Re-elected president tells supporters, 'I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests'
After winning a second term, President Barack Obama in his acceptance speech early this morning, said he would reach out to leaders of both parties to "meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."
"Now, we will disagree," he said, "sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over."
The president spoke before thousands of supports in Chicago after defeating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 303 to 206 electoral votes.
The Republican's held onto the U.S. House and the Democrats retain control of the Senate.
In his concession speech, Romney said, "I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something."
1:52 a.m. EDT: Obama to a rally of his Chicago supporters: `We have picked ourselves up,' fought our way back, `best is yet to come.' Romney telephoned the president, then spoke to disappointed supporters in Boston. In a graceful concession, he summoned all Americans to pray for the president and urged the night's winners to put partisan bickering aside and "reach across the aisle" to tackle the nation's problems.
12:45 a.m. EDT: AP says Romney wins Montana (3).
12:40 a.m. EDT: Obama wins Virginia (13), AP reports.
12:28 a.m. EDT: In Indiana, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly upset Republican Richard Mourdock. Many believe it was because of Mourdock's recent comments about rape and pregnancy.
12:20 a.m. EDT: Washington state has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, AP says.
12:06 a.m. EDT: Maine voters have legalized gay marriage, AP reports.
12:05 a.m. EDT: Romney has not yet conceded.
11:55 p.m. EDT: Obama wins Wisconsin, Paul Ryan's home state, Colorado and Nevada, AP reports. Wisconsin has 10 votes, Colorado has 9 and Nevada has 6.
11:45 p.m. EDT: AP reports that Democrats retain control of the Senate.
11:40 p.m. EDT: AP calls the race for Obama. He has won re-election.
11:30 p.m. EDT: Obama wins Oregon (7), AP reports.
11:20 p.m. EDT: Obama takes the important swing state of Ohio (18), AP reports. He also takes Iowa (6). CNN has just called the election for Obama, and Obama just tweeted "We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned, and that's who we are. Thank you."
11:10 p.m. EDT: AP reports that Obama wins New Mexico (5) and Romney takes Missouri (10). Obama supporters and people at his campaign headquarters are going crazy, anticipating re-election.
11:05 p.m. EDT: CNN is predicting that Democrats will retain control of the Senate.
11:02 p.m. EDT: Obama takes California (55), Washington (12) and Hawaii (4), AP reports, and Romney wins Idaho (4). Ohio and Florida are still too close to call, but Obama is moving close to re-election.
11 p.m. EDT: Romney wins North Carolina (15), AP reports. Obama takes Minnesota (10).
10:45 p.m. EDT: Romney takes Arizona (11), AP reports.
10:20 p.m. EDT: AP is predicting that Elizabeth Warren will win the Massachusetts Senate seat against Scott Brown. And media outlets are predicting that controversial candidate Todd Akin will lose the Senate race in Missouri. Akin made news after he commented about "legitimate rape."
10:06 p.m. EDT: Obama wins New Hampshire (4), AP says. At the moment, Romney is winning 159-143.
10 p.m. EDT: Romney wins Utah (6), AP reports.
9:50 p.m. EDT: Battleground update: Obama is holding a 53 percent to 45 percent lead in Ohio, with 20 percent of precincts reporting. Florida is extremely tight, with Romney holding a 10,000-vote lead with 62 percent of precincts reporting.
AP just called Pennsylvania for Obama. The state has 20 Electoral votes.
9:40 p.m. EDT: Early returns show the Democrats retaining control of the Senate, USA Today reports. If early results hold, the House will remain in Republican hands and the Senate will remain in Democratic hands.
CNN and Fox News are projecting Obama will take Pennsylvania's 20 votes.
9:15 p.m. EDT: AP reports that Obama wins New Jersey (14) and Romney wins Arkansas (6) and Mississippi (6).
9:10 p.m. EDT: CNN is projecting that Republicans will retain control of the House. AP is reporting that Obama wins New York (29) and Michigan (16). Romney takes Nebraska (5), Wyoming (3), Kansas 6), Louisiana (8), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (3) and Texas (38).
Florida is amazingly close and basically 50 percent to 50 percent at the moment, CNN and other outlets are reporting.
8:55 p.m. EDT: Romney wins Alabama (9), AP says.
Exit poll fun: Romney is winning among independent voters in the key states in of Ohio and Virginia, Politico reports.
8:30 p.m. EDT: Romney wins Tennessee's 11 votes, AP says. He also wins Georgia (16).
8 p.m. EDT: AP called Indiana (11), Oklahoma (7) and South Carolina (9) for Romney, and Connecticut (7), Maine (4), Rhode Island (4), Delaware (3), D.C. (3), Illinois (20), Maryland (10) and Massachusetts (11) for Obama. Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts and has his campaign headquarters in Boston.
Exit poll fun: An AP analysis found that almost half of voters blame President George W. Bush for the poor economy.
7:30 p.m. EDT: CNN is projecting Romney will win Indiana and its 11 votes. The AP is calling West Virginia (5) for Romney. Vermont has 3 votes, and Kentucky has 8.
7 p.m. EDT: AP and CNN projected a win for Romney in Kentucky and a win for Obama in Vermont.
Today, voters also were selecting the new Congress, and 11 states were picking a governor.
6:30 p.m. EDT: CNN reported that according to exit polls, the economy was the top issue with voters today.
Politico reported that 45 percent of voters said they think "Obamacare" should be partially or fully repealed.
6 p.m. EDT: Long lines and problems with voting machines cropped up on Election Day across the country, but there didn't appear to be any major problems. In one instance, a voting machine checked off Mitt Romney if a voter selected President Barack Obama, and in Philadelphia, there was a confrontation involving Republican inspectors.
In Virginia and Florida, lines that took about two hours led some voters to just walk away from the polls. Long lines were reported in other parts of the country as well.
The Associated Press reported that the Election Protection coalition had received almost 70,000 calls to its voter-protection hotline.
Meanwhile, Obama and Romney were in their home states to watch the results come in. Romney said, "We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful." Obama congratulated Romney after his traditional Election Day basketball game: "I also want to say to Gov. Romney, 'Congratulations on a spirited campaign.' I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today."