US election

Fans of Obama rhetoric went into ecstasies last night over the president’s victory speech.

Here was the old Obama back: strong, confident, with his preacher’s cadences – appealing for a better future and reprising the themes that first shot him to national prominence in 2004: the unity of the nation, the ability to overcome the differences between red and blue America.

The fact that Mitt Romney also made a gracious and conciliatory speech and that senior Republicans are talking of finding compromises have led to some hopeful talk of a new spirit of bipartisanship, allowing America to skirt the fiscal cliff – and tackle a few other big challenges besides.

I’m afraid I don’t buy it. I think the Republican Party will return to Washington in an embittered and angry mood. Read more

The relief felt by Obama supporters on Wednesday is tonally different from the unbridled elation of 2008. The four intervening years have instilled a little more wariness and a little less hope. So while Obama’s campaign slogan was ‘Forward!’, it’s also important to look back – at his successes and failures, at the battles fought with a recalcitrant Congress, and at the lessons he may have learned – all of which will inform the choices of his second term. In that spirit, here is our selection of some of the best reporting and analysis pieces that shed light on Obama’s first term as president. Read more

A lot of north Americans will get high on last night’s vote – not because they are celebrating the re-election of Barack Obama as president, but following the legalisation of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. In defiance of federal law, they have now become the first US states to legalise the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use. Although Oregon voters rejected the amendment, it’s a ground-breaking move which will change the tone of the debate on international drugs policy, test the balance of power between US states and the Federal Government, and affect Mexican security.

Medical-use cannabis is already legal in several US states. What makes Amendment 64 significant is that it would remove the prohibition on the commercial production of cannabis. In Colorado, pot can now in theory be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system similar to alcohol sales. Personal possession of up to 28 grams (1 oz) will be legal for anyone at least 21 years old.

To get a bead on what this might mean, this is further than Netherlands has gone. There, contrary to common perception, it is only the retail sale of 5 grams that is legal. Production and wholesale remains illegal, and the law is vigorously enforced. That is why the price of pot in Amsterdam “coffee shops” is “little different than the price in US dispensaries,” as the authors of “Marijuana legalisation: what everyone needs to know”, argue hereRead more

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Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 as voters have re-elected Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. The Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate, while the Republicans will hold the house. Follow all the action with Shannon Bond, Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST).

02.20: As the celebrations continue in Chicago, we leave you with these closing thoughts.

The President came into tonight’s election a damaged political figure with victory far from certain. He won with help of a unmatched grass-roots campaign and his direct appeal to a broad cross-section of America’s ever-changing demographics. He won’t enter his second-term in office with the same momentum in his sails but that’s not to say his challenges are any less daunting. Read more

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Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US election in which voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As polls are closing across the country, we’re also tracking key Congressional races.

Follow all the action with Arash Massoudi, Anjli Raval and Shannon Bond in New York (All times EST)

23.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.

22.56: The AP has called North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, for Mr Romney. That puts his total at 186, against Mr Obama’s 148. Read more

Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly. By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)

19.58: Continue to follow our election live blog here.

19.55: Early signs from exit polls taken in battleground states do not bode well for Mr Romney, says Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker.

@RyanLizza: “Lots of reasons not to trust the exits, but so far they show good news for Obama and bad news for Romney.”

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Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US Election 2012 in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As millions of Americans continue to head to polling sites around the country, some results will begin to trickle in shortly.

By Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval in New York (All times EST)

19.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.

18.55: How will markets react tomorrow? Michael Mackenzie, FT’s US markets editor, says bond traders believe Treasury yields are likely to fall if President Obama is re-elected as attention will focus on gridlock and the “fiscal cliff”.

“Traders think a Romney win would push the benchmark yield higher as the risk of a fiscal accident is reduced. For equities, the consensus view is that a relief rally beckons once the election result is finalised, with a Romney win pushing stocks even higher.”

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Welcome to the final round up of media coverage of the US presidential election campaign, as Americans go to the polls. You can see a live blog of the unfolding events elsewhere on FT.com, but here we review the last moments of seemingly endless months of punditry and prognostication about what might happen today. Tomorrow, it is to be hoped, the headlines will be about what actually has happened.

We start with a look at how the media have covered the crazed deadline hours of campaigning, as the candidates hurtle around swing states trying to energise voters to support them. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Over the past few weeks, I have amused myself by betting friends that Mitt Romney will be elected president. The fun is in the shocked reaction from American liberals – and virtually all Europeans – who find the very thought of a Republican victory utterly horrifying. Even suggesting that a Romney presidency might be tolerable feels like telling Roman citizens that Alaric the Visigoth has been unfairly traduced

The final stretch: Barack Obama presses the flesh at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday (AP)

Welcome to the penultimate summary of media coverage of the 2012 US election campaign on a day when geography means nothing and psephology everything as the candidates make their final push for the few, surely very few, remaining undecided voters.

The polls on this last day of campaigning suggest President Barack Obama has a slight edge in the states he needs to hold – Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada – to keep the White House, but his opponent Mitt Romney is easily close enough for polls to be wrong and an upset to be possible.

RealClearPolitics.com shows “Obama (D)” ahead of “Romney (R)” by a sliver – half of a percentage point. Five national polls on Sunday gave the following margins: Obama +3; Obama +1; Obama +1; Tie; Tie. The possibility, last seen in 2000, of the victor losing the popular vote but winning in the electoral college, remains open. Read more

Welcome to a summary of US election coverage of a day when President Barack Obama had the luxury of dominating television screens without having to pay an extra cent in advertising, while his opponent Mitt Romney was forced into an uncomfortable position in the wings of a great drama.

 

In the Financial Times, Alan Rappeport reports from Atlantic City that Mr Obama’s position as incumbent gave him the opportunity not only to be pictured coming to the aid of a storm-battered New Jersey, but also inspecting damage alongside the state’s governor, Chris Christie, who has been one of Mr Romney’s main surrogates in attacking the president. Read more

Welcome to a summary of US election coverage on a day when the advantages of incumbency will surely continue to work on behalf of President Barack Obama.

His role in supervising the clear-up of damage caused by the biggest storm to hit the eastern US in 75 years puts the president in centre shot of news footage that for at least the next 24 hours will be broadcast into every home of the US, airtime that could not be bought.

Latest polls show the presidential race is still being fought on the thinnest margins in states that have either been dealt glancing blows by Sandy – Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, – or know only too well what it is like to be mangled by the forces of nature – hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Iowa. Read more

Just a week till presidential election day, but still time for more dialogue of the deaf about offshoring. The latest iteration was kicked off by a Romney comment (and slightly less misleading ad) wrongly suggesting that Jeep, owned by Chrysler, was moving production to China. (In fact Chrysler is restoring capacity there to service the Chinese market.) The Obama campaign has just released its response, and so another bout of breast-beating economic nationalism gets under way.

More sympathy might be due to the Obama campaign if it didn’t itself routinely equate foreign investment with sending jobs overseas, particularly its ill-advised attacks on the idea that a territorial corporation tax system would reward US companies for offshoring employment. As informed opinion on the subject routinely points out, the overall evidence is that foreign investment is a complement rather than a substitute to domestic expansion. If you want the specifics, read thisRead more

It may be a contest to become the most powerful human on the planet, but even the US presidential race has to bow to the might of nature sometimes. As Hurricane Sandy summoned up her powers to hammer the east coast of the US, organisers of the two campaigns hurriedly changed their plans and moved inland.

The weather is likely to have two effects, according to the US press, with practical concerns about travel and safety affecting both. But the campaign of President Barack Obama will be worse hit by a second factor, as the Wall Street Journal explains:

Today is the last day for in-person and mail-in voter registration in deadlocked New Hampshire, where the weather threatens to scuttle campaign stops planned by both camps next week. First lady Michelle Obama has canceled a Tuesday trip to the University of New Hampshire campus, which will be closed Monday and Tuesday in preparation for Sandy.

Mr. Obama’s campaign team is relying on banking votes during the early voting period in many states. Campaign aides are privately nervous about a potential disruption in early voting in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

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Welcome to a round-up of presidential election news and the quadrennial process of the “last dash for votes” stories has begun early this time around. Concepts like “momentum”, “campaign groundwork” and “heavyweight endorsements” are here to stay for the next 10 turbulent days.

Having voted in his home state of Illinois, President Barack Obama’s idea of momentum appears to consist of sitting in the Oval Office recording media interviews, while his challenger Mitt Romney has a slightly less hectic schedule than in the immediate post-debate days, with only two states, Iowa and Ohio, on his agenda on Friday. Read more

Welcome to a round up of media coverage of the presidential election as the campaign reaches the stage where the air miles really begin to stack up for those following the candidates on their jet-powered whistlestop tours.

Today, President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney criss-cross the country in search of support in critical states. The president begins the day in Florida before flying up the east coast to Virginia, then home to Chicago to cast his own (early) vote before hopping to Ohio, two states to the east, for an evening rally.

With just 11 days of campaigning left, the citizens of these states can expect to see the candidates plenty more times and hear an awful lot of speeches, but Thursday’s headlines feature remarks made by the president in what he thought was a private conversation. Read more

Clint Eastwood is back on the campaign trail, drumming up support for Mitt Romney and belittling President Barack Obama – but this time from within the safe confines of scripted, pre-recorded remarks.

The Hollywood icon caused widespread consternation – within the Romney campaign, as well as in the country – with his rambling diatribe against Mr Obama during the Republican national convention.

Then, he spent the better part of 15 minutes having a bizarre conversation laced with suggested profanities with an empty stool, on which the president was supposed to have been sitting. This ate up scarce minutes of prime-time broadcast, and raised questions about how the detail-focused Romney campaign could have let Mr Eastwood out on the stage without vetting his remarks.

But now, the veteran actor is back playing a new part, this time starring in a new ad from American Crossroads, the outside group run by Karl Rove, the former Bush adviser, which supports Mr Romney’s candidacy for president.

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President Barack Obama at a rally in the swing state of Ohio. (AFP/Getty)

Welcome to the US election news round-up on the day that the candidates switched from sparring over military planning to blitzing the battlegrounds of the ‘burbs.

The debates are done. A fortnight from now, we’ll know whether Mitt Romney has evicted Barack Obama from the White House. Unless, of course, it’s 2000 all over again and the nail-chewing lasts for 36 days.

So narrow are the margins in some states that 10 are “toss ups”, according to the rolling average of polls by RealClearPolitics.com. All 10 voted for Obama in 2008, including four – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada – that he won with double-digit margins. Read more

Obama and Romney debate foreign policy
The final US presidential debate focused on foreign policy, and both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney laid out their vision for America’s place in global affairs. What does it mean for the world, and are US voters really paying attention to foreign policy? Borzou Daragahi, Middle East and north Africa correspondent, Geoff Dyer, US diplomatic correspondent, and James Blitz, diplomatic and defense editor, join Shawn Donnan to discuss the candidates’ positions on Syria, Iran, China and their notable silence on Europe

In the process of undermining the Obama administration’s record during the Monday night debate, Mitt Romney painted a distorted picture of the Middle East, writes Roula Khalaf. Read more