Obama delivers 'powerful' victory speech

Barack Obama delivered a commanding victory speech after winning his second term in office.

US First Lady Michelle Obama, US President Barack Obama, US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden celebrate on election night November 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama and Biden won re-election to a second 4-year term. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON/JOHANNESBURG - President Barack Obama has given a commanding and powerful victory speech, after rolling to reelection in the United States (US) presidential polls.

Speaking to thousands of supporters at his Chicago hometown a short while ago, Obama accepted another four years in the White House.

Obama said he returns to power more determined and inspired to move the country forward.

"[America] moves forward because you [the citizens] re-affirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope.

"We know in America that the best is yet to come."

"Whether I earned your votes or not, I have listed to you, I have learned from you...

We know you want action, not politics. You would like us to focus on your jobs, not ours."

The president also thanked his wife Michelle and two children.

"I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago… Michelle I have never loved you more.

Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes, you are growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful women, just like your mom."

Obama congratulated Romney and his team on a "hard-fought campaign".

"We may have battled fiercely, but it is only because we care so deeply for the country."

He said he looked forward to holding talks with Romney to talk about "America's future".

Obama overcame deep doubts among voters about his handling of the US economy to score a clear victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Americans chose to stick with a divided government in Washington, by keeping the Democratic incumbent in the White House and leaving the US Congress as it is, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans keeping the House of Representatives.

Romney, the multimillionaire former private equity executive, came back from a series of campaign stumbles to make it close after besting the president in the first of three presidential debates.

The 65-year-old former Massachusetts governor conceded in a gracious speech delivered to disappointed supporters at the Boston convention centre.

He had called Obama to concede defeat after a brief controversy over whether the president had really won Ohio.

"This is a time of great challenge for our nation," Romney told the crowd. "I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation."

He warned against partisan bickering and urged politicians on both sides to "put the people before the politics."

Obama scored impressive victories in the crucial state of Ohio and heavily contested swing states of Virginia, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado.

They carried the Democrat past the 270 electoral votes needed for victory in America's state-by-state system of choosing a president, and left Romney's senior advisers shell-shocked at the loss.

The nationwide popular vote remained extremely close.

Obama, America's first black president, won by convincing voters to stick with him as he tries to reignite strong economic growth and recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. An uneven recovery has been showing some signs of strength but the country's 7.9 percent jobless rate remains stubbornly high.

Obama's victory in the hotly contested swing state of Ohio, as projected by TV networks, was a major step in the fight for the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House and ended Romney's hopes of pulling off a string of swing-state upsets.

Obama scored narrow wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire all states that Romney had contested, while the only swing state captured by Romney was North Carolina, according to television network projections.

Romney initially delayed his concession as some Republicans questioned whether Obama had in fact won Ohio despite the decisions by election experts at all the major TV networks to declare it for the president.

The later addition of Colorado and Virginia to Obama's tally meant that even if the final result from Ohio were to be reversed, Romney still could not reach the needed number of electoral votes.

While Obama supporters in Chicago were ecstatic, Romney's Boston event was grim as the news was announced on television screens there. A steady stream of people left the ballroom at the Boston convention centre.