The best is yet to come, triumphant Barack Obama said after winning a second term as US president and thanked “every American” that had participated in the fiercely fought election.
Acknowledging the greeting of thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago, Obama, who defeated Republican Mitt Romney to get a second term in the White House, said: “Tonight in this election you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”
He congratulated Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan on a “hard fought campaign”.
“We may have battled fiercely,” Obama said, “but only because we care about this country so deeply”.
Obama, 51, the first African American president of the US and a powerful orator, said that he looked forward to taking to Romney in the weeks ahead to take the country forward.
“I want to thank every American who participated in this election,” Obama told the crowd.
“Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very, very long time – by the way we have to fix that – whether you pounded the pavement… or whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign you made a difference,” he said.
The nation, he told the gathering, “moves forward because of you… because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war, over depression”.
Obama who had appeared on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia also acknowledged their contribution.
The journey, he said, would not have been possible without the woman who married him 20 years ago.
“Michelle, I never loved you more,” he said.
He said he’s hoping to work with Republicans to solve the nation’s problems.
President Obama said he wants to meet with Romney to discuss how to work together.
In his 20-minute speech, President Obama touched on familiar themes he has emphasized throughout his presidency. He urged people to come together and said he would work with leaders in both parties to improve education, spur innovation, reduce debt and lessen global warming.
“We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world. A nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known,” he said.
He made references to victims of Superstorm Sandy and the Navy SEALS who killed Osama Bin Laden.
“This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich,” he said. “We have the most powerful military in history but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities, our culture are the envy of the world but that’s not what keep the world coming to our shore.”
It’s “the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another.”
Obama pledged to work with Democratic and Republican leaders to reduce the nation’s federal deficit, fix the tax code, reform immigration and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.