The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

2012 Election Coverage

November 6, 2012

Same president faced with reshaping new landscape

After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Barack Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.

The irony is that the most expensive election in American history produced a status-quo outcome. Now the question is whether it will change the status quo that has governed Washington not just during Obama's presidency but for most of the past decade.

Obama will confront a daunting agenda, from an economy that is still far less robust than he had promised it would be to the looming problem of debt, deficits and the growth of federal entitlement programs that produced an ugly battle during his first term. The "fiscal cliff" looms in December, which either will force action and agreement or define a new landscape of disagreement.

Tuesday's election produced an uncertain mandate, although Obama will attempt to claim one. Obama offered a plan for the future, but not one that deals directly with some of the problems he will have to confront immediately. His campaign was geared more to defining and attacking opponent Mitt Romney than creating a mandate for a second term.

It will now be left to him to create a true mandate for his agenda and then through leadership that combines compromise with conviction, produce a political consensus in Congress and the country to put that agenda into place. There was enough in the exit polls to suggest that voters remain in sharp disagreement over the way forward, and in many cases the voters hold contradictory views about how to get there.

Obama found the coalitions he needed, almost state by state, to win reelection. In Ohio, he was aided by the auto bailout and some extra votes from working-class white voters. In other states, Latinos helped power him to victory. Elsewhere, it was women who played a critical role. But while Obama won a series of closely contested battleground states, the campaign was ending with Americans as polarized as they were when it began nearly two years ago.

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2012 Election Coverage
  • Loebsack.jpg Dems pick up area national seats

    Democrat Rep. Dave Loebsack has been elected to a fourth term representing southeastern Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

    November 7, 2012 3 Photos

  • 29d744e862f22d1f200f6a706700f1e3.jpg GOP renews control of House

    Republicans recaptured control of the House early today, besting Democrats in a billion-dollar battle and ensuring that the chamber will be dominated by their conservative agenda.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 1.21.25 AM.png VIDEO: Obama in victory speech says 'best is yet to come'

    In his victory speech after being declared the projected winner over Gov. Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama thanked his supporters and said we are "an American family, we rise and fall together as one nation, as one people."

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 988dee58638e301f200f6a7067006eba.jpg Obama tapped for 2nd term

    A triumphant President Barack Obama heralded his re-election with a call to action early today, telling Americans that their citizenship doesn’t end with their vote and declaring that the “best is yet to come.”

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 12.33.47 AM.png VIDEO: Romney concedes election

    In his concession speech, Gov. Mitt Romney congratulated the President and his supporters.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • a625192462972b1f200f6a706700bafb.jpg Democrats maintain control of Senate

    In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin won a full term even though his state went heavily for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Obama carries Iowa, where economy was top issue

    President Barack Obama carried Iowa on Tuesday as voters said the economy isn't good, isn't necessarily getting better, but isn't Obama's fault, according to preliminary results from exit polling for The Associated Press.

    November 7, 2012

  • 16269f604b481f1f200f6a7067000374.jpg Iowa voters pick Obama in presidential election

    Democrat President Barack Obama won the battleground state of Iowa Tuesday, a hard-fought victory in the state he credits with launching his presidency four years ago.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • ELECT624.jpg Same president faced with reshaping new landscape

    After a long and arduous campaign, a newly reelected President Barack Obama confronts his next challenge: binding together a deeply divided nation and turning from campaigning to governing.

    November 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • money-grungy.jpg 'Fiscal cliff' clock starts as election fades to background

    After an election focused heavily on the economy and the soaring national debt, Washington will immediately turn to a year-end debate that has the potential to dramatically affect both: the looming "fiscal cliff."

    November 6, 2012 1 Photo

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