CHICAGO (RNN) – A majority of voters across the U.S. picked President Barack Obama as their choice to move the country "Forward," according to projections.
The Associated Press declared Obama the winner of the 2012 election over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, after calling the race in Ohio. However, initial reports out of the Romney camp stated he was not ready to concede, and Ohio results may be challenged to a recount.
The AP also called toss-up state Iowa for Obama, giving him a projected total of 294 electoral votes. On his official Twitter, the president's campaign sent out a tweet that said "four more years" with a picture of him embracing his wife, Michelle.
Crowds supporting Obama at his party in Chicago and across the country began to celebrate after hearing the news.
Obama gained a relatively early victory in Pennsylvania, which some had still considered a swing state. He also holds a narrow lead in Florida and Virginia according to results, two states that were crucial if Romney were to hit the magic number of 270.
No Republican has ever lost Ohio and been elected president. The AP totals put the former Massachusetts governor at 196 electoral votes.
Obama took on a variety of issues during his first term in the Oval Office, and he pledged to continue his plan of economic recovery in the next four years.
His campaign rode the theme of "Change" during the 2008 election and touted "Forward" as its motto for 2012. He said he would need a second term to finish guiding the country through the problems his administration was left with when he took over the executive branch.
Four years ago, Obama took office as the country's first black president in the midst of a recession. He vowed to cut deeply into unemployment, the deficit and reduce the country's involvement in the Iraq War.
There is a still split opinion on how much success Obama had during his first term. The work he accomplished included a comprehensive healthcare plan, a massive stimulus plan to kick-start the economy and an efficient, effective response to Superstorm Sandy.
However, the unemployment rate stood at 7.9 percent going into the election, the highest rate for a president successfully reelected since Franklin Roosevelt. Also, the country had a $1 trillion deficit for the fourth consecutive year, and he faces a Congress severely split along partisan lines.
His administration took a proactive step to prevent another financial crisis similar to the one in 2008 by passing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The legislation put checks in place intended to prevent irresponsible business practices by banks and executives on Wall Street.
Obama also overhauled the national healthcare system in 2010 by signing the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as Obamacare. He touted the healthcare law as a sweeping measure to reduce unnecessary costs, reduce costs by healthcare providers and ensure everyone had fair access to some type of health insurance.
Opponents of the law equated it to socialism, and Romney vowed to immediately repeal the law if elected.
In 2011, Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden, after years of the terrorist eluding the U.S. government and its allies. The successful strike inside a Pakistani residential neighborhood meant the elimination of the person credited as the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
He also joined other nations to enforce crippling sanctions in Iran, after concerns arose the country sought to build a nuclear weapon.
He took a stand on several human rights issues as well, most notably ones in support of gay and lesbian citizens. Obama defended same-sex marriage and influenced the repealing of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.
Obama addressed women's rights with the Lilly Ledbetter Act, his first signed legislation of his presidency. The law allows women greater latitude in suing employers for equal pay.
Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, less than nine months after he took office.
He was the fourth current or former U.S. president to win the award, joining Theodore Roosevelt (1906), Woodrow Wilson (1919) and Jimmy Carter (2002). Obama received the nomination less than two weeks after he was in office and became the only president to win in his first term.
Some media outlets, most notably the New York Times, called the prize more of a condemnation on the former president, George W. Bush, than it was of Obama's accomplishments.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee defended granting Obama the prize, noting his willingness to work with other nations and his work to fight climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. Obama donated the entire $1.4 million prize to various charities.
When he officially announced his candidacy in February 2007, Obama had served less than one term as the junior senator from Illinois. Despite his relative inexperience when compared to his fellow candidates, he secured the Democratic nomination and presidency through an unprecedented grassroots effort.
Obama's presidential campaigns displayed a talent for mining untapped portions of the population – youths, minorities and lower-income people – to donate, register and show up at the polls.
The campaign's use of social media provided it a boon that allowed Obama to effectively connect with hundreds of thousands of prospective voters. The strategy contributed to record-setting figures in fundraising by encouraging multiple small donations from people via the internet.
Prior to his 2005 election to the U.S. Senate, he represented the 13th District of Illinois in the state Senate from 1997 through 2004.
Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, HI. His father, Barack Obama Sr., and mother, Ann Dunham, divorced in 1964 following a nearly three-year separation.
In 1965 Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian graduate student at the University of Hawaii. Dunham and her son briefly followed Soetoro back to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, but Obama moved back to Honolulu and lived with his grandparents until he graduated high school in 1979.
He began Occidental College in Los Angeles immediately after high school and transferred to Columbia University, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science.
After school, a 23-year-old Obama helped set up a tenants' rights group and establish job training and college tutoring programs in areas of the South Side of Chicago.
He attended Harvard Law School and was selected as the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. The notoriety for the achievement led to an advance for Dreams from My Father, a memoir published in 1995 that dealt with Obama's early struggle for identity as the son of a Kenyan father and white Midwestern mother.
Obama wrote another book, The Audacity of Hope, which was published in 2006. Both became No. 1 bestsellers.
Before seeking public office, he led a seven-month voter registration campaign in Chicago in 1992 to sign up more than one-third of the unregistered voters in Illinois. Obama successfully directed 10 staffers and hundreds of volunteers toward the success of that goal while also teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.
He met his wife, formerly Michelle Robinson, in the summer of 1989 while the two were associates at the Chicago law firm Sidney Austin. They were married in 1992 and have two daughters, Malia and Natasha (Sasha).