney? Nation decides after long campaign

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney dueled for the White House on Tuesday in a tight-to-the-finish election shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment that crimped middle class dreams for millions.

Voters also chose a new Congress to serve alongside the man who will be inaugurated president in January, Democrats defending their majority in the Senate, and Republicans in the House. Eleven states picked governors, and ballot measures ranging from gay marriage to gambling dotted ballots.

The first votes tallied in the presidential race were from reliably Republican Indiana and Kentucky, and favored Romney by a margin of 2-1.

The economy was rated the top issue by about 60 percent of voters surveyed as they left their polling places. About 4 in 10 said it is on the mend.

More than that said conditions are as bad or getting worse, but a significant fraction said former President George W. Bush bears more of the responsibility than Obama. The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and a group of television networks.

The long campaign's cost soared into the billions, much of it spent on negative ads, some harshly so.

In the presidential race, an estimated one million commercials aired in nine battleground states where the rival camps agreed the election was most likely to be settled — Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. They accounted for 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, and they drew repeated appearances by the 51-year-old president and Romney, 65.

Romney raced to Ohio and Pennsylvania for Election Day campaigning and projected confidence as he flew home to Massachusetts to await the results. "We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful," he said, adding that he had finished writing a speech anticipating victory.

Obama made get-out-the-vote calls from a campaign office near his home in Chicago and found time for his traditional Election Day basketball game with friends. Addressing his rival, he said, "I also want to say to Gov. Romney, 'Congratulations on a spirited campaign.' I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today." Romney, in turn, congratulated the president for running a "strong campaign."

Other than the battlegrounds, big states were virtually ignored in the final months of the campaign. Romney wrote off New York, Illinois and California, while Obama made no attempt to carry Texas, much of the South or the Rocky Mountain region other than Colorado.

There were 33 Senate seats on the ballot, 23 of them defended by Democrats and the rest by Republicans.

The GOP needed a gain of three for a majority if Romney won, and four if Obama was re-elected. Neither Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada nor GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was on the ballot, but each had high stakes in the outcome.

All 435 House seats were on the ballot, including five where one lawmaker ran against another as a result of once-a-decade redistricting to take population shifts into account. Democrats needed to pick up 25 seats to gain the majority they lost two years ago.

Depending on the outcome of a few races, it was possible that white men would wind up in a minority in the Democratic caucus for the first time.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, raised millions to finance get-out-the-vote operations in states without a robust presidential campaign, New York, Illinois and California among them. His goal was to minimize any losses, or possibly even gain ground, no matter Romney's fate. House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California campaigned aggressively, as well, and faced an uncertain political future if her party failed to win control.

In gubernatorial races, Republicans hoped to gain seats after Democratic retirements in New Hampshire, Washington, Montana and especially North Carolina.

Romney was in Massachusetts after his Election Day dash to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In a campaign that traversed contested Republican primaries last winter and spring, a pair of political conventions this summer and three presidential debates, Obama, Romney, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican running mate Paul Ryan spoke at hundreds of rallies, were serenaded by Bruce Springstein and Meat Loaf and washed down hamburgers, pizza, barbecue and burrito bowls.

Obama was elected the first black president in 2008, and four years later, Romney became the first Mormon to appear on a general election ballot. Yet one man's race and the other's religion were never major factors in this year's campaign for the White House, a race dominated from the outset by the economy.

Over and over, Obama said that during his term the nation has begun to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. While he conceded progress has been slow, he accused Romney of offering recycled Republican policies that have helped the wealthy and harmed the middle class in the past and would do so again.

Romney countered that a second Obama term could mean a repeat recession in a country where economic growth has been weak and unemployment is worse now than when the president was inaugurated. A wealthy former businessman, he claimed the knowledge and the skills to put in place policies that would make the economy healthy again.

In a race where the two men disagreed often, one of the principal fault lines was over taxes. Obama campaigned for the renewal of income tax cuts set to expire on Dec. 31 at all income levels except above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

Romney said no one's taxes should go up in uncertain economic times. In addition, he proposed a 20 percent cut across the board in income tax rates but said he would end or curtail a variety of tax breaks to make sure federal deficits didn't rise.

The differences over taxes, the economy, Medicare, abortion and more were expressed in intensely negative advertising.

Obama launched first, shortly after Romney dispatched his Republican foes in his quest for the party nomination.

One memorable commercial showed Romney singing an off-key rendition of "America The Beautiful." Pictures and signs scrolled by saying that his companies had shipped jobs to Mexico and China, that Massachusetts state jobs had gone to India while he was governor and that he has personal investments in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Romney spent less on advertising than Obama. A collection of outside groups made up the difference, some of them operating under rules that allowed donors to remain anonymous. Most of the ads were of the attack variety. But the Republican National Committee relied on one that had a far softer touch, and seemed aimed at voters who had been drawn to the excitement caused by Obama's first campaign. It referred to a growing national debt and unemployment, then said, "He tried. You tried. It's OK to make a change."

More than 30 million voters cast early ballots in nearly three dozen states, a reflection of the growing appeal of a relatively new phenomenon.

 

1
Text Only
Election 2012
  • austin.jpg Democrats will assume role of ‘loyal opposition’

    Even though Republicans will be able to legislate at will when the General Assembly convenes in January, two local Democrat state lawmakers say that only makes their presence for debate more vital.

    November 10, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1107 news Ritz 1 .jpg New state schools superintendent may face limit on power

    Democrat Glenda Ritz won the race for the state’s schools superintendent by challenging the education overhaul implemented by the Republican incumbent Tony Bennett, but her power to stop the sweeping changes in Indiana schools may be limited.

    November 8, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1107 news polls 11.jpg Obama backers say race wasn’t a factor in vote

    Many factors go into choosing a presidential candidate. But is race one of them?
    In Indiana, nearly 90 percent of all blacks — 8 percent of the electorate — voted for Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • elex_donnellywins.jpg Winner Donnelly, losing Republicans assess race

    Democrat Joe Donnelly began the day after his surprising victory in the Indiana Senate race trying to digest what had just happened. And supporters of defeated Republican Richard Mourdock debated what had gone wrong.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1108 news Pence office 002.jpg Pence's Anderson district office to remain open until December

    Officials for 6th Congressional District Rep. Mike Pence, now Gov-elect Pence, said Wednesday that his district office next to the Paramount Theatre Centre will remain open through mid-December to provide constituent services.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • slides_democrat04.JPG Lanane takes helm of Senate Democrats

    Indiana Senate Democrats have elected Tim Lanane of Anderson to lead their 13-member caucus in General Assembly. Lanane, an Anderson attorney, has served in the Senate since 1997.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1108 news Indiana House 2.jpg House leader pledges no abuse of supermajority power

    The Republicans’ near-sweep of Tuesday’s Indiana House races now gives them power that mirrors the GOP’s long-held supermajority in the state Senate. That shift prompted new Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, an Anderson attorney, to offer some advice: “Be careful what you wish for,” Lanane said.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • elex_pencepresser.jpg Pence pledges to go on with education, tax cut initiatives

    Gov.-elect Mike Pence said he’ll make job creation “job one” when he takes office in January and promised to abide by his campaign’s “Roadmap for Indiana” plan, which includes support for education reforms that voters seemed to reject and a tax cut that legislative leaders oppose.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • elex_donnellywins.jpg Indiana exit poll: Women aid Donnelly victory

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cruised to victory in Indiana, while Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly won a closely watched U.S. Senate race and Republican Rep. Mike Pence won the governor's contest.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1023 Mike Pence 02.jpg Pence elected Indiana governor to extend GOP control

    Republican Mike Pence won election Tuesday as Indiana governor, extending his party's control of the state's top office at the same time voters ousted the incumbent GOP state schools superintendent.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

Election Video
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Poll

Do you think school is starting too early?

Yes, it shouldn't start until after Labor Day.
Yes, it shouldn't start for another week or so.
No, it's about right.
Not sure.
     View Results