Posted at: 11/07/2012 11:46 AM
By: Brian Mooar, NBC News
President Barack Obama won his re-election bid last night despite predictions of a very tight race.
With a status quo election result, the question now is: Can the White House and Congress compromise on a host of domestic issues?
In celebrating victory President Obama extended an olive branch to Republicans.
"In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together -- reducing our deficit, reforming out tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do," the president said.
He also reached out to a divided nation, saying "Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you have made me a better president."
While the president's electoral win was resounding, roughly two million votes separated the candidates.
In defeat Mitt Romney was both gracious and conciliatory. "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work," Romney told supporters.
Republicans will still have firm control of the house, but the current Congress is facing a looming crisis.
If there's no spending compromise by December 31st taxes will go up for every American on January 1st, and automatic, across-the-board cuts kick in.
Democrats will maintain control of the new Senate and have reclaimed Ted Kennedy's seat with Elizabeth Warren's win over Scott Brown in Massachusetts.
The election decided, lawmakers from both parties now face the daunting task of getting work done in a capital as polarized as ever.