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President Obama, making his acceptance speech, channels Mr. Tony Bennett: "The best is yet to come."

Staff and relatives of staff at Obama Onsen -- the Obama hot spring resort in Japan -- celebrate Obama's victory next to a presidential figurine in Unzen, Nagasaki Prefecture. The banner reads "Ganbare (Cheers), Obama." (Reuters/Kyodo)


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I have tremendous sympathy for the people who are facing, tonight, the reality of having spent the past few years on a losing effort.

I have zero sympathy for the people who have been putting out agitprop on their behalf -- especially with the "feeling" or "expert judgment" that Romney had "momentum" these past few weeks. I feel respect for the former category (starting with Romney) and want to rub in the accountability for the latter (the pundits.)

Now let's see the speech.

Juan Williams's greatest moment, on Fox: "Sitting here, as a black person, it is amazing that he got reelected." "This is a special moment." 

The Obamas and the Bidens, just after the networks called the election: couples.jpeg

CHICAGO -- It will get lost in the initial post mortems but Democrats pulled what ironically were surprises in Obama's backyard with key congressional victories, notably three wins in hotly contested races in the Chicago burbs in which three GOP incumbents went down.

They were ironic surprises because Democrats, who controlled the legislature and the post-Census congressional remap, truly screwed a bevy of GOP incumbents, only to see their handiwork imperiled by what many saw as uninspiring Dem candidates and campaigns or huge super PAC support of the incumbents.

Nancy Pelosi should be ecstatic by what appear to be five Dem pick-ups in the state.

I believe in watching Fox News. It's instructive in all sorts of ways.

They actually are being relatively classy tonight (with the notable exceptions of Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer, both blowing immediately past their having called the entire race fundamentally wrong). So there.

Also very noticeable how the right wing is distancing itself from Romney within minutes of calling Obama's victory. 

One of my distractions this evening was being on a BBC 'Live Five' radio show with somebody whose whole theme was that Romney should dig in for a weeks-long recount fight rather than concede.

By comparison, I have to say that Romney's concession statement was as brave and gracious as you could have expected.

Let me emphasize the "brave." Those of us in normal life can barely begin to imagine the humiliation, pain, and overall horribleness of what Romney and his family are facing right now. He did his manful best, for which we all should be grateful -- and for which he deserves praise and respect.

MSNBC has called the Florida House race between Rep. Allen West and challenger Patrick Murphy -- and they're saying West lost. A West loss would signal a significant shift away from Tea Party politics in Florida, which vaulted the Army veteran into his seat only two years ago.

Romney concludes his brief but gracious concession speech -- the last lines he will utter in his seventeen-months-long campaign for the presidency -- with two words of frank humanity: "Thanks, guys."

Well, this is a first: Jodi Kantor just tweeted the front page of tomorrow's New York Times.

CHICAGO -- Mitt Romney's concession speech greeted with cheers, boos and, then, perhaps fittingly, boredom by the thousands awaiting the president.

When he arrived on stage in Boston, there were boos in Chicago. When he said he had conceded, the cheers came. With the first mention of running mate Paul Ryan, the boos returned. 

And, then, as he finished a brief oratorical fling that was predictably gracious but perhaps the antonym of "soaring," the crowd at McCormick Place turned impatient. Fortunately for them, he was soon exiting. They await their hero.

Have been out of electronic range for past six hours. Two thoughts on re-entry:


Parties: We are used to the Democrats being the party of disorganization. (Cue old Will Rogers joke.) But we see (a) in terms of consistency of message, the incumbent president relying as his most effective surrogate the previous incumbent -- and including his strongest rival in his cabinet, whereas Romney cannot even mention the previous Republican incumbent and barely got support from his primary rivals, and (b) in terms of "legacy," a second term being likely to make a difference to the Democrats, in that they'll likely preside during better economic times (and use that as "proof" of their approach to government), likely get a few Supreme Court nominees, and almost certainly been able to see the health care law to enactment.

Accountability. Karl Rove, who told us that Romney was going to win, is all over Fox now saying what Obama got wrong. We are about to hear from Charles Krauthammer, who was also sure of a Romney win, to the same effect on Fox. Seriously, these people were all flat-out flat-earthers about their supposed area of expertise only yesterday. More here. Doctors who miss a diagnosis are in trouble; pilots who mishandle a plane; coaches who lose too many games. Main exemption for pundits.

The most popular post on Reddit right now has nothing to do with the election: a photo of someone who sorta looks like a genetic splice of Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell.

Virginia has now been called for Obama. Given Obama's struggles in his first term, it's surprising how few states from the 2008 victory the president lost: North Carolina, Indiana, and maybe yet Florida. And between Obama's win and Tim Kaine's victory in the Senate race, it's official: Virginia is at least a purple state, and perhaps even a bluish one at the national level.

Karl Rove, on Fox, has now moved on to a defense of the significance of his spending machine, notwithstanding the outcome of the Presidential race and the battle for control of the Senate: "If groups like Crossroads had not been active, it would have been over a long time ago."

Nate Silver's predictions basically nailed the election. So, I guess you can't really blame the guy for enjoying some cheeky book marketing.

According to projections in Colorado and Washington, voters in those states have given adults permission to use marijuana, full stop. "The laws legalizing marijuana for recreational or other purposes could face federal challenges, because marijuana possession is still a federal crime," NBC notes. "But so far, the Justice Department has declined to discuss how it might react if the laws pass." It'll be particularly interesting to see how "state's rights" conservatives react to these laws. Someone get Rick Perry on the phone.

My candidate for least covered story of the night (so far): GOP victories in challenging House races. Scott DesJarlais, tainted by mistress scandal; Steve King; and Jim Renacci, in tough race against Rep. Betty Sutton, all won reelection. Allen West is in a tight race but could well win. Same for Michele Bachmann. With the exception of King, perhaps, these were all good chances for Democratic pickups.

While President Obama's reelection is clear, there's one thing that still isn't--the popular vote. But that's not to say that nobody saw this headache coming.


Last week, TNR's Nate Cohn predicted a "popular vote nightmare" in the aftermath of the election, largely thanks to results from the West Coast that generally lag behind the rest of the country's polls. While Cohn suggests that Obama will, in fact, win the popular vote, he also cautions that we may not know the winner "for weeks."

"If Obama ultimately wins the popular vote by a narrow margin, as suggested by the current average of national polls," Cohn wrote, "Obama won't lead the popular vote on Election Night."

Rachel Maddow reports that as of 12:15, Romney has not called Obama to concede. Romney-landslide-predictor Dick Morris's Twitter feed holding steady meanwhile with the ~11:00 p.m. update: "#election2012 dont give up!"

CHICAGO -- You have to love America. Wolf Blitzer takes a short break and we are then staring at a personal injury law firm's ad warning of the dangers of the Mirena IUD. Then back to word of Obama winning Colorado and John King's magic fingers zeroing on the vote in Norfolk, Virginia.

Barack Obama now has the most popular tweet ever. It's already been retweeted more than 335,000 times. (The previous record was 223,376--and naturally--it was held by Justin Bieber.)

Wow, this is an eye-popping statistic. According to Twitter, there were 327,000 election-related tweets per minute after President Obama's reelection was announced.

A lawyer friend, stuck in the very crowded throng at McCormick Place, emails: "Get Obama out here!"

Obama has won the state of Nevada.

The Drudge Report is digging in alongside Karl Rove. How long will they both hold out?

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Michael Barone just politely took Karl Rove to school on the vote count in Ohio: "I don't think there's reason to believe there's huge Republican territory still to come in." Rove appears to be softening his position, saying now that he merely wanted to raise the point that Fox and other networks might have called Ohio prematurely. "I'm a little sensitive about this, having been through this in 2000," he said, adding, "This is not a cage match. This is a polite, intellectual discussion." Ah. It's a polite discussion he appears to have lost. 

Here's a bright spot for the GOP: Rep. Jeff Flake has defeated Richard Carmona -- a top Democratic recruit -- in the Arizona Senate race. Flake will replace fellow Republican Jon Kyl, who is retiring.


Two slightly different ways to look at the Obama victory:

1) It was broad but not especially deep. Blacks, Hispanics, single women and well-educated big-city males. With a Republican civil war playing out in the background, he now faces a very tough road with a potentially emboldened and angry GOP majority in the House just as huge fiscal and budgetary decisions loom.

2) It's a generational win for Obama. "The America of the future versus the America of the past," as a Democratic consultant just put it to me. "Obama can and should make the case that he is standing up for those who will shoulder and pay in the future for alleviating the burdens of the present."

From NBC News correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, a sign that Romney thinks the fight isn't over yet:

Politico has called a victory for Maryland's same-sex marriage ballot referendum.


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The ranks of the dead-enders are dwindling. Dick Morris's Twitter feed has fallen silent, ever since he wrote, "Don't give up" an hour ago. But Karl Rove is fighting a rear-guard action county by county across Ohio, rejecting Fox's claims of an Obama win there. He's either going to look like a genius or, well, like something considerably less than a genius. 

Megyn Fox just took us all on a guided tour of Fox to find the numbers guys behind the decision to call the election for Barack Obama. "We're quite comfortable with the idea that Obama will carry Ohio," one of them says, disregarding Karl Rove's claims. This is great, surreal television. Tune in now. They're going back to Rove for his response.

Here is the (algorithmically determined) image currently taking the lead slot of the U.S. version of Google News:

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More history tonight. Colorado's Amendment 64, which would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, has passed, according to local news reports. The state thus becomes the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. How soon will the Justice Department weigh in? I'm betting the "under"-- before the end of the year.

Donald Trump has literally called for a coup d'etat.

Over at Fox, Karl Rove is challenging the network's decision to call the race for Barack Obama. He insists it's not over, given the votes that are still out: "I don't know what the outcome is going to be, but we've got to be careful about calling things....I'd be very cautious about intruding into this process."

And another celebratory tweet from @BarackObama:

CNN just cut from the Obama victory celebration in Chicago to shots of people celebrating in the streets in Kenya. So there's that. Our colleague Jeff Goldberg tweeted that CNN was out to "induce heart attacks in birthers and dog whistlers."

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