After election, attention turns to economy

President Obama spoke in Chicago early Wednesday.
Published: .
Updated: .

The day after the election, the president is turning attention to the big challenges ahead.

Perhaps the largest issue looming is the economy. The Dow is down over 300 points Wednesday, and there is the threat of the so-called "fiscal cliff," an end-of-year deadline that requires compromise in a sharply divided government.

President Barack Obama says he'd like to meet with Gov. Mitt Romney to discuss how they can work together.

The president won re-election with more than 300 electoral votes. Winning the critical swing-state of Ohio pushed him over the 270 mark.

Despite the tight race, the president won his re-election bid. Now the question is whether or not the White House and a Republican-led House of Representatives can compromise on a host of domestic issues.

As he celebrated his victory, President Obama extended an olive branch to Republicans.

"And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together -- reducing our deficit, reforming out tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do," he said.

Obama reached out to a divided nation.

"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you have made me a better president," he said.

While Obama's electoral win was resounding, roughly two million votes separated the candidates.

In defeat, Mitt Romney was both gracious and conciliatory.

"At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work," he said.

Republicans maintain firm control of the House, but the current Congress is facing a looming crisis.

If there's no spending compromise by Dec. 31st, taxes will increase for every American on Jan. 1st and automatic, across-the-board cuts kick in.

"There's gonna be some tender feelings but at the end of the day we have to put the country first," said Sen. Elect Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Democrats maintain control of the US Senate and they've reclaimed Ted Kennedy's seat with Elizabeth Warren's win over Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

"This is a win for America's middle class," said Warren, who positioned herself as a consumer advocate.

The election decided, lawmakers from both parties now face the daunting task of getting work done in a capital as polarized as ever.

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan won his House seat and returns to Congress with new stature and a new title - the Republican to beat in 2016.

A look at some of President Barack Obama's promises for his second term:

-Roll back Bush tax cuts for upper-income people, couples making over $250,000 and individuals making over $200,000, a failed 2008 promise. Ensure people making over $1 million pay at least 30 percent in taxes.

-Put government on a path to cutting deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years. First-term promise to cut deficits by half failed.

-Cut imports of foreign oil by half by 2020.

-End subsidies to the oil industry. "I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers." A leftover promise.

-"As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon." Using sanctions and negotiation, with force if needed. "We're going to make sure that if they do not meet the demands of the international community, then we are going to take all options necessary to make sure they don't have a nuclear weapon."

-End tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas.

-As his second priority after a deficit-cutting deal, achieve an immigration overhaul that sets a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants under certain conditions. An unfulfilled 2008 promise. Implemented a temporary measure in June letting up to 1.7 million young illegal immigrants stay and work for up to two years.

-Make higher education affordable for everyone, in part by halving the growth in college tuition over 10 years. Ensure by the end of the decade that the U.S. has more people with college degrees than any other country, recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in 10 years, help 2 million workers attend community college.

-"Continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet." Latest iteration of a broken 2008 promise to enact a climate-change law.

-"When Obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down." Latest and much less ambitious iteration of failed 2008 pledge to cut average family premiums by $2,500 in first four years.

-Strengthen Medicare by reducing the cost of health care. Steps already taken under the health care law improve benefits while cutting payments to hospitals and other providers by more than $700 billion over a decade - cuts used to help working-age Americans get insurance. "I will never turn Medicare into a voucher."

-Double exports and create 1 million new manufacturing jobs in four years. Manufacturing jobs have been steadily declining for nearly two decades.

-Consolidate various federal agencies dealing with business issues into one new department led by a secretary of business.

-For victims of Superstorm Sandy: "We are going to be with them every step of the way in helping them to rebuild their lives."

-"Let's, especially, hire our veterans, because if you fought for this country and its freedom, you shouldn't have to fight for a job when you come home."

(Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)