A T E S T N E W S
Barack Obama gets second term
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama swept to re-election on Tuesday, creating history again by defying the undertow of a slow economic recovery and high unemployment to beat Republican foe Mitt Romney.
Obama became only the second Democrat to win a second four-year White House term since World War II, when television networks projected he would win the bellwether state of Ohio where he had staged a pitched battle with Romney.
"This happened because of you. Thank you," Obama tweeted to his 22 million followers on Twitter as a flurry of states, including Iowa, which nurtured his unlikely White House dreams suddenly tipped into his column.
With a clutch of swing states, including Florida and Virginia still to be declared, Obama already had 275 electoral votes, more than the 270 needed for the White House and looked set for a comfortable victory.
There was a sudden explosion of jubilation at Obama's Chicago victory party as the first African American president, who was elected on a wave of hope and euphoria four years ago, booked another four years in the White House.
Romney's aides had predicted that a late Romney wave would sweep Obama from office after a single term haunted by a sluggish recovery from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s Great Depression and high unemployment.
But a huge cheer rang out at Obama headquarters when television networks projectedObama would retain Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, and the party grew wilder as they called Wisconsin and Michigan.
The mood at Romney headquarters in Boston however had grown subdued throughout the evening as partisans stared at their smart phones.
Disappointed Republicans were seen leaving what had been billed as a celebration of Romney's expected triumph in central Washington.
Defeats in New Hampshire, where Romney has a summer home and Wisconsin, the home of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were especially sickening for Republicans.
Early signs were that the election, while a building triumph for Obama would do little to ease the deep polarization afflicting US politics, as Republicans racked up huge margins in safe states, though struggled in battlegrounds.
Exit polls appeared to vindicate the vision of the race offered by Obama's campaign, when top aides predicted that Obama's armies of African American, Latinos and young voters would come out in droves.
Polls also showed that though only 39 percent of people believed that the economy was improving, around half of Americans blamed President George W. Bush for the tenuous situation, and not Obama.
The president, who made history by becoming America's first black president after a euphoric victory, carved a new precedent on Tuesday by defying the portents of a hurting economy to win a second term.
He awaited his fate in his hometown of Chicago, while Romney, a multi-millionaire former investment manager and Massachusetts governor was laying low in a hotel in Boston awaiting results.
As expected, television networks projected that Republicans would win the House of Representatives.
Democrats clung onto the Senate, and retained a seat in Missouri, where Senator Claire McCaskill fended off a challenge by Representative Todd Akin, whose remarks about rape and abortion sparked national outrage.
Both presidential candidates had earlier marked time while voters dictated their fates.
Romney appeared caught up in the emotion of seeing his name on the ballot for President of the United States and also saw an omen in a huge crowd that showed up at a multi-story parking lot to see his plane land at Pittsburgh airport.
"Intellectually I felt that we're going to win this and I've felt that for some time," Romney told reporters on his plane.
"But emotionally, just getting off the plane and seeing those people standing there... I not only think we're going to win intellectually but I feel it as well."
While Romney penned his victory speech, Obama took part in his election day tradition of playing a game of pick-up basketball with friends, including Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen, after visiting a campaign office near his Chicago home.
The president, who like a third of Americans voted before election day, congratulated Romney on "a spirited campaign" despite their frequently hot tempered exchanges.
"I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today. We feel confident we've got the votes to win, that it's going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out," he said.
"I think anybody who's running for office would be lying if they say that there's not some butterflies before the polls come in because anything can happen," the president added later in a radio interview.
CBS News, quoting early exit polls, said 39 percent of people approached after they had voted said the economy, the key issue, was improving, while 31 percent said it was worse and 28 saw it as staying the same. AFP
'The best is yet to come for the
CHICAGO: US President Barack Obama told cheering supporters early Wednesday that "the best is yet to come" for the United States as he stormed to a second term by defeating Republican Mitt Romney.
After taking the stage at a raucous Chicago victory party with wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama returned to the themes of his re-election bid, vowing to fight for the middle class and the American dream.
"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," Obama told hundreds of cheering supporters.
"We know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come."
Obama said he had spoken to Romney, congratulating him and his running mate Paul Ryan on a "hard-fought campaign" and vowing to sit down with the former Massachusetts governor to discuss the way forward.
"We may have battled fiercely but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future," Obama said.
"In the weeks ahead I also look forward to sitting down with governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward."
Obama reached out to those who supported his opponent in the closely-fought race, saying: "Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. You've made me a better president.
"With your stories and your struggles I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead," he said.
"Despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America."
Obama thanked the army of campaign workers and volunteers whose efforts secured his re-election to a second four-year term, calling them the "best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics."
Near the end of his speech Obama hinted at a more far-reaching agenda in his second term despite the lingering partisan gridlock in Washington, calling for a future that "isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet."
"I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of individual ambitions," Obama said.
"Together with your help and God's Grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States." AFP
India congratulates Obama
NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday congratulated US President Barack Obama on his re-election and said it looked forward to deepening multi-faceted engagement between the two countries in the years ahead. "The government and people of India send their congratulations to President Obama on his
winning a second mandate from the people of the US who have expressed their will in the great tradition of democracy in their country," the
External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are separately sending messages of congratulations to President Obama on his re-election, said the ministry.
Alluding to extensive bilateral cooperation and partnership based on shared values based on belief in democracy, the rule of law and pluralism, the ministry said India looked "forward to continuing to deepen and widen the engagement between India and the US in the years ahead". IANS
Indo-US ties to be stronger with Obama
NEW DELHI: Finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday expressed the hope that economic ties with the United States would improve with the re-election of Barack Obama as the US President.
"I congratulate President Obama. I hope that Indo-US relations (will) get stronger...especially economic relations", he told reporters in New Delhi.
Obama won the election to get a second term as the US President overcoming a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney.
A votary of strong ties with India, 51-year-old Obama, the first black American to occupy the White House, scored the victory after a bitter and costly campaign running over months.
Leaders of India Inc too have welcomed the re-election of Obama saying that continuity would be good for bilateral relations, but some of them expressed concerns over the outsourcing issue.
This is a good development for India. Between two large economies there will be issues and concerns. Outsourcing is also a concern and I hope it will be addressed soon, Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on India in
Expressing similar views, Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: It is on expected lines but there was some heat reported in the last few days. I think it will be good for India. There will be continuity.
When asked about concerns over outsourcing he said: I have heard this in the previous election. We saw Clinton go very heavy on outsourcing and we did not see anyone of these impacting our outsourcing business or relationships.
Obama has won a second term in office overcoming a stiff initial challenge from his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
During the presidential campaign, Obama had criticised outsourcing of jobs to countries like India saying that US needs to create jobs locally.
The US and European markets account for over 80 per cent of revenues of the Indian IT industry.
However, NIIT Chairman Rajendra S. Pawar said that with the election, the rhetoric is also over and we are back to business. It is good for America and Indian IT sector.
BPO industry veteran and former CEO of Genpact Pramod Bhasin, however, said the issue of outsourcing was more than a plain election rhetoric.
I think there will be greater implications as he (Obama) focuses on issues like unemployment. I just hope he remains true to free trade and all the other things that he talks about so well, he said. PTI
BJP, will carry on fight against Gadkari: Jethmalani
NEW DELHI: BJP's Rajya Sabha member Ram
Jethmalani, who has demanded the resignation of Nitin Gadkari over "dubious" funding of his company, today said he will carry on his fight against the BJP president but will not quit the party.
"I will carry on my fight alone if necessary, whatever the BJP might decide...I won't resign from the party, because I want to carry on the fight. Why should I?," Jethmalani said when asked if he was considering resigning from the party after Gadkari got a reprieve following RSS support.
Jethmalani, however, left it to the BJP leadership to decide on whether to allow Gadkari to continue. "They are respectable people, they hear everything what is happening in the press. It is for them to decide," he said.
He said RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy had promised to send the documents relating to Gadkari's company to him with an explanatory note.
"He also promised that Gadkari will be willing to answer questions that you have to ask and he will come to you and answer those questions," the eminent lawyer said.
Jethmalani, who had created ripples yesterday by publicly demanding Gadkari's resignation and raised serious questions over his continuance as party chief, had softened his stand after his meeting with Gurumurthy last evening, who tried to convince him that the allegations against Gadkari were baseless.
Jethmalani had said that he may like to ask questions to the BJP President in a bid to convince himself of his innocence and had demanded documents which may prove that BJP chief's company was not involved in dubious
"I told him (Gurumurthy) that it may be necessary for me to ask Gadkari a few questions. He says don't worry about it.
If you want to ask questions, Gadkari will answer them," Jethmalani had said after the meeting with
Gadkari has been under attack from various quarters after a media expose of the alleged dubious funding of a company run by him. He has refused to quit as BJP chief maintaining that he has offered himself for any probe on the issue. PTI