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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to supporters during his victory speech during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to supporters during his victory speech during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012.

(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Expats debate: My greatest hope coming out of this election is that leaders learn to compromise Add to ...

After a long and divisive campaign, President Barack Obama has been re-elected, chosen by Americans over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

This is part of our U.S. Election 2012: Canadians in America series – expats talking about life and politics south of the border.

We asked the expats how they felt when they heard the results.

Stefan Neata, an investment banker in New York City, from Toronto:

On my way home from work I stopped into a coffee shop just as President Obama was beginning his speech and I’m very glad I did.

For the few minutes that he spoke, everyone in the coffee shop was once again riveted by him (the customers, the wait staff, and the dishwashers all stopped in place). It seemed that he had recaptured the energy and passion that seemed to be lacking in the campaign season. I loved his focus on co-operation and I was also encouraged by Mr. Romney’s gracious concession speech earlier in the night.

My greatest hope coming out of this election is that leaders from both parties will use this opportunity to reach a workable compromise on the fiscal situation and resolve the fiscal cliff that is threatening the stability of the economy. I think that America is generally on the right track and I’m excited about what the future holds.

Carla Swanson, who lives in Big Lake, Minn., from Saskatoon:

This is a heart-wrenching loss for Mr. Romney. About half the nation is grieving today, including me. My kids are hurting too, so I did my best to comfort them, and I prayed for them. This morning I made sure to be cheerful and encouraging despite my own disappointment. This was my daughter’s first vote.

Luke MacDonald, a student in Provo, Utah, from New Glasgow, N.S.:

I feel optimistic about Mr. Obama’s economic plans, and I can’t blame people who would scream at me for saying that. However, while it has been four years and the excuse is getting a little old, the economic situation of the country was a certified disaster when Mr. Obama took office, and that takes time to fix.

I don’t necessarily feel that Mr. Romney would have been much better or worse than Mr. Obama, but I think that people are showing their partisan colours a little too strongly when they say that the country will be unrecognizable after another four years.

Jason Sidhu, who works in California’s Silicon Valley, from Vancouver:

I feel exhausted! I also feel relieved. I can finally turn on my radio and television again without having to listen to negative ads and people screaming at me.

I also feel a bit disappointed that billions of dollars were spent and the attention of the entire country was held hostage for an election that resulted in continued divided government. After all that, we are no closer to having a government that can pass the kind of legislation that is so badly needed. Once again, we will move forward together, or not at all. Now we have to pressure the people we elected to actually work together to pass common sense legislation to fix this economy.

I feel that everyone (on both sides) fought so hard … to achieve the status quo.

Jenny Zhang, who works in advertising in Greensboro, N.C., from Ottawa and Toronto:

I am incredibly relieved and surprisingly emotional. To me the outcomes at the national and state ballot elections felt like a broad mandate in favor of equality and non-discrimination, universal health care and caring for your fellow man.

Sherry Halfyard, a career consultant in Phoenix, Ariz., from Vancouver Island, B.C.:

I’m happy to see the end of campaigning and a measure of relief that Mr. Obama kept the top spot. Arizona is a Republican state, however the gap between the parties is narrow. It’s anticipated that Arizona, given the increasing Hispanic population, will accordingly move toward the left. Given Mr. Romney garnered less of the Hispanic vote than Mr. McCain reflects the Republican party’s disconnect with various cultural and demographic shifts.

Ben Wright, a web co-ordinator in Atlanta, Ga., from PEI:

I’m relieved that a president who inherited a mess and seemed to be in the process of righting the ship has been given the chance to keep following that path.

I don’t think a massive change of direction would have been wise at this point on an economic front and I was concerned about what would have happened to Obamacare under a Romney presidency. I think history will see the passing of the Affordable Care Act as a tremendous accomplishment even if it isn’t recognized as such now.

My hope is that the results of the election will will push the Republicans back toward the middle and away from the extreme positions that scared off so many voters. That might be too much to ask though. It will be interesting to see who steps up to lead the Republican party next.

Ashley O’Kurley, a financial planner in Miami, Fla., from Edmonton:

I was delighted to hear the President say “by the way, we’ve gotta fix that” – referring to the long lines that voters had to endure in Florida and elsewhere. Some of the counter-democratic impulses of how elections are prosecuted in this country are really deplorable. Not much was learned from the Bush-Gore mess in Florida during the 2000 election and I would not be surprised to see something even worse than that in the future.

We don’t realize just how good we have it with Elections Canada!

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