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The Guardian 07.11.2012

The Guardian 07.11.2012

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Barack Obama makes a call in the last hours of campaigning in the race for the White HousePhotograph: Jason Reed/Reuters
 Americas verdict on Obama
 Ewen MacAskillWashington
Long queues formed across the UnitedStates from early morning yesterday astens of millions of Americans lined up todeliver their verdict on Barack Obama’spresidency, four years that have left thecountry more polarised than it has beenfor decades.While the 2008 vote was historic inputting an African-American into theWhite House, the 2012 race has had moreimpact, deepening the divide in the US toa level not seen since the battles over civilrights and the Vietnam war in the 1960s.Final estimates show the election wasthe most expensive in US history, withBarack Obama having raised close to $1bnand Mitt Romney more than $800m. Whenfigures for spending by supporters, mainlythe super-political action committees, arethrown in, the total is well over $2bn.The campaign almost throughout has been a referendum on Barack Obama.Both he and Republican challenger MittRomney repeatedly said this electionwould set the direction of the country fora generation, with consequences for theeconomy, healthcare and immigration aswell as foreign policy.Romney broke with convention to con-tinue campaigning into election day, vot-ing early in the morning near his home inBelmont, Massachusetts, before headingfor Ohio and Pennsylvania.Obama, taking a more relaxed view of the day, visited campaign volunteers in hishometown Chicago before playing a gameof basketball with friends and staff in a sta-dium in Chicago that can seat 1,000 people but was booked for the exclusive use of the president on this occasion.One of Obama’s advisers, Robert Gibbs,denied that Obama’s decision to avoidthe campaign trail yesterday reflectedcomplacency. Some Democrats arguedthat when Romney decided to continueon campaigning, Obama should have fol-lowed suit.Obama did give about a dozen inter-views for television and radio stations,mainly with those from the swing states.In one of his interviews, with the syndi-cated Steve Harvey Morning Show, Obamasaid: “I feel optimistic, but only cautiouslyoptimistic.”At the volunteer centre, Obama said:“The great thing about these campaigns isafter all the TV ads and all the fundraisingand all the debates and all the electioneer-ing, it comes down to this one day.”In a gracious gesture, he congratulatedRomney on a “spirited” and “hard-fought”campaign. But he indicated he expectedstill to be president today. “We feel confi-dent we’ve got the votes to win, that it’sgoing to depend ultimately on whetherthose votes turn out.”Vice-president Joe Biden continued onthe campaign trail, stopping in Ohio. Bothteams have made more visits to the statethan any other, seeing Ohio as holding thekey to the White House. While Romneywas waiting on board his campaign planeon the airport at Cleveland for his run-ning mate, Paul Ryan, Biden’s plane alsolanded. Ohio has chosen the winner of the last 12 presidential elections, and noRepublican has ever won the White Housewithout carrying it.There were sporadic reports of prob-lems over polling-machine break-downs,election fraud and issues with voter IDs.Florida, as has become usual, was thescene for some of the most chaotic elec-tion scenes, with queues two hours long.There were also reports of misleadingrecorded calls suggesting the vote would be today rather than yesterday. But thelong lines were in predominantly Repub-lican districts in Florida as well as Demo-cratic-leaning ones.There were long queues too in Virginia,
Continued on page 2 ≥Continued on page 15 ≥
I’m a Conservative – and they got me out of there
Hélène MulhollandPolitical reporter 
The Conservative party has suspendedNadine Dorries after it emerged she is totake time off from parliament to be a con-testant in ITV’s jungle-based reality showI’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.The decision by the MP for Mid Bed-fordshire to become the first serving MPto take part in the show, which featuresfamous faces performing in stunts that inthe past have included being smotheredin insects and eating a kangaroo’s penis,could keep her from parliamentary andconstituency business for a month.Colleagues reacted with surprise andthe MP faced a barrage of criticism. Byearly yesterday evening, the Conservativeparty had confirmed that the chief whip,Sir George Young, had withdrawn theparty whip from Dorries, who did notask him for permission to take part in theshow. Her constituency chairman also saidhe had been unaware of her involvementin the show.A party spokesperson said: “GeorgeYoung … will have an urgent meeting withher when she gets back. The concern is thatshe will not be doing parliamentary or con-stituency business in the meantime.” Labour branded the Tory MP “shame-less” over her decision to appear on theshow. Dorries, who is paid £65,738 a yearas an MP, will be paid up to a maximum of £40,000 for taking part in the show, whichruns daily from Sunday.Dorries, who has flown to Australia toprepare for the show – which is set in anoutdoor studio in the Queensland jungle– tried to justify the decision by sayingthe programme would act as a platformto reach the public and raise awarenessabout issues such as a reduction in theabortion limit from 24 weeks to 20.She told the Sun: “I’m doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching I’m A Celebrity, thatis where MPs should be going. I’m notgoing in there to upset people, but I haveopinions.”Pressed on her fellow Tory’s forth-coming appearance on the programme,the home secretary, Theresa May,said: “Frankly, I think an MP’s job is intheir constituency and in the House of Commons.”Labour accused the prime minister,who is on an offi cial visit to the MiddleEast, of showing weak leadership earlierin the day when he refused to be drawninto the fray. He said: “Nadine Dorries canspeak for herself on this issue.”Dorries has repeatedly clashed with the
Nadine Dorriessaid the realityshow would be aplatform for her topublicise her cam-paign to reduce theabortion limit
Wednesday 07.11.12Published in Londonand Manchester
Sofie Gra˚bøl on the end of Sarah Lund
‘It’s a mix of great pain and great relief’
Inspiration for your winter wardrobe
Supersize coats and ‘haute cowboy’ style
City facing Champions League exit
Mancini’s men need Madrid meltdown
Braley WggnsTe moment I realse Iwon te Tour e FranceIn Sport
President hails‘spirited’ Romneycampaign$2bn electionmost expensivein history
At the polls: Oliver Burkemanon the voters’ verdictPage 2 ≥Gary Younge on anticipation andnerves in Obama’s ChicagoPage 3 ≥From the snow of New Hampshireto superstorm Sandy, JonathanFreedland traces the mostexpensive campaign everPage 4 ≥Picture special: the best imagesof the dayPages 6-7  On guardian.co.ukUp-to-the-minute news, analysisand results, plus the full story of ahistoric night told by our unrivalledteam of US correspondents
The Guardian | Wednesday 7 November 2012
 America’s verdicton Obama
← continued from page 1
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Therecycled papercontentofUK newspapersin 2011was 78.9%
Close of polling might just bethe beginning of hostilities
Legal challenges in Ohioas irregularities reportedComplaints and confusionin Florida and New Jersey
 Oliver BurkemanNew York
On Staten Island, amid the wreckageof their homes, people voted in tents,illuminated in the early-morning darkness by power from portable generators. InBrooklyn, they queued for hours outsidepolling stations – as they had queued, just aday or two earlier, outside petrol stations.In Florida, voters reported discoveringthat their assigned voting locations didn’texist, while in the make-or-break state of Ohio, the inevitable legal challenges hadalready begun.But despite some extraordinary obsta-cles, by no means all of them attributableto superstorm Sandy, Americans votedin their tens of millions yesterday, as thefocus of the most expensive presidentialcampaign in history turned abruptly local,and the tallying of the knife-edge racethreatened to stretch far into the night.Even by the standards of electiondays past, yesterday seemed peculiarlysuffused with anxiety – the culminationof an exhausting battle in which Demo-crats and Republicans had often seemednot merely to hold different beliefs, butto inhabit different realities. For all the sense of denouement,though, more than 31 million Americanshad already voted – including roughlyhalf of those deemed likely to vote in thetoss-up state of Florida – and there wereominous predictions that the contestmight be far from over. Thousands of law-yers were scrutinising the voting processesacross the country – the Obama campaignreportedly had 2,500 in Ohio alone – whileactivists from the rightwing organisationTrue The Vote, which opposes voter fraud but which critics charge with voter sup-pression, were barred from some pollingstations there.Ohio’s secretary of state, Jon Husted,found himself on the receiving end of alawsuit claiming that last-minute changesmade to voting software might permit ballots to be manipulated.The atmosphere grew more fervid by mid-morning, with the emergenceof a YouTube video showing a votingtouchscreen in Pennsylvania apparentlyrecording a vote for Romney after theuser pressed Obama’s name. A Philadel-phia judge ordered election workers tocover a vast mural of Obama that adorneda school being used as a polling place. TheRepublican party in Michigan claimed oneof its poll-watchers had been threatenedwith a gun. And irregularities aside, theautomatic-recount laws in several swingstates meant close results might see therace stagger on, zombie-like, for weeks.Among supporters of the president, theelation of election day 2008, by which timean Obama victory seemed all but certain,was replaced by a nervous determination.Some Floridians had waited an astonish-ing seven hours to cast an early vote lastweek. Yesterday, at the C Blythe AndrewsJr Library in a drizzly Tampa, Larry duPree, who wore a large, glitzy watch bear-ing a picture of Obama, said: “In our com-munity we kind of take this election per-sonally. Being African American, for meto vote for Mitt Romney is like a chickenvoting for Colonel Sanders.” Changes toFlorida election law, such as limiting thenumber of days of early voting, amountedto “voter suppression”, he said. “Theywant to take us back to the slavery days.”Voting was obstructed for a differ-ent reason in the north-east, where lastweek’s storm left thousands in evacua-tion shelters or staying with friends farfrom home. New York’s governor, AndrewCuomo, signed a last-minute executiveorder allowing New Yorkers to vote fornational and state-level races at any poll-ing station. In New Jersey, the governor,Chris Christie, allowed voting by emailand fax – but at least one county clerk wasreduced to using Facebook to tell votersthey could use his personal Hotmailaddress instead.In Midland Beach, on largely Repub-lican Staten Island, a 33-year-old policeoffi cer, Gabriel Rivera, just seemed glad to be alive to vote, even if in a makeshift tent.His home had been flooded and his familyevacuated to New Jersey, said Rivera, whodeclined to reveal his presidential prefer-ence. But “property can be replaced”, hesaid. “Loved ones cannot.”Of all the cliches incessantly parroted by pundits over recent months, the mostclearly accurate, judging from the com-ments of swing-state voters yesterday,was that economic matters would deter-mine the president’s fate.“Romney. The economy,” one small-town schoolteacher from Iowa, CarleenCoppock, responded without hesitationwhen asked who she had voted for andwhy. As a female registered independ-ent, and an Iowan who voted for Obamain 2008, Coppock is as close to a demo-graphic nightmare for the president as itwas possible to get.“It’s the children thing, mainly,” shesaid. “I have a daughter about to go tocollege, and I want her to have a job whenshe comes out.”She had started drifting towards theRepublican over the summer, she said,and then the first debate had settled hermind. “That about did it,” she said. “Istarted leaning Romney.”Everywhere, Americans seemed deter-mined to vote, no matter the obstacles, but the first prize surely went to GaliciaMalone, a pregnant 21-year-old from Chi-cago, who cast the first vote of her life whileher contractions were five minutes apart,then drove herself to hospital. Meanwhile,the Detroit News reported that an elderlyMichigan man appeared to die while fillingout his ballot; having been revived withCPR, he asked: “Did I vote yet?”As America’s news networks geared upfor a long night, there was far less sign thanin previous years of partisan commenta-tors willing to concede, in the closinghours, that their side might have lost: thenasty, toxic campaign would be fought tothe bitter end. And so it was refreshing tofind, among the divided electorate, vot-ers like Daniel Taylor, 56, and Philip Neu-hring, 52, friends on opposite sides of thepolitical divide, creating an oasis of civilityand perspective over morning coffee in arestaurant in Jefferson County, Colorado.“I don’t think business people should be in government running it for profit,”said Taylor, a lawyer. Neuhring, an insur-ance analyst, said he backed Romney because “he has business experiencewhereas Obama has just theory and col-lege experience”.“Both sides have some merit,” Taylorconceded. “Very true,” Neuhring agreed.Then he added, with a smile: “Though of course, my side is right.”A few Americans seemed even more blissfully at peace despite the hostilitiesunfolding around them. At one pointyesterday, Obama stopped at a field offi cein Chicago to make get-out-the-vote callsto voters in Wisconsin. One woman hereached appeared not to know who he was.“This is Barack Obama,” he had to explain,twice. “You know. The president.”Looking two months ahead from thatmoment, though, Obama would have been forced to concede that even hecouldn’t tell you what the president’sname would be.
Leader comment, page 32 ≥
US election
super-political action committees, arethrown in, the total is well over $2bn.The campaign almost throughout has been a referendum on Obama. Both heand Romney repeatedly said this electionwould set the direction of the country fora generation, with consequences for theeconomy, healthcare and immigration aswell as foreign policy.Romney broke with convention to con-tinue campaigning into election day, vot-ing early in the morning near his home inBelmont, Massachusetts, before headingto Ohio and Pennsylvania.Obama, taking a more relaxed view of the day, visited campaign volunteers inhis hometown of Chicago before playinga game of basketball with friends and staff in a stadium in Chicago that can seat 1,000people but was booked for the exclusiveuse of the president on this occasion.One of Obama’s advisers, Robert Gibbs,denied that Obama’s decision to avoidthe campaign trail yesterday reflected
Reporting team
Alex Hotz in New York, Chris McGrealin Florida, Ed Pilkington in Ohio,Paul Harris in Iowa and Rory Carrollin Colorado“I came from a communist country,I don’t want America to become one.That’s Obama’s attitude. Take awayfrom the rich. Why he want to do that?Rich people give us jobs. It’s just like inHungary: first they take away from therich, then they come after you.”
George Mittermann, 82,Greenville, Ohio
“I can’t vote for a platform that seeswomen as second-class citizens …Obama has fought for us and keptunemployment levels down, whereasRomney would ban abortions and thatwould lead to twice as many deaths aswomen would keep having them.”
Christie Marie, 34, Cheviot, Ohio
I have been so anxious about beingable to vote ... It’s such a relief . This isthe happiest vote I ever cast.”
Annette DeBona, 73, New Jersey, anarea hit hard by superstorm Sandy
We take this election personally.Being African-American, for me tovote for Mitt Romney is like a chickenvoting for Colonel Sanders.”
Larry du Pree, Tampa, Florida
“If Romney wins, I’ll be bummed out but that’s OK, you can’t win them all.”
Lisa Burkheimer, 44,Lakewood, Colorado
“If going to the bank or the grocerystore was this easy, I’d do it every day.”
Issac Holmes, 52, Las Vegas
The Guardian | Wednesday 7 November 2012
 Gary YoungeChicago
 Election day in Chicago four yearsago felt like Christmas Eve. The pollsso favoured Barack Obama by thatstage that, in his heavily Democratichometown, it seemed as thoughthe gifts were already wrapped andall that remained was delivery – acollective suspense that time alonewould eventually satisfy. His victoryseemed simultaneously inevitable andunbelievable. People couldn’t wait because they wanted to see it happen. Yesterday felt like just one moredamp day in November, with asprinkling of anxiety that Christmas,this year, could be cancelled.They know they can elect a blackpresident; the question was could theyreelect him. Their complacency was sodented after his first debate perform-ance that their confidence could never bounce back quite so convincingly ashis poll numbers did. Few would evencontemplate defeat; few were com-pletely confident of victory. Peoplecouldn’t wait because they wanted it to be over.Thanks to Obama’s cosmopolitan
Bravado and fear in president’s hometown
 It was a day in which backs of heads became the focus of elite journalism.For nothing much happens once pollsopen: people have either voted or arequeuing to do so – and so many of the world’s finest newshounds werereduced to recording said queues (spe-cifically, the backs of the queuers’ nog-gins). Item A: Jamie Dupree, seasonedWashington correspondent, who spentmuch of the morning collating imagesof scalps. Item B: the New Yorker,which ran a rolling blog of voters’ pho-tos of other voters’ behinds. Rarely hasthe dandruff of ordinary Americans been so well documented.There was space for flashes of seriousreportage. For instance: thanks to his bag-carrier Garrett Jackson, who wasrecording his master’s big day via Twit-ter, we learned not only what Mitt Rom-ney had for breakfast – peanut butterand honey toast – but what he did oncehe got down from the table. Starting ashe hoped to finish, Romney cleared outthe trash. Quite literally. Romney – oras David Lynch, below right, recentlyrenamed him, “R-Money” – wassnapped shovelling kitchen detritus(full disclosure: a plastic receptaclerammed with what looked liketeabags and half a boiled egg)into a black bin-liner. Whetheror not it was collected is, how-ever, open for question. Lastmonth his binman RichardHayes released a video decry-ing R-Money’s notorious rejec-tion of the 47%. “You know, hedoesn’t reali se, you know, thatthe service we provide, you know– if it wasn’t for us, you know, there’d be a big health issue. You know, us notpicking up trash,” quoth Hayes, whosehour may just have come.And what of the comforter-in-chief?Well, what with all the trash talk, ElPresidente was struggling to get hisvoice recognised. Again, literally. At aDemocrat hideout in Illinois, Obamastarted showing off for the cameras,calling a supporter to thank her for herhard work. “Hello, it’s Barack Obama,”said Barack Obama, before apparently being asked to hold. He looked up: “Idon’t think she knows it’s me yet.”Rightly so, perhaps. For today wasnot just about the president. Also listedon ballot papers were candidates forstate elections and referenda on seriouslocal issues. Take Los Angeles, wherevoters deliberated over an anti-Aids law that would force pornactors to wear prophylactics.Known to locals as MeasureB, and to your diarist as the“Rubber Referendum”, the ballot has incensed certainsections of the adult indus-try. Not least Tera Patrick,pictured left, and Ron Jeremy– “porn legends” – who recentlyreleased a video slamming theCondom Covenant. “A mandatorycondom law will NOT make our work-place any safer,” argued Patrick, “butit will drive our $20bn industry and10,000 jobs out of LA county.”Sport, it seems, is a great unifier. InChicago, the president was knucklingdown to a game of basketball with hisstaffers. It’s an election tradition forObama, apparently. “We made the mis-take of not playing basketball once,”said Robert Gibbs, Obama’s formerpress secretary. “We won’t make thatmistake again.” Dancing will have towait, however. Asked whether he couldmimic the moves in Gangnam Style, aYouTube hit, the commander-in-chief –nay, dancer-in-chief – said that he prob-ably could, just not tonight: “Maybe[I’ll] do it privately for Michelle.
PatrickKingsley’selectionnight diary
in Billings, Montana. More than 31 million Americans had already voted before yesterdayPhoto: Jae C Hong/AP
Big news, small screen
Live US election results and commentary onyour mobile device
upbringing – which took him fromHawaii to Indonesia and back – there aremany places he can call home. But heclaims Chicago and Chicago claims him.When he’s back in town the traffi c clogswith pride.At Yours in the Grove, a shop thatsells Obama T-shirts and hats round thecorner from the president’s local pollingstation, the owner thought those whowere disappointed in Obama’s perform-ance needed to put his record into per-spective. “You have to remember thathe did not create this situation,” shesaid. “He’s just trying to deal with it inthe best manner. So I think he deservesanother chance.”The further south you go in the city,the more confident people got. In theplayground at my son’s school in thenorthern neighbourhood of Edgewater,many parents (almost all Democrats)were nervous. “It’s just too close,” saidone mum. “I have a really bad feelingabout it.” But down on the mostly Afri-can American southside, Melvyn , whoowns the President’s Lounge bar, couldnot have been more bullish.“He’s got it,” he said. “He knows it.Romney knows it. We just have to watchit play out.”
‘It’s justtoo close.I have areally badfeelingabout it’

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