EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Relief in America

  • November 7th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

michelle-barak.jpgPresident Barack Obama has overcome savage impacts of an economic down-turn in his electorate to claim re-election in the United States.


Some twelve hours after the close of polling, in the Eastern USA, authoritative sources had given him 290 Electoral College votes against 206 for his Republican Party opponent, Mitt Romney – with 270 needed to claim victory.

(Still 42 were to be counted, out of the total 538).

He had beaten off a huge challenge from the Republican opposition, proposing a version of the winning 1980 formula of the late Ronald Reagan: “cut taxes and make American great again” (through massive new military spending). Each side is estimated to have spent one-billion dollars (A$955-million;, 7.11.12) on their national campaigns; voters everywhere were left groaning over the saturation of combat advertisements on television.

The Republicans had patched over internal divisions between more conventional groups and the rightist “Tea Party” formation; and will retain blocking power in the parliament, where they will hold onto a majority in the Congress and have a large delegation in the finely balanced Democratic Senate.


President Obama, who celebrated this time with a family-orientated message by Twitter (see picture), elected in 2008 on a platform of social justice and aspirational “hope”, ran into the Global Financial Crisis, which began just before he came into office. With unemployment in the 8% range, his administration was at risk of being comprehensively blamed, or abandoned in desperation by voters.

Initial responses in Europe, in 2012 came from the financial sector which noticed a faltering in the price of the US dollar as the news arrived on money markets.

Said Reuters, assessing media responses:

“U.S. President Barack Obama … won the less than resounding backing of European newspapers, which concluded he had done just about enough to deserve re-election in favour of a flip-flopping Republican challenger.

“Support for the incumbent was often based more on what he had avoided – an economic depression in America – than on his achievements in office.”

An achievement was national medical insurance, which Mr Romney had pledged to disband, while the immediate next big step will be a fiscal reckoning, handling huge national debt during a slow economic recovery.

The Australian government had given notice it was wanting a more pro-active US policy; the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, meeting finance ministers of the “G20” countries in Mexico (4.11.12), said most agreed that more needed to be done to rein in the US budget deficit – to help with a fragile world economic recovery.

Efforts by European countries to integrate economic policy and management should be stepped up, he said.

See also, election of Obama in 2008, EUAustralia Online: “Europeans want change in USA”, 3.11.08; “‘Old Europe’ likes new President”, 5.11.08.


Michael Heath, “Australia’s Swan Says G-20 Views Global Recovery as ‘Fragile’”, Bloomberg, NY, 4.11.12., (7.11.12).

Reuters, London, “Two cheers for Obama”, 7.11.12.–sector.html,(7.11.12).