After two years of stump speeches, gaffes, attack ads, and discretionary spending graphs, the presidential election is finally here. The Atlantic Wire liveblogged election night with news and photos and GIFs. Relive the night here.
2:45a.m.: Highlights: Mitt Romney started the night saying he didn't write a concession speech. Drudge got nervous over exit polls. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly lamented the decline of the white establishment. Romney's options quickly narrowed, and Fox hosts got sad. Then they confronted their own vote counters when Ohio was called for Obama in a dramatic trip out of the studio and through the network's hallways. The nerds would not budge.
And Obama ended the night with a 2008-esque speech, saying, "We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America."
2:16a.m.: What Obama's speech looked like, in GIFs.
On long lines to vote: "And by the way, we need to fix that."
On the rest of America falling in love with Michelle:
"What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared -- (cheers, applause) -- that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great."
"We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America."
The family arrives:
Biden enters with a fist pump:
Hamming it up:
Final solo wave:
1:55a.m.: Some lines from Obama: "This country has more wealth than any nation; but that's not what makes us rich," Obama says. "The role of a citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote... Our nation only works when we accept certain obligations to each other... Despite all of our frustrations, I have never been more hopeful for our future.... It doesn't matter if you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or young or old or rich or poor... you can make it here in America."
1:47a.m.: "These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty," Obama says. The cynics might say elections are personality contests, that they're small. But he hears stories of the American people. "That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big."
1:41a.m.: Obama begins his victory speech. He thanks people "whether you voted for the first time... or whether you waited in a very long line.... and by the way, we have to fix that."
1:25p.m.: The White House Flickr feed posts this photo:
1:13a.m.: After Romney called Obama to concede, Obama called Bill Clinton to thank him for his work on the campaign. While they wait, Obama fans dance:
1:06p.m.: Mitt Romney concedes, thanking his family and running mate: "Besides my wife, Ann, Paul was the best choice I ever made." He thanked volunteers for working so hard and called for bipartisanship.
"I believe in America. I believe in the people of America."
"Paul and I left everything on the field. We poured our heart into this campaign."
1:04a.m.: The front page of The New York Times.
12:49p.m.: Romney has called Obama to concede. A concession speech is expected soon.
12:46a.m.: At Obama HQ in Chicago, a marriage proposal. Reuters reports Keesha Patterson proposed to her girlfriend Rowan Ha:
A different kind of tears at Romney headquarters in Boston:
(Photos via Reuters.)
12:44p.m.: The New York Times' Ashley Parker reports that two sources say Romney will concede tonight.
12:25p.m.: A very happy Democrat in Nevada:
(Photo via Reuters.)
12:10p.m.: New York Times calls Virginia for Obama.
12:05a.m.: Washington and Colorado legalize pot.
11:56p.m.: The Obama staff is laying claim to the slogan from the television show Friday Night Lights. Romney was also (controversially) a fan of Coach Taylor's mantra. Obama staff left Chicago headquarters chanting, "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts," Jodi Kantor tweets.
11:39p.m.: Fox News talking head desk does not like the call made by Fox News Decision Desk, the hidden nerds to analyze the vote tallies, that Ohio goes to Obama. Karl Rove, veteran of Bush 2000, does not want a state called with a 900-vote difference between the candidates. Megyn Kelly walks out of the studio through a hallway down to the nerds to confront them. The nerds do not cower. They stand tall, saying they're 99.5 percent confident that Romney can't make up the votes.
11:13p.m.: NBC projects Obama wins Ohio, and the presidency. Fox News calls Ohio for Obama, too. Obama HQ:
11:11p.m.: Obama wins Iowa. Two of the three states of the Midwestern firewall hold. Ohio is still too close to call.
Obama wins New Mexico, the Associated Press says. Romney wins Missouri, Idaho.
11:10p.m.: Republicans pick up a Senate seat in Nebraska. Deb Fischer beats Bob Kerrey.
11:03p.m.: "ABC News sources say that Jeb Bush told The Romney campaign that they lost Florida," Univision's Raúl De Molina tweets.
The Denver Post says Obama's won Colorado.
Fox hasn't called those states, but the map is filling in:
10:59p.m.: Bloomberg calls North Carolina for Romney.
10:54p.m.: Todd Akin is giving his concession speech. "To God alone be the honor and the glory, regardless of how he decides to organize history," he says. So far, the Republican Party's rape gaffe candidates have not done well tonight.
10:50p.m.: With Minnesota called for Obama, Axelrod's mustache is safe.
George Will predicted social conservatives would deliver this state for Romney because there was a gay marriage ballot measure.
10:29p.m.: Karl Rove still thinks Romney can win Ohio. Not all conservatives share his optimism. "Two obvious lessons so far: it's a different country demographically. And mediocre candidates lose elections," Tucker Carlson tweets.
Speaking of, if you're curious about how Fox News talking heads are taking the results tonight, the answer is not good. Here's Palin:
Here's Brit Hume:
We have a whole photo album of the sad faces here.
10:25p.m.: Democrat Tim Kaine wins the Seante race in Virginia against Republican George Allen. Allen held the seat before losing it in 2006 to Jim Webb.
10:09p.m.: Claire McCaskill beats Todd Akin in Missouri to keep her Senate seat.
10:07p.m.: On NBC, David Axelroad gloats that his mustache is safe. Axelrod bet Joe Scarborough his mustache that Romney wouldn't win Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania. Axelrod reminds Brian Williams that he also bet Scarborough that if Obama wins, Scarborough has to grow a mustache.
9:56p.m.: Obama wins New Hampshire. Romney has a vacation home there. Nate Silver is gloating.
9:44p.m.: Elizabeth Warren defeats Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Brown's victory in a special election in 2010 was the first sign the midterms would be bad for Democrats. He cost Democrats their 60-seat majority in the Senate.
9:37p.m.: Fox News' Chris Wallace says Romney didn't get Plan B, Wisconsin, or Plan C, Pennsylvania. "Forgive me, but I think there's only Plan A left: Ohio."
9:35p.m.: Democrat Joe Donnelly beats Republican Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate race. Mourdock was probably going to win until he said in a debate that a rape pregnancy was a gift from God. The seat had been held by longtime Sen. Dick Lugar, who would have won easily if Mourdock hadn't beat him in the primary.
9:29p.m.: Fox calls Wisconsin for Obama. The map has not been expanded for Romney.
9:26p.m.: Why is it so close in Florida? Romney won Cubans 50 percent to 47 percent. But as The New York Times's Nate Silver explains, non-Cuban Hispanics are 10 percent of the population, and Obama won them by a huge margin. Cubans are just 6 percent of the population.
9:17p.m.: ... And Obama wins Pennsylvania. Romney had been trying to "expand the map" it was competing on. In this case, it did not. That doesn't leave a lot of options for Romney if he doesn't win Ohio.
9:10p.m.: It's fascinating that Obama is ahead in Florida with about 60 percent of votes in. Romney lead in Florida polls for most of the last few weeks of the race. He needs Florida locked down to win.
9:00p.m.: Obama wins Michigan. The networks call it quickly. This is important, because Romney was trying to eat into Obama's "firewall" in the Midwest. Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have a lot in common with Michigan.
8:09p.m.: Bill O'Reilly says another reason Romney might lose Ohio, and thus the election is that "50 percent of the people... want stuff." They think Obama will give them free stuff. Latinos, blacks, women, they all want stuff. Obama would have never been reelected by the old establishment. He explicitly makes it a racial thing:
"Obama wins because it's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things."
8:07p.m.: The pundit wave begins. On Fox, Bill O'Reilly says that Hurricane Sandy trumps the attacks on Benghazi because in the case of Sandy, "there were pictures."
8:05p.m.: "Fox says that national male / female split is 54% / 46%. Obama +8 among women ; Romney + 8 among men. Suggests 2 pt popular vote win for O," Marc Ambinder tweets.
8:00p.m.: Another wave of states. It's fun to listen to Fox News list them, because a lot of the states are blue in this wave, and so they are described as "liberal bastions." Or, the one I enjoyed the most: "Maryland, home to a huge number of federal government workers."
7:48p.m.: Cox Radio's Jamie Dupree reports mixed results in Florida. Obama is down in Miami-Dade County, only leading Romney by 300 votes. But in early and absentee votes in Orange, Osceola, and Hillsborough counties, Obama is beating what he got in 2008. Update: Dupree updates on Miami-Dade -- Obama now ahead by 100,000 votes.
Obama did quite well in early and absentee votes in Miami-Dade, too, winning those 62 percent to 38 percent.
7:44p.m.: New York's Joe Hagan tweets that Mary Cheney sent this photo of Dick Cheney watching the returns.
It appears he has a lamp made of antlers.
7:37p.m.: MSNBC reports that Romney won the working class white vote both nationally and in Ohio. But his margin is much smaller in Ohio. Nationally, Obama gets only about a third of that vote, but in Ohio, he gets 43 percent.
And Slate's Dave Weigel tweets that while Romney won 68 percent of white born-again Christians, in 2008, John McCain won 71 percent of them.
7:30p.m.: All the important states are too close to call: Virginia and Ohio. Only some of Florida's polls have close, the rest close in half an hour. It's fun to watch vote tallies as they come in, but keep in mind that they can fluctuate a lot. From NBC:
7:27p.m.: NBC News reports turnout was high in Virginia today.
7:14p.m.: CNN has released some early exit polls. Key findings:
7:05p.m.: Obama wins Vermont. Romney wins Kentucky, Indiana. Check our live results page for a full tally.
6:54p.m.: According to Fox News' livestream, Romney HQ looks like this:
Obama HQ looks like this:
Not sure why Obama's is empty except for press:
6:45p.m.: Obama played basketball with Scottie Pippen this afternoon. Obama is superstitious about playing basketball on election day, having skipped playing on the day of the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary and lost. According to the White House pool report, the game was for real. Participant Alexi Giannoulias, the former Illinois state treasurer, reported to the pool:
The two five-player teams played four 12-minute quarters. Referees were brought in to call fouls. Each team had substitutes, though Giannoulias did not know exactly how many. The Potus team won by “like 20,” with a score of “like 102, 105, 108 or so to 80-something.”
The teams: Obama was player-coach of his team, which also included Giannoulias and Scottie Pippen. On the other team were Arne Duncan, Marty Nesbitt and Randy Brown.
“It was a lot of fun,” Giannoulias said. “We won. I scored more points than Scottie Pippen, which was my dream come true.” Giannoulias said Potus “played very well" but did not say how many points he scored. Giannoulias scored 32, he said, and Pippen 21.
6:30p.m.: A friend forwarded this email from the Obama campaign. It asks you to tell your friends in swing states to get to the polls:
6:18p.m.: Mitt Romney hasn't written a concession speech, The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner points out. Romney told reporters on his campaign plane, "I just finished writing a victory speech... It's about 1,118 words. And, uh, I'm sure it will change before I'm finished, because I haven't passed it around to my family and friends and advisers to get their reaction, but I've only written one speech at this point."
Obviously, Romney hasn't seen the episode of The West Wing ("Election Night") in which Toby explains that you always write two speeches:
CJ: "The speech is done,."
Toby: "Two speeches are done."
CJ: "What's the second?"
Toby: "I've got a speech if he wins. I've got a speech if he doesn't."
Sam: "You wrote a concession?"
Toby: "Of course I wrote a concession. You want to tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing?"
That would mean an electoral college victory for Obama. Drudge then changed the tally:
Ohio's back to too close to call. Don't want to discourage any Drudge-reading voters!
6:05p.m.: This is being unloaded at Romney HQ:
Safe to say they're planning something big. (Photo tweeted by WSVN's Mike Marza.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.