President Barack Obama, whose hope-and-change campaign promises yielded to grim economic realities in the White House, defied history to win re-election last night, as wary Americans seeing glimmers of a recovery handed him a second chance.
Obama was re-elected with the highest unemployment rate of any president returned to office since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936 and became only the second Democrat since Roosevelt to win another term.
He prevailed over Republican nominee Mitt Romney narrowly in the popular vote, yet achieved an electoral sweep by carrying the crucial states of Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. In doing so, he kept intact the coalition of women, minority voters and young people that originally propelled him to office as the first black U.S. president.
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Left, a stagehand works in the ballroom of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, on Nov. 4.