WASHINGTON – Emboldened by a resounding election victory, President Barack Obama immediately pledged to reach across America’s political divide and seek deals on stubborn issues that dogged his first term.
Obama scored a clear win over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in yesterday’s vote, overcoming deep doubts among voters about his handling of the weak US economy.
Americans chose to stick with a divided government in Washington, however, by leaving the US Congress as it has been since the mid-term elections of 2010. Obama’s fellow Democrats retain control of the Senate and Republicans keep the majority in the House of Representatives.
After a long, bitter and expensive campaign, the 51-year-old Obama struck a conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech in the early hours of this morning before thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago.
“You voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama said, calling for compromise and pledging to work with leaders of both parties to reduce the deficit, to reform the tax code and immigration laws, and to cut dependence on foreign oil.
Obama, who became the first black US president when he won the White House four years ago, told the crowd he hoped to sit down with Romney in the coming weeks and examine ways to meet the challenges ahead.
The problems that dogged Obama in his first term, which cast a long shadow over his 2008 election message of hope and change, still confront him. He must tackle the $1 trillion annual deficits, reduce a $16 trillion national debt, overhaul expensive social programs and deal with the split Congress.
The immediate focus for Obama and US lawmakers will be to confront the “fiscal cliff”, a mix of tax increases and spending cuts due to extract some $600 billion from the economy at the end of the year barring a deal with Congress. (Reuters)