The president won the way that his campaign anticipated. They laid out its plan, told everyone what they were planning and executed it,” said Anita Dunn, a former Obama White House official who advised the campaign through the fall. “No one should be surprised.”
Still, there were detours along the way, most notably Obama’s dismal performance in the first debate, which breathed new life into Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s campaign. The deadly attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, thrust foreign policy into the spotlight and exposed Obama to a flurry of GOP criticism of his leadership. And Superstorm Sandy upended the campaign in its closing days, though the political impact appears to have been positive for Obama, who got a high-profile opportunity to show voters his presidential leadership.
Even as national polls suggested an exceedingly close race, Obama’s advisers insisted they had the edge in the nine competitive states. By Wednesday, Obama had won seven of them, with Florida still too close to call. Exit polls also backed up the Democratic team’s assertions that the coalition of young people and minorities who supported Obama in 2008 would still vote in big numbers this time around.
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