Nov. 7, 2012 — -- The last ballots are being counted in Florida, but a re-electedPresident Obama is less worried about counting votes in the Sunshine State than he is about counting the votes in a still sharply divided Congress that will be necessary to pushing through his second-term agenda.
Obama does not need Florida to secure his re-election, though he looks slated for victory there. He won by sweeping up other vital swing states, including hard-fought Ohio and Virginia. In Florida the race is too close to call with some 200,000 ballots still needing to be tallied.
Obama has won at least 303 electoral votes to 206 for Republican Mitt Romney. Obama also squeaked out a popular vote victory, picking up 50 percent to Romney's 48 percent. The president's vote total so far was 59,971,062, while Romney received 57,304,301 votes.
The president, who concluded his acceptance speech about 2 a.m. today, had no public schedule today. He and his family are expected to return from Chicago to the White House later today.
Obama's second term will present the president with a challenge similar to the one he has faced for the past two years, as voters again decided to elect a divided Congress making it harder for the president to advance his agenda.
Obama's victory ensures the survival of his signature health plan, but even before inauguration day he will have to contend with the impending "fiscal cliff," an automatic increase in taxes and spending cuts that will be triggered if a budget is not worked out by January.
The president acknowledged there will be political challenges.
"By itself the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock, or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward," Obama said in his acceptance speech.
"There's an even bigger issue [than the fiscal cliff] that faces the Congress and the White House," Republican strategist and ABC News political consultant Matthew Dowd told "Good Morning America" today. "There's s an even bigger issue that divides country. It's not only political, but it's demographic divides in this country. We can't solve those problems until the divisions are bridged. The president has to work on the means of governing first."
Obama had expected to lose white male voters, so he built a coalition of minorities, young people and women to carry him to victory.
But Obama promised better things in his second term.
"We have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come," Obama told his jubilant supporters.