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Barack Obama‘s victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential election didn’t only dominate U.S. TV and newspaper. News media around the world on Wednesday covered Obama’s re-election, in many cases highlighting the close final weeks of the campaign.
In the U.K., the BBC morning news shows led with the U.S. election results, with one host emphasizing that they came in “after a long and exhausting contest costing billions of dollars.”
BBC Washington correspondent Adam Brookes in the U.S. election studio mentioned estimates that the campaign spending has amounted to at least $3 billion. But he also emphasized that Americans spend $6.5 billion a year on Halloween costumes and candy. “Suddenly $3 billion doesn’t feel like quite that much money,” he quipped.
A BBC report led off with Obama’s victory speech, highlighting that the president was “relieved, exhausted” when he addressed his supporters. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, felt “the crushing [weight] of defeat,” it added before highlighting that Obama faces big political and economic decisions the day after victory celebrations.
Meanwhile, BSkyB’s Sky News network focused a morning discussion on what the election results mean for Obama and the future of the Republican Party. And it highlighted that the Obama victory was a defeat for the Tea Party movement.
U.K. tabloid The Sun, which is part of Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp., on its web site led with the election news under the headline “Barack Four More.” In a second headline, it added: “Obama is U.S. president again – after an election nailbiter.” The Sun also mentioned Hollywood’s role in the election: “Celebrities led by Lady Gaga and will.i.am celebrated as [the] Obama win left Donald Trump seething,” it said. Murdoch himself had signaled support for Romney.
British media on Wednesday also highlighted that Prime Minister David Cameron has already congratulated Obama. “I would like to congratulate Barack Obama on his re-election,” media quoted him as saying in a statement. “I have really enjoyed working with him over the last few years and I look forward to working with him again over the next four years.”
India woke up Wednesday morning to news of Barack Obama’s re-election to the White House for a second term. Given the time difference, the morning newspapers didn’t have the final results and ran open-ended headlines referring to the photo finish pre-poll predictions. Indian news networks telecast live feeds of Obama’s victory speech, which aired around noon India time. Leading joint venture news network CNN-IBN ran feeds from its partner CNN.
As news of Obama’s win spread, celebrities started posting congratulation messages on Twitter.
“Just landed back in Mumbai and came to know about Obama’s win. It made me happy. There is something optimistic about him. :),” actor Anupam Kher– currently starring in Silver Linings Playbook– said on his Twitter account.
“Congratulations Sir, may you embrace the rest of the world too and work towards equality on the only planet we have,” tweeted director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) while offering caution for Obama, “Four more years, but four more years where the U.S. will have to come to terms that you cannot live on China funding your debt forever.”
“Yes! You can, again… Mubaarak (congratulations) USA!” said a tweet by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire).
“The government and people of India send their congratulations to President Obama on his winning a second mandate from the people of the U.S. who have expressed their will in the great tradition of democracy in their country,” India’s External Affairs Ministry said in an official statement.
Russian media’s reaction to the election results was rather reserved. State-run channel NTV aired a report on the election in the newscast following two local reports. Its U.S. correspondent said that “the joy from the victory is expected to evaporate pretty quickly as Obama will have to face the country’s financial problems very soon.”
Mikhail Margelov, head of the international affairs committee at the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, told media that under Obama the U.S. foreign policy will be “unpredictable,” although there are still incentives for a “reboot” in relations between Russia and the U.S.
In Japan, the election received almost continuous coverage starting Tuesday evening Tokyo time until Wednesday lunch time when President Obama’s victory was announced. Public broadcaster NHK ran specials on “A divided America” and the controversy over healthcare reform, as well as continuing analysis and coverage of the results.
President Obama’s reelection was greeted with particular enthusiasm in the town of Obama – meaning “small beach” in Japanese, according to media reports. The hot spring resort has been cashing in on its namesake’s fame since 2008, selling a range of souvenirs bearing the president’s face.
On a more serious note, the governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima, called on the president to reduce the burden on the island, which hosts 75 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan. Opposition to the military presence has been stoked in recent weeks by the indictment of two U.S. sailors for the rape of a local woman, followed by an incident that saw a drunk U.S. airman allegedly break into an apartment and assault a 13-year-old boy.
In Germany, the election result came in during the early morning hours. But tabloid Bild used a big part of its home page on election news. A breaking news ticker on the site said “Obama has won the U.S. presidential election,” while the lead story carried the headline “Obama Remains President” and a smaller headline quoting Obama’s acceptance speech: “We are an American family.” Another Bild headline emphasized the back-and-forth of states results that had trickled in overnight: “The dramatic night that kept the world awake – it looked sooo close at first.”
German TV network RTL put the spotlight on the results in a morning news show. Before a live chat with a correspondent a Chicago, it showed a report about the election night that started off with a reference to Obama’s challenges late in the campaign that for a while looked like they could derail his re-election. “He’s standing in the rain, but it is a rain of confetti,” the report said as it showed Obama walking onto a stage in Chicago to address his supporters at the end of the election night. It also highlighted how the win in California gave the president the clear lead against Romney who later conceded. RTL’s report ended with the line: “The Obamas can leave the moving boxes in the cellar for another four years.”
Business newspaper Financial Times Deutschland featured an op-ed entitled “America’s Gift for Obama” on its home page. “Barack Obama now has the chance to win a spot in history books,” it said. “His re-election is a gift for him and a new chance for America.”
Conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung online led with the headline
“Obama reelected: ‘You have made me a better president’.” Another story focused on how Obama’s success gives him “a second chance,” while an op-ed entitled “Four More Years” focused on the challenges and opportunities for Obama’s second term.
In France, big newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro both used the same headline on their web sites: “Obama Re-Elected: ‘The Best Is Yet to Come’.”
And a report on TV network TF1 emphasized that after his re-election, Obama promised to be “more determined and more inspired than ever.”
Meanwhile, in Mexico, TV network Televisa and U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision emphasized the importance of the Latino vote. On an overnight newscast, Televisa said voters who backed Obama are now hoping the president will commit to immigration reform.
Online news site Aristegui Noticias also said the Hispanic vote played a key role, with more than 70 percent of eligible Latino voters opting for Obama. Mexican daily El Universal called the Latino vote a “decisive” factor in Obama’s re-election.
Gavin Blair in Tokyo, Nyay Bhushan in New Delhi, Vladimir Kozlov in Moscow and John Hecht in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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