President Obama won a second term in the White House Tuesday night, Fox News projects, overcoming concerns about the fragile economic recovery to edge out Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The president’s win in the crucial battleground of Ohio, coupled with subsequent victories in both Iowa and Oregon, put him over the required 270 electoral votes.
Obama broke out early in the night, winning a string of key battlegrounds even as Romney built his electoral-vote count with wins in reliably conservative states. Obama scored a big win in Pennsylvania, a vital battleground where Romney made a late play for support. Obama also walked away with a win in the swing states of New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Minutes before Obama was projected the winner, Romney claimed his first battleground prize of the night with a projected victory in North Carolina, where the Democrats held their 2012 convention.
Elsewhere, Obama and Romney each racked up expected victories Tuesday night in relatively safe territory.
Romney was the projected winner in Utah, Montana, Arizona, Missouri, Idaho, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and Kentucky.
Fox News projects Obama was the winner in his home state of Illinois, California, Hawaii, Washington, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
The vote Tuesday marked the end of a grueling race. For Obama, the election is the last time his name will appear on a ballot, or so he claims. For Romney, the election closed out a nearly six-year run for the presidency. The Republican nominee ran unsuccessfully in 2008.
The 2012 campaign was decidedly different from 2008, when Obama ran on a lofty message of change and leveraged voter dissatisfaction with the George W. Bush administration — and particularly the war in Iraq — to defeat Republican nominee John McCain.
This time around, each candidate’s campaign message was bound to the state of the economy, having suffered a recession shortly before Obama took office. Romney argued forcefully that Obama failed to deliver the kind of economic rebound that typically follows a downturn. The Republican nominee accused the president of throwing money at the problem with a poorly designed stimulus, and then abandoning the issue altogether to focus on passing ObamaCare. Romney argued that the health care law, along with countless regulations and an allegedly anti-business attitude, all combined to stand in the way of a full-throated recovery.
Issues like the Libya terror attack and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program brought foreign policy into the mix, but the economy remained central.
But Obama argued all along that, despite the slack in the system, the country was moving in the right direction. He pointed to recent economic reports, including Labor Department data showing the jobless rate falling below 8 percent for the first time since he took office, as signs that the economy was improving and would get better over time.
He warned that Romney’s agenda — which he described as tax breaks for the rich and giveaways to corporations — would only reprise the “failed” economic policies of the prior administration which he claimed led to the recession.