The best was yet to come, a triumphant Barack Obama said after winning a second term as US president and thanked "every American" that had participated in the fiercely fought election.
Acknowledging the greeting of thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago, Obama, who defeated Republican Mitt Romney to get a second term in the White House, said, "We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."
He congratulated Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan on a "hard fought campaign".
"We may have battled fiercely," Obama said, "but only because we care about this country so deeply".
Obama (51) the first African-American president of the US and a powerful orator, said that he looked forward to talking to Romney in the weeks ahead to take the country forward.
"I want to thank every American who participated in this election," Obama told the crowd.
"Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very, very long time - by the way we have to fix that - whether you pounded the pavement... or whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign you made a difference," he said.
The nation, he told the gathering, "moves forward because of you... because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war, over depression".
Obama who had appeared on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia also acknowledged their contribution.
The journey, he said, would not have been possible without the woman who married him 20 years ago.
"Michelle, I never loved you more," he said.
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