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0007030100000000000 President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama waves as he walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Published: 11/7/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

President captures Ohio and most swing states

Dramatic 2012 race results in 2nd term

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Pres­i­dent Obama won elec­tion to a sec­ond term Tues­day over Re­pub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney on the strength of his show­ing in tra­di­tion­ally Demo­cratic states as well as sweep­ing the heav­ily con­tested bat­tle­ground states of Ohio, Vir­ginia, Col­o­rado, Iowa, Wis­con­sin, Ne­vada, and New Hamp­shire, with Flor­ida too close to call.

At 1 a.m., Mr. Obama had 303 elec­toral votes to 203 elec­toral votes for Mr. Rom­ney, but the pop­u­lar vote in the coun­try was split down the mid­dle. With 77 per­cent of the vote counted across the coun­try, Mr. Obama had 51,052,000 votes com­pared to 50,814,000 votes for Mr. Rom­ney — 49 per­cent to 49 per­cent — in­di­cat­ing a deeply di­vided na­tion.

Mr. Obama, 51, over­came at­tacks from Re­pub­li­cans over the stag­nant econ­omy and the $5 tril­lion that was added to the na­tional debt dur­ing his term to eke out vic­to­ries in each of the bat­tle­ground states - with the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of Flor­ida, which he lead by a slight mar­gin.

He won Ohio by 50 per­cent to 48 per­cent, and car­ried Mr. Rom­ney's home state of Mich­i­gan with 54.1 per­cent of the vote.

2012 ELECTION RESULTS

President Barack Obama celebrates after his speech at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. President Barack Obama celebrates after his speech at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
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Mr. Rom­ney, 65, a for­mer Mas­sa­chu­setts gov­er­nor and multi-mil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who grew up an hour’s drive away from here in sub­ur­ban Detroit, cam­paigned ag­gres­sively to ap­ply his busi­ness smarts to pull the econ­omy out of a lon­grun­ning funk and put 23 mil­lion un­em­ployed Amer­i­cans back to work. He vowed to re­peal “eeeeeeeeeObam­ac­are” — the Af­ford­able Care Act, though vot­ers were well aware he had im­ple­mented a very sim­i­lar health in­sur­ance man­date in Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Mr. Obama fought back, slam­ming Mr. Rom­ney as an out-of-touch plu­to­crat who har­vested strug­gling com­pa­nies for quick prof­its, pi­o­neered the prac­tice of out­sourc­ing jobs to China, and wanted to give tax cuts to mil­lion­aires by rais­ing taxes on the mid­dle class.

Mr. Rom­ney con­ceded at 12:56 a.m., when he said he had just called Pres­i­dent Obama to con­grat­u­late him on his vic­tory.

His voice hoarse from cam­paign­ing right through Elec­tion Day, in­clud­ing a cam­paign stop in the Cleve­land area, Mr. Rom­ney told sup­port­ers that while he had hoped to lead the coun­try in a new di­rec­tion and that he still be­lieved in the prin­ci­ples he ran on, vot­ers chose oth­er­wise. He said that he hoped Dem­o­crats and Re­pub­li­cans could join to­gether and do the pub­lic's work, and said he wished the Pres­i­dent well.

“This is a time of great chal­lenges for Amer­ica and I pray the Pres­i­dent will be suc­cess­ful in guid­ing our na­tion,” Mr. Rom­ney said.

Both can­di­dates bat­tered their op­po­nents with their own some­times ill-cho­senn words — Mr. Obama for sug­gest­ing that the pri­vate sec­tor was "do­ing fine" and that small busi­ness own­ers "didn't build" their own busi­nesses," and Mr. Rom­ney for say­ing that 47 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion was de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment and con­sid­ered them­selves vic­tims.

With 91 per­cent of Ohio pre­cincts re­port­ing, Mr. Obama was ahead by less than 2 per­cent­age points. About 1.5 per­cent of the vote was shared by five can­di­dates, the larg­est of which was Lib­er­tar­ian Gary John­son with just un­der 1 per­cent. Mr. John­son cam­paigned last week­end in Bowl­ing Green.

As ex­pected, Mr. Obama car­ried heav­ily Demo­cratic Lu­cas County by 64 pe­cent to 33.4 per­cent. Four years ago, he won Lu­cas County 142,852 to 73,706, or with 64 per­cent of the vote.

Voter turn­out was higher in Lu­cas County than four years ago. In 2008, with 318,036 vot­ers on the rolls, the turn­out was 70 per­cent, with 220,457 vot­ers. The county went through a purge of in­ac­tive vot­ers two years ago, re­duc­ing the reg­is­tra­tion to 310,123.

What may have been the key is­sue in Ohio, a cru­cial swing state that no Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dent has ever failed to win, was the con­trast be­tween Mr. Obama's 2009 bail­out of the auto in­dus­try and Mr. Rom­ney's rec­om­men­da­tion in a 2008 New York Times col­umn ti­tled, "Let Detroit Go Bank­rupt."

Mr. Obama en­gi­neered a res­cue plan to save Chrysler LLC and Gen­eral Mo­tors from a cat­a­strophic bank­ruptcy, at a cost to tax­pay­ers of $80 bil­lion. Dem­o­crats said the move saved 150,000 jobs di­rectly con­nected with the auto in­dus­try and as many as 600,000 oth­ers that re­lied in­di­rectly on auto and parts man­u­fac­tur­ing.

After the car com­pa­nies re­bounded from their 2009 bank­ruptcy re­struc­tur­ing, Pres­i­dent Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden made sev­eral high-pro­file trips to Toledo to bask in the glory.

By the time he visted the Jeep plant in Toledo in 2011, all three do­mes­tic auto­makers were prof­it­able for the first time since 2004, and all were gain­ing mar­ket share for the first time since 1995. Mr. Obama said he bet on the Amer­i­can worker to save more than 1 mil­lion jobs that would have been de­stroyed in a cas­cade of auto-re­lated busi­ness fail­ures that would have fol­lowed the col­lapse of GM and Chrysler.

“That’s why we stood by the Amer­i­can auto in­dus­try … and what you’ve done vin­di­cates my faith,” Mr. Obama said then.

An Obama cam­paign TV com­mer­cial fea­tured Toledo auto worker Brian Slagle, now of Spring­field Town­ship, who feared he would lose his job.

"Obama stuck his neck out for us, the auto in­dus­try. He wasn't go­ing to let it just die, and I'm driv­ing in this morn­ing be­cause of that, be­cause of him," Mr. Slagle said in the TV ad for the Obama cam­paign.

Mr. Rom­ney found him­self boxed in due to his strongly worded ed­i­to­rial for the New York Times in No­vem­ber, 2008. The col­umn said he would sup­port gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees of pri­vate loans, and Mr. Rom­ney and his sur­ro­gates ar­gued in vain that Mr. Obama ac­tu­ally fol­lowed his ad­vice, since the com­pa­nies lit­er­ally went through a man­aged bank­ruptcy.

A slip of the tongue at a rally in De­fi­ance Oct. 25 may have sealed Mr. Rom­ney's fate. Quot­ing from a news re­port that Chrysler said was in­ac­cu­rate, Mr. Rom­ney told the crowd he heard Chrysler was con­sid­er­ing mov­ing all of its Jeep pro­duc­tion to China.

Mr. Rom­ney backed away slightly but not much when he pro­duced a round of ra­dio and TV ads that sounded like they threat­ened the same thing.

Far from phas­ing out pro­duc­tion, Chrysler is in the pro­cess of in­vest­ing $500 mil­lion in its Toledo plant with plans to hire 1,100 ad­di­tional work­ers in 2013.

Jim Ru­volo, of Ot­tawa Hills, a for­mer state Demo­cratic chair­man, said he urged the Obama cam­paign early in 2011 to tar­get the auto bail­out in Ohio.

"I said if you’re go­ing to win this state it’s be­cause of the auto res­cue," Mr. Ru­volo said. He said exit polls showed that a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers ap­proved of the auto res­cue. "He wouldn't even have been in the ball­game with­out it.

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters before conceding at his election night rally. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters before conceding at his election night rally.
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"I ques­tion why the Rom­ney peo­ple raised it the way they did in the end. It just called at­ten­tion to his bank­ruptcy state­ment. They may have been des­per­ate," Mr. Ru­volo said.

Ken Lortz, the di­rec­tor of the United Auto Work­ers union for the states of Ohio and In­di­ana, said the auto res­cue gal­va­nized work­ers in sup­port of Mr. Obama.

"Ohio’s got more auto sup­plier plants than any other state. That’s just huge in this en­tire cam­paign. I truly be­lieve this coun­try could have suf­fered an­other Great De­pres­sion if not for those auto loans," Mr. Lortz said. "I've seen work­ers re­ally ex­cited and en­er­gized about this cam­paign, but when the Jeep com­ments came out, that just took it to an­other level. And when he kept re­peat­ing those com­ments in com­mer­cials, we used that to just fur­ther en­er­gize our folks."

Mr. Obama and Mr. Rom­ney each made more than 30 cam­paign ap­pear­ances in Ohio just since May, fol­low­ing the end of the di­vi­sive Re­pub­li­can pri­mary elec­tion. Their wives and run­ning mates also made cam­paign ap­pear­ances, as did Jill Biden, wife of the Vice Pres­i­dent.

More money was spent on the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in Ohio than in any other state, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Na­tional Jour­nal -- $116 mil­lion by the two cam­paigns.

Pres­i­dent Obama made two cam­paign trips into Toledo. On July 5 he launched a three-day bus tour of north­ern Ohio at the Wol­cott House Mu­seum Com­plex in Maumee, with stops in Oak Har­bor, an out­door fruit stand near Port Clin­ton, and San­dusky, and con­tin­u­ing on through Cuya­hoga County to Pitts­burgh.

On Sept. 3, La­bor Day, Pres­i­dent Obama led a spir­ited rally of union sup­port­ers in Scott High School, af­ter shak­ing hands and mak­ing small talk in an un­an­nounced stop at Rick's City Diner near the Univer­sity of Toledo. He also cam­paigned in Lima and Bowl­ing Green.

Mr. Rom­ney vis­ited Toledo in Feb­ru­ary, stump­ing among Re­pub­li­cans at a North Toledo steel post fac­tory, when he was still vy­ing for the GOP nom­i­na­tion.

He re­turned for a large rally held in the SeaGate Cen­tre on Sept. 26, where he told his lis­ten­ers, "The Pres­i­dent just the other day said you can't change Wash­ing­ton from the in­side, you can only change it from the out­side. Well, we're go­ing to give him that chance on Nov. 6," a line he was to use in many more ral­lies be­fore the elec­tion was over.

Mr. Rom­ney held a rally in Bowl­ing Green and his wife held a "Women for Mitt" rally on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Find­lay.

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Re­pub­li­can run­ning mate Paul Ryan also cam­paigned in north­west­ern Ohio.

One thing the two can­di­dates agreed on was choice of ac­com­mo­da­tions. Both used the Hil­ton Ho­tel on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Toledo Med­i­cal Center to lodge their large con­tin­gents of cam­paign aides, Se­cret Ser­vice agents, and trav­el­ing jour­nal­ists.

"It's tough to beat an in­cum­bent pres­i­dent," said Ohio Re­pub­li­can Chair­man Bob Ben­nett of Mr. Rom­ney's los­ing ef­fort to un­seat Mr. Obama. He noted that Mr. Rom­ney was also trail­ing in Flor­ida and Col­o­rado, so Ohio wasn't the de­ter­min­ing state, and it kept its bell­wether sta­tus. "Once again we mir­rored the na­tion. As goes Ohio so goes the na­tion."

Former Toledo Mayor Carty Fink­beiner, who was in Chi­cago to cel­e­brate with the Obama cam­paign, said the Obama strat­e­gists fo­cused on key swing states and planned early to run against Mitt Rom­ney.

"It worked, but not by a lot," Mr. Fink­beiner said.

When asked the cause of Mr. Rom­ney's de­feat, state Demo­cratic Chair­man Chris Red­fern ut­tered four words, “Let Detroit go bank­rupt.”

“The Jeep fa­cil­ity, which was built with the sup­port of a Re­pub­li­can gov­er­nor, George Voi­nov­ich, Re­pub­li­can Gov. Bob Taft, and a Demo­cratic gov­er­nor, Ted Strick­land, now finds it­self not be­ing sup­ported by a Re­pub­li­can gov­er­nor, John Ka­sich,” he said. “It's re­ally re­mark­able that a Re­pub­li­can gov­er­nor of a state that de­pends so heav­ily on man­u­fac­tur­ing and the Amer­i­can au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try would lit­er­ally walk away from that in­dus­try and hold hands with Mitt Rom­ney, who lit­er­ally be­lieved then, as he be­lieves now, that Detroit should go bank­rupt.”

One Toledo voter who sup­ported Mr. Obama said he de­served an­other four years, and said it was wrong for his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents to tar­get him for de­feat al­most as soon as he was sworn into of­fice.

"He was about mak­ing changes," said Jan­ni­fer Camp­bell, 60, of South Toledo, a re­tired Toledo Pub­lic Schools teacher. "Obam­ac­are is good, the fact that he's put­ting in more money to help teach­ers, that's good. He was help­ing peo­ple that needed a help­ing hand." If she had a com­plaint, it's that Mr. Obama is too nice.

"He did a lot of good that peo­ple didn't give him credit for. He didn't learn to toot his own horn," Ms. Camp­bell said.

Dan Mar­tin, 35, owner of two Miss­cue pool hall tav­erns in Toledo, said his busi­ness is suf­fer­ing from the reg­u­la­tions and taxes he said are im­posed by the gov­ern­ment. He sup­ported Mr. Rom­ney but would have voted Lib­er­tar­ian if he thought a Lib­er­tar­ian could win.

“I can’t see why any­body in their right mind would put Barack Obama back in of­fice af­ter the last three years. I voted Re­pub­li­can across the board. Ev­ery­thing the Dem­o­crats do tends to make it harder and harder for me to run my busi­ness,” said Mr. Mar­tin, who voted at Glen­dale-Feil­bach School in South Toledo, with his wife, Amy Mar­tin, 29, and their sons, Ben­ja­min and Natha­niel.

Con­tact Tom Troy at:

tom­troy@the­blade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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