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Obama Coasts to Second Term

Barrington M. Salmon | 11/7/2012, 9:40 a.m.

"Most of my friends and I are for Obama," said the 44-year-old events director. "He's not perfect but he stands for something. We understand what he's saying because he speaks our language."

Anderson, a Fort Lauderdale resident, said she was struck by a barrage of electoral problems affecting South Florida such as Broward election offices running out of ballots, voters having to wait in long lines and Republican Gov. Rick Scott's refusing to extend early voting hours.

"I just think there's some serious cheating going on, but I'm confident of his victory," she said. "I'm surprised it was this close. They kept on saying that it would be but I never believed it."

Political pundits characterized Obama's victory as historic because of the masterful way a black man secured a second presidential term. His campaign team is credited with using advanced market segmentation, metrics, and micro-targeting, an army of campaign workers, a few million phone calls and an energized base along with a coalition of African Americans, Latinos, women and young people to win.

Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia strolled out to meet a rapturous crowd at 1:37 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. He smiled broadly as people cheered loudly and waved small American flags.

"Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!" they chanted.

"Tonight more than 200 years after a former colony earned the right to decide its own destiny, despite the tasks that we're facing, we are moving forward," he intoned.

Obama spoke of the extreme difficulties the country has faced.

"While the journey has been hard [but] we have picked ourselves up, clawed our way out and we know in our hearts that in the United States of America, the best is yet to come," he said to loud cheers.

Obama thanked all who voted, particularly those who worked in far away, isolated places on behalf of the campaign.

"You made your voice heard and you made a difference," he said. "We may have battled fiercely but it's only because we love this country so deeply."

Obama won't have much time to savor the victory. Early on Election night, House Speaker John Boehner [R-Ohio], announced that Obama shouldn't make the mistake of thinking his win means he can raise taxes on the rich and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R. Ky.] - who made it clear that his primary job was to make Obama a one-term president - also threw down the gauntlet.

Political Scientist and Howard University Professor Wilmer Leon said he wishes Obama and his surrogates would do more to highlight the reality of Republican obstructionism.

Leon, 53, said Obama needs to be much more assertive and take more time to explain to the public what the opposition is doing and why.

"It's not that the president is a divider. People like McConnell have said from the outset that he planned to make the president a one-termer," he said. "The president can't change the landscape. He needs to change the way he traverses the landscape. You can't negotiate and placate people who are looking to [your] political demise. He has to confront them at every turn, use the bully pulpit to show what he feels and what his position is."