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Geoffrey Hale

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What the Obama Win Means for Canada

Posted: 11/08/2012 7:58 am

The smoke is just starting to settle from a bitter campaign. But for Canadian diplomats in Washington and beyond the Beltway, it's back to business as usual with the reelection of President Obama and similar partisan alignments in a divided Congress.

In sharp contrast to 2008, when NAFTA was a four-letter word for much of the American public, North American issues were broadly irrelevant to the 2012 campaign. Canada remains a fortunate afterthought in American domestic politics -- although particular cross-border issues remain subject to the crossfires of interest group politics.

The tone of bilateral relations has improved since 2009 as the Obama administration largely diffused the major issues which roiled relations with its neighbours -- whether those inherited from the Bush administration or triggered by the Democratic Congress elected in 2008.

Rather than pursuing closer North American integration with Canada and Mexico, it replaced the Bush administration's Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) process with separate, if parallel initiatives on border management, security and regulatory cooperation. If anything, that suited both Ottawa and Mexico City -- while diffusing nationalist and union-based suspicions of North American integration in all three countries.

Security cooperation has improved since the cautious implementation of the Bush administration's passport requirements in mid-2009. Changes to Canadian immigration policies which have accelerated since Mr. Harper's reelection in mid-2011 were pursued mainly for domestic policy purposes -- but certainly haven't hurt relations with Washington. The bilateral Softwood Lumber agreement of 2006 was quietly extended through 2015. Tough negotiations, while conducted mainly under the political radar, secured Canadian (and Mexican) admission to Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with American support.

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  • Here's a look at the issues he and other Canada-U.S. watchers feel will land on the big desk in the Oval Office in the months and years to come. <strong><em>With files from CBC</em></strong>

  • Energy Policy

    Wilkins puts energy policy at the top of the list of Canadian issues facing the next U.S. president. "It is a huge part of our trade relationship and obviously the controversial issue right now is the approval of the Keystone pipeline," said Wilkins. "I think that has the most immediate and profound impact on the relationship of the two countries. It can mean thousands of jobs in the U.S. It can mean more Canadian energy flowing to the U.S. and would give us a little more energy independence from some of the other countries that we depend on that don't necessarily like us, like Venezuela." Romney has said he will approve Keystone XL, a 1,900-kilometre project that would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Obama initially welcomed TransCanada Corp.'s $7.6-billion plan, but put it temporarily on hold late last year, asking the State Department to take another look at a new route that would bypass the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area in Nebraska. Keystone XL has faced significant opposition from environmentalists, who both oppose oilsands development and view the pipeline itself as an ecological disaster waiting to happen. Don Abelson, director of the Canada-U.S. Institute at Western University in London, Ont., says energy policy is a critical cross-border issue that's not going to go away. "Both Obama and Romney are very well aware of what's going on in Western Canada and how the United States could benefit from that, so there's been a lot of discussion about North American energy independence and lessening their dependence on the Middle East."

  • Trade

    In his view, Abelson says "first and foremost" among the Canadian issues facing the next U.S. president is "our concern about trade and the border." "It's always a concern that not only the next president but the next Congress looks favourably upon the importance of the trade relationship between the two countries and that as committed as both countries are to maintaining a secure border, that they don't lose sight of the importance of allowing for the unfettered movement of goods and services." In the past four years, there have been some protectionist tendencies on the U.S. side, including Buy America clauses in bills, one of which, restricting public works projects to U.S.-made steel and manufactured goods, was passed by Congress "I think there was some expectation that when Barack Obama became president in 2008 that he would not be as committed to thickening the border," says Abelson. But "clearly he has been." Wilkins, a Republican, also feels that Buy America clauses are protectionist and not helpful. "I'm hopeful that they won't come up again, but I think if you have an Obama administration the likelihood is higher than if you have a Romney administration."

  • Border Security

    Late last year, Canada and the U.S. signed a new perimeter security and trade agreement that aimed to make everything from travel to cross-border business easier. But the deal came with negotiations to ease American security concerns and means the two countries will share information about who enters and exits the country. Canada will adopt two U.S. screening measures: an electronic travel authorization for visitors who don't need visas to travel to Canada, and a system to deny boarding to inadmissible passengers before they get on the plane. Security at the border is another "huge" Canadian issue for the next U.S. president, but Abelson doesn't think it will necessarily become harder for people crossing from one country to another. "I think we'll continue to see co-operation between both countries in terms of sharing intelligence and information," he says, adding that more is also going to have to be done when it comes to border infrastructure such as bridges and roads.

  • Foreign Policy

    Abelson says Canada should be concerned about the foreign policy direction of the next U.S. administration. "I don't think Canadians have the appetite or the stomach for going back to a time where the United States was putting pressure on us to become involved in military conflicts," he says, adding "the issue that's going to be on the agenda of the next president will be Iran and possibly Syria. "From a Canadian perspective, we want to be very careful that regardless of who's occupying the Oval Office, that we are not under pressure or put under intense pressure to become involved in future military conflicts unless our direct national security interests are at stake." And then there's China. Canada's navy played a key role this summer in the world's largest international naval exercise, which has as a main worry the possibility of a less-than-friendly China. The U.S. was a big player in the exercise, and it came about six months after Obama signalled a foreign policy "pivot," pointing to the Pacific rather than keeping the longstanding focus on the Middle East and Europe. With Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government also signalling great interest in selling resources like oil to China, Canada could find itself in a rather sensitive spot reconciling those sometimes differing perspectives.

  • The Economy

    Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., told reporters earlier this month that one of the most important issues for Canada in the U.S. election will be whether the winner can avoid sending the U.S. economy over the so-called "fiscal cliff." Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress have been deadlocked over the U.S. budget and face a Jan. 1 deadline for a deal. If there isn't one, a series of pre-set spending cuts and tax increases kick in and could have the effect of slowing an already fragile U.S. economic recovery. Doer wouldn't say which candidate or party he feels is best equipped to break the budget impasse in Congress. But no matter who wins an election that in the U.S. has focused primarily on the economy, Abelson sees a huge challenge getting the agreement needed on Capital Hill to sort out the looming budget and debt questions. "I agree with Gary Doer that of course the economy is the most important issue, but as we saw during the discussion over the debt crisis, how bad do things have to become for both sides to work together?" Every country in the world, Canada included, is affected by how the U.S. economy plays out, suggests Abelson. "Our trade relationship, the spillover effect into our own country, of course, that's one of the reasons we need to pay very close attention to what's going on in Washington."

President Obama's decision of November 2011 to defer State Department approval for building the Keystone XL pipeline may have triggered a major partisan debate in Washington. However, it has also reinforced incentives for the diversification of Canadian energy exports already created by the effects of technological changes on North American oil and gas markets.

Keystone XL's approval remains an open question that is likely to depend more on White House domestic priorities than relations with Canada. Although major environmental groups remain strongly opposed, a strong contingent of Democratic Senators and Governors from energy-producing Great Plains states supports the project.

More important to Canada in the medium-term will be the administration's success in negotiating a coherent deficit reduction plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of sharp tax increases and spending cuts negotiated with the present Congress to defer painful political trade-offs for all parties until after election day.

The most likely outcome is for the White House to negotiate a series of deferred and possibly cosmetic spending reductions and modest tax increases, with measures carefully tailored to protect key constituencies and client groups favoured by Congressional leaders and committee chairs. Such measures may reduce the short-term likelihood of an economic crisis, but are unlikely to do much to address deeper U.S. budgetary or economic problems.

On balance, any progress in breaking U.S. budget deadlock is likely to be helpful to the Canadian economy, which continues to be heavily dependent on cross-border exports -- although the American share of Canadian goods and services exports has dropped from about 81 per cent to less than 70 per cent during the past decade.

But the close-door negotiations needed to reach a budget deal also create risks for Canada. It is always easier for American politicians to shift the burden of adjusting to budget cuts (or higher taxes) to foreigners than to their own constituents. Backroom deal-making in Congress often makes it harder for Canadian diplomats to secure accommodation of Canadian interests -- especially on things like customs fees and surcharges on cross-border travel.

The Obama administration's reelection makes it somewhat easier for the Harper government to continue the roll-out of border management and regulatory cooperation measures introduced during the past year. However, with the administration likely to be preoccupied with far bigger political and economic priorities, it will take a considerable effort for Ottawa to persuade Washington of the benefits of broadening these largely incremental, bureaucratic initiatives.

Even so, this week's election has moved forward one major border priority -- the building of a new Detroit-Windsor bridge, which has been bogged down in red tape and local politics for much of the last decade. The owners of the venerable Ambassador Bridge spent more than $30 million to sponsor and promote a constitutional referendum requiring local and state-wide referenda before state approval of any new cross-border bridges or tunnels.

Michigan voters rejected the proposal to protect the Ambassador Bridge monopoly by a 60-40 margin. Although President Obama is expected to issue the required presidential permit for the bridge within a few months, it may be the end of decade before the new bridge is open for business.

Taken together, the 2012 U.S. election results suggest a business-as-usual outcome for Canada-U.S. relations - modestly encouraging, but requiring considerable effort before this potential can be turned into substantial results.

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  • Barack Obama accompanied by First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia appears on stage on election night in Chicago. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama, with his daughter Malia wave toward the crowd at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama walks out of the stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama

    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)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama addresses the crowd at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama speaks at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama smiles during his speech at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd at his election night party Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama arriveS on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election November 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by defying the dragging economic recovery and high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama and family arrive on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election November 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by defying the dragging economic recovery and high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama and family arrive on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election November 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by defying the dragging economic recovery and high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President Barack Obama accompanied First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia waves to supporters on stage on election night in Chicago. President Barack Obama swept to re-election Tuesday, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

  • US President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives accompanied by (from L-R ) First Lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha on election night in Chicago. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

  • US President Barack Obama and family arrive on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney concedes defeat November 6, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts, telling supporters that he had called US President Barack Obama to congratulate him on his victory. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, waves to the crowd while speaking at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney greets supporters as he concedes the presidency during his campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, wife Ann Romney, center, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., stand on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

  • Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, Janna Ryan

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, left, and Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna, right, are joined by their families on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, Janna Ryan

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann stand on the stage with Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his wife Janna after Mitt Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, Janna Ryan

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann are joined by their son Craig Romney, right, and other family members on stage after Romney conceded the race during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, waves to the crowd while standing at the podium before conceding the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, waves to the crowd before conceding the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, kisses his wife, Ann Romney, after conceding the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. After voters went to the polls in the heavily contested presidential race, networks projected incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama has won re-election against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk off Air Force One after arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama greets first lady Michelle Obama on the tarmac as she arrives at Des Moines International Airport on Air Force One, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa, en route to a campaign event. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden hugs Anne Holton, wife of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine on the tarmac of the Roanoke Virginia Airport in Roanoke, Va., Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Biden made a surprise visit to Roanoke arriving via Air Force Two with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Kyle Green, Pool)

  • Mitt Romney

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to reporters after he took questions on his campaign plane en route from Pittsburgh to Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. At right is senior adviser Kevin Madden. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Mitt Romney

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives on his campaign plane at Boston's Logan Airport, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Republican

    A spectator reacts to a change in the Florida early projections sen on a television during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Cean Orrett, 45, center, and Gareth Edmondson-Jones, 46, of San Diago, both recently married in New York, react to positive predictions for President Barack Obama as crowds watch election results in Times Square, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a year of campaigning, polls have begun to close after Americans across the United States headed to the polls to decide the winner of the tight presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Nancy French, from Columbia, Tenn., watches vote results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Spencer Siady, left, and Vinay Cardwell, of Salt Lake CIty, react as disappointing numbers dis come in for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during election night party for the Republicans at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Steve Griffin) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

  • A supporter reacts to voting results displayed on a television screen during Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Mitt Romney supporters watch presidential returns during a GOP watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • The Democratic party faithful gathered at the Minnesota DFL Party headquarters at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul, Minn. to hear election results Tuesday night, Nov. 6, 2012. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak went crowd surfing, with his mother Loraine, after it was announced that Pres. Barack Obama had won re-election. (AP Photo/David Joles/ Star Tribune)

  • Arizona Democrats celebrate as President Barack Obama is declared the winner of the presidential race at Democratic Party gathering, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Supporters of President Barack Obama Shauna Harry, left, and Alana Hearn celebrate by leaping in the air at New York State Democratic Headquarters following Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • President Obama Holds Election Night Event In Chicago

    CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama attend the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama is going for reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • American Expats Gather To Watch Coverage Of The U.S. Presidential Elections

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer while watching coverage of the U.S. Presidential Elections on on November 6, 2012 in London, England. U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are in a virtual tie in the national polls. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

  • President Obama Holds Election Night Event In Chicago

    CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: A supporter of U.S. President Barack Obama attends the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama is going for reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    Supporters of US President Barack Obama watch voting results on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President Obama Holds Election Night Event In Chicago

    CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer after networks project Obama as reelected during the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Networks project Obama has won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • President Obama Holds Election Night Event In Chicago

    CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer after networks project Obama as reelected during the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Networks project Obama has won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Holds Election Night Gathering In Boston

    BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 06: Spectators react to President Obama's projected re-election displayed on large televisions during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on November 6, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Voters went to polls in the heavily contested presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    Supporters of US President Barack Obama celebrate as CNN projects victory for Obama on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    Supporters of US President Barack Obama celebrate as CNN projects victory for Obama on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-ROMNEY

    Supporters of US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney watch as Fox News projects US President Barack Obama is re-elected on election night November 6, 2012 in Boston Massachusetts. AFP PHOTO/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama supporters celebrate as CNN projected The President re-elected on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

 
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