Calls for bipartisan support in tackling challenges
After waiting patiently for more than five hours, the crowd at McCormick Place, the Obama for America campaign headquarters in downtown Chicago, erupted in a reverberating cheer as their re-elected President emerged on stage accompanied by his wife and daughters.
Barack Obama, his voice hoarse from a brutal final week of the campaigning, seemed equally fired up as he outlined his vision for America in an emotional speech. Even as he promised that “the best is yet to come,” he called for bipartisan support in tackling some of the country’s greatest challenges.
There was no mistaking the mood of utter jubilation, with supporters dancing wildly to the booming music, many waving flags, some sharing their excitement with the media, present in significant numbers.
Yet their sentiment appeared to be tempered by the realisation that the House of Representatives remained very much in the control of the Republican Party.
A little while before the President took to the stage, Mr. Romney also addressed his supporters from Boston in a gracious concession speech in which he not only thanked and congratulated Mr. Obama on the race and his victory, but also prayed “at a time of great challenges for America... that the President will be successful in guiding our nation.”
Mr. Obama also mentioned a post-election conversation that he had with the former Massachusetts Governor, saying, “I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign,” adding, “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future.”
Mr. Obama, who will be sworn in early in 2013, also took the opportunity to outline some of the policy challenges that he planned to tackle during his second term, including “reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil.”
Circling back to the theme of building bridges with the opposition that will continue to retain its grip on Congress, the President noted that to achieve progress in these areas, he was “looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.”
Ultimately, however, he struck a chord with the party faithful when he reaffirmed his commitment to the core Democratic policy values. He cited the example of an eight-year-old girl who would have lost health insurance support had it not been for the game-changing healthcare reform passing, and argued that America was great because of its spirit of “love and charity and duty and patriotism.”