Even though Obama’s victory speech in Chicago was far less hopey-changey than his rockstar delivery four years ago, the re-elected president did still manage to sound a little as though he was delivering an address at a wedding, smoothing over the ugly bits and telling America that ‘the best is yet to come’.
Both he and Mitt Romney made calls for co-operation between Republicans and Democrats, with Obama saying:
‘Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours, and in the coming weeks and months I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to solve problems we can only solve together.’
He said he wanted to speak to Romney about where the Republican candidate might be able to work with him. Romney was gracious in defeat, too, saying he wished ‘all of them well, but particularly the President, the first lady and their daughters: this is a time of great challenges for America and I pray the President will be successful in guiding our nation’. Romney added:
‘The nation as you know is at a critical point. At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.’
But regardless of whether a defeated presidential candidate wishes the victor well, the test of this goodwill lies in Congress, where the balance of power remains the same after the Democrats retained control of the Senate and failed to overcome the Republicans in the House of Representatives, with John Boehner remaining speaker. The president still has a divided Congress to wrestle with. And it’s difficult to promise too much hope and change as the fiscal cliff looms. But Obama made scant reference of the real challenges that he faces, sticking to references to his beliefs about the future of America: