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J.J. McCullough

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Media Bites: An Obama Win Makes Canada the Loser

Posted: 11/07/2012 8:25 am

Cognitive dissonance, they say, is the unique discomfort that comes with attempting to think two wildly contradictory thoughts at the same time. For many Canadians, whose patronizingly jealous views towards the United States so often combine a bizarre mix of sympathy and schadenfreude, last night's re-election of President Obama could not serve as a better example.

On the one hand, as the press has never tired of repeating, Obama was the overwhelming pick of the Canadian people. Frankly, I think polls of this sort mostly reveal that we're vastly less knowledgeable of presidential candidates than we like to think (even hyper-liberal Massachusetts still gave Mitt Romney a decent 37 per cent -- what do they know that we don't?). 

But for the sake of argument let's assume that the conventional wisdom is right, and we actually did believe Obama to be the functionally superior candidate, the man best equipped to resolve the American economic mess, yadda yadda.

On the other hand, however, a lot of Canadian pride over the last four years has derived from a certain sense of smugness over precisely that economic mess. Pundits -- on both the left and right alike -- endlessly praise Canadian fiscal superiority, gleefully chronicle American dysfunction, and happily posit grand theories on just how lovely this new power imbalance has been for Canuck self-esteem.

Certainly Prime Minister Harper has rode this narrative to tremendous partisan success; despite much overblown press fussing about the Tory government's monarchist or militaristic noises, the most evident attribute of the "new patriotism" championed by the Conservatives seems mostly based around a constant refrain that Canada has "weathered the recession" better than other western democracies -- particularly the one below us.

A successful Obama presidency, in short, one that trims the debt, shrinks the deficit, reforms entitlements, and spurs GDP growth is one dangerously likely to revive the old Canadian demons of insecurity and inferiority. Regardless of how much it may satiate our fiscal interests, an economically resurgent America almost certainly means a return to second-place status for this country -- quite literally, in fact, if the President moves ahead with a corporate tax plan intended to lure American corporations home from lower-taxed nations like this one.

The same can easily be said of an America that's pro-same-sex marriage, pro-universal health care, and increasingly pro-pot -- directions voters across the country seem to be pushing it. Theoretically, these are the sorts of socially enlightened ideas Canada's vast pro-Obama majority favors, yet as they take ever-firmer hold the States, Canada's righteous claim to be a unique bastion of progressive tolerance on a hostile continent becomes a much trickier pitch to make. For a nation that puts such tremendous emotional stock into anti-American distinctions, it's hard to imagine a White House more determined to shrink the observable gap.

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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)


Granted, this may all be a bit upbeat. In all likelihood, Obama will not spend the the next four years proving himself any more skilled at whipping joblessness, curtailing spending, and reforming the tax code than he did in the previous four. In particular, with the so-called sequestration package of automatic tax hikes and social program cuts looming, there's still plenty of cause for pessimism in America's economic future -- as I'm sure Conrad Black will be happy to remind.

Similarly, as the President's second term progresses, the opportunistically anti-American character of the Harper government is only likely to become more pronounced, with the current mad dash for greater ChineseIndianEuropean, and Latin American trade justified with manufactured malaise about the hopelessness of Obama's America. Canadian anxiety about the economic future of the United States is probably the Prime Minister's greatest asset at present, since it so easily allows fiscally conservative ideas once thought to be anti-Canadian to finally achieve some thin veneer of patriotic legitimacy. The frightening "bad example" posed by a supposedly broken and backwards America can justify just about any policy north of the border, in fact -- so long as the Yankees are content to keep playing the role we've assigned them.

But increasingly they're not. It really can't be understated what a liberal election this was for the United States, both symbolically and functionally. Watching the results trickle in last night, from the re-election of their progressive, minority president, to the filling of Congress with aggressive, fresh, and unapologetically liberal leaders, to the string of successful citizen referenda on left-wing pet causes, it was hard to escape the feeling that America is a country with a strong progressive momentum, and activist energy that has no real equivalent in dour, static Harperland.

To those who believe that there's something fundamentally wrong about this state of affairs, that Canada should be the country with non-white leaders and gay senators and legalized marijuana and sentencing reform and euthanasia, perhaps some second-guessing of Republican-bashing would be in order.

To those of us who have long recognized the fundamentally absurd and unsustainable nature of a Canadian patriotism defined entirely by a bitter, boastful game of compare-and-contrast with our southern neighbours however, maybe a little schadenfreude is warranted after all.

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  • Barack Obama, Carla Windhorst

    President Barack Obama calls to thank volunteers in Wisconsin, at campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. Carla Windhorst is seated next to the president. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Jabrylle McClendon, center, waits at the front of the line to vote with her nephew,Terrell Ford, 7, as a woman who only identified herself as Dolores, takes a seat next to them before their polling place opened on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Voters line up to cast ballots in the general election at Barrow County's Precinct 16 at Bethlehem Christian Academy, Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bethlehem, Ga. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

  • Voters line up to cast ballots in the general election at Barrow County's Precinct 16 at Bethlehem Christian Academy, Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bethlehem, Ga. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

  • Voters in Precinct 39 fill out their ballots while voting on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at the First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls out to people outside a campaign office in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, after a visit with volunteers on the morning of the 2012 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama leaves a campaign office on the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago, after visiting with volunteers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • A woman who identified herself as Dolores, left, looks for an election worker to help her with her voting machine while casting her ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls Wisconsin volunteers as he visits a campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Voters cast their ballots in Delias beauty salon, which was turned into polling place, on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, on South Side of Chicago. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • A brand new tattoo showing his choice of political party is seen on the right hand of Victor "The Snake Mann" Wolder as he votes on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Montana voter

    A voter enters Springhill School to cast her Election Day ballot in Belgrade, Mont., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Springhill School is a polling station for Montana's Precinct 17, a place where ranchers, affluent professionals and retirees alike live and work. (AP Photo/Janie Osborne)

  • David Polley, right, looks over his ballot while voting on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama visits with people outside a campaign office the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • James Nash

    James Nash prepares to hand out stickers to voters who cast their ballots at a polling place inside St. Leo's Catholic Church in Baltimore on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Food is set on a table by voting instructions at a polling place in a Mexican restaurant turned polling station, on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, on the South Side of Chicago. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • A voter signs in to cast a ballot at the old Brown School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama waves to people as he leaves a campaign office the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Classical studies major Omar Dyette, from Racine, Wis., front right, mans a table outside the polls on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Dyette volunteered with the Ohio Public Interest Research Group to register college students prior to the 2012 election. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • A voter is handed an "I Voted" sticker after casting her ballot at the old Brown School Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • A line forms outside a polling place as people gather to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Steve Swanson, left, helps his father Ben Swanson, 91, right, as he fills out his ballot on Election Day 2012 at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Parish in East Pembroke, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

  • Voters wait in line to cast their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters check in before casting their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters wait in line to cast their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters cast their ballots in a Mexican restaurant turned polling place, on election day on the South Side of Chicago Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • Voters cast their ballots in a Mexican restaurant turned polling station on Election Day on the South Side of Chicago, Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • Voters wait in a long line to cast their ballots at Far Rockaway High School on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. After a grinding presidential campaign, Americans are heading into polling places across the country.(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters wait to cast a ballot at P.S. 33 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Voters wait for their chance to cast a ballot at P.S. 33 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Voters wait to cast a ballot at P.S. 29 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Vernon Straw, Terry Petersen

    Vernon Straw emerges from behind the curtain of a voting booth at the fire hall in Dunbar, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, to a waiting Terry Petersen, left. The village fire hall was too small to place cardboard voting stations, so election officials had to bring back the old style curtained voting booths. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • Rocky Erickson

    Rocky Erickson casts a ballot at a polling place on Election Day in Billings, Mont., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls Wisconsin volunteers as he visits a campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • On this election day, as they do every day, people gather for breakfast in the Nutcracker Restaurant, a 1950's-style diner, in Pataskala, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. From left are Ken Armentrout, Lewie Hoskinson and Jack Cruikshank. Hoskinson, center, is a retired city worker who his friends claim is the only President Barack Obama supporter in the town of 14,000. "I'm sure there are others, but I'm the only one who will admit it," he said, as his buddies laughed. His friends acknowledged that they weren't exactly thrilled with Mitt Romney as an alternative but said Obama hadn't done enough to get the economy moving. (AP Photo/Michael E. Keating)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, - NOVEMBER 6: U.S. citizens vote in the presidential election at Carleton Middle School November 6, 2012 in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Recent polls show that U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are in a tight race. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    Voters wait outside the Metropolitan AME Church polling station to cast their ballots in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 6: Voters cast their ballots at the Bishop Leo O'Neil Youth Center on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The swing state of New Hampshire is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 4 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    An election official mounts signs outside the polling station at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 6: Voters cast their ballots at the Bishop Leo O'Neil Youth Center on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The swing state of New Hampshire is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 4 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters cast their ballots at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters wait to vote at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait inside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Voters wait to cast their ballots on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    People wait in line to vote at a polling station in a senior appartment complex in Chicago, Illinois in the US presidential election November 6, 2012 . The final national polls showed an effective tie, with either US President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney favored by a single point in most surveys, reflecting the polarized politics of a deeply divided nation. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters cast their ballots at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    Voters kiss while waiting outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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