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After decisive election victory, challenges ahead for President Barack Obama

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After months of rallies and fundraisers and seemingly endless robocalls and political ads, the 2012 presidential race is over. President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second four-year term on Tuesday, November 6th -- defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"We have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America -- the best is yet to come," President Obama said Tuesday.

The balance of power in Washington, D.C. is the same as it was prior to the election, but President Obama will return to the White House with a decisive victory and a vote of confidence from the American people.

Now, the focus shifts to daunting challenges ahead for President Obama and other leaders in Washington, D.C.

President Obama faces the challenge of governing a deeply divided country, ratification of his health care act (with full implementation in 2014), immigration overhaul -- all while the Congressional environment remains the same.

Meanwhile, Mitt and Ann Romney left their Boston hotel early Wednesday morning after losing a long, tough battle for the presidency.

In his concession speech early Wednesday morning, Romney congratulated President Obama on his successful re-election. He also wished President Obama a successful second term.

Romney says Washington needs to put aside the partisan bickering and work together.

"Generally people are feeling safe if there's divided government," UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee said.

Lee says the 2012 presidential election essentially ratified the status quo.

"We have to watch what happens in Washington.  Is this going to be -- because the election changed nothing -- the same as the last two years -- just people just throwing hand grenades over a wall?" Lee said.

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