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Obama pledges 'not politics as usual' in second term

November 06, 2012|By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey

CHICAGO — Ending a bitter campaign season by extending an olive branch, President Obama promised to work with supporters and opponents alike to confront the nation’s biggest challenges.

But he also urged Americans not to end their participation after election day and instead to step forward and accept their responsibilities to each other.

“Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you,” Obama said in his late-night acceptance speech. “I have learned from you. And you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever.”

The role of citizenship, he said, “does not end with your vote.”

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The remarks came well after midnight in Chicago, after Obama took a phone call from Republican Mitt Romney congratulating him on his victory. Shortly after the two men spoke, Romney delivered a somber concession speech in Boston, calling for bipartisan cooperation in the wake of the campaign season.

Obama echoed the theme in his remarks at the lakefront convention center, where thousands of supporters had gathered to watch the returns and then to celebrate with the president and first family.

When Obama emerged with First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, the crowd burst into deafening applause that lasted for more than a minute. During that time, Obama waved at the crowd members, growing teary-eyed as he did.

“Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama said. “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.”

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