Remember that presidential election we had two months ago? The electoral college has followed through.
Lawmakers on Friday counted the electoral college's votes on Friday, and the results were as expected: 332 votes for Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden; and 206 votes for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Biden, in his role as the Senate's president, read the results of the electoral college's votes – actually taken in December, more than a month after Election Day – in a joint legislative session in the U.S. House.
While Obama awaits his January 21 inauguration, he'll be making new picks for his cabinet. High-profile vacancies are expected to include secretary of state, secretary of defense and treasury secretary.
Big cabinet decisions loom as Obama vacations
Obama’s cabinet: Who’s in, who’s out?
Obama, GOP lay out hard lines for tough talks ahead
Democrats held onto the governorship in Washington on Friday, bringing an end to the only outstanding election from this week's governors' races.
Republican candidate Rob McKenna conceded to Democratic candidate Jay Inslee in a video statement. Inslee, a former U.S. representative, will succeed two-term Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.
"Despite the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers, donors, staff and everyone who's been part of Team McKenna, it appears we will fall short of victory when the last ballots are counted. After 17 months of hard work, that is a very disappointing result," said McKenna.
Eleven states held governors' races Tuesday. Democrats were defending eights seats, Republicans three.
By Wednesday afternoon, CNN had projected winners in all but one of the elections - Washington - where mail-in ballots made up about 40% of the votes.
With the race in Washington now decided, Democrats hold 19 governorships; Republicans 30. Rhode Island's governor is an independent.
Republicans flipped North Carolina this year, expanding their national lead over Democrats at the statehouse level. The state hadn't elected a GOP governor since the 1980s.
The Democrats picked up another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday after longtime Rep. Mary Bono Mack conceded defeat three days after the election.
Bono Mack - who in 1998 succeeded her late husband Sonny Bono, one half of the famous Sonny and Cher singing duo before he went into politics - said Friday in a statement that she had called Democrat Raul Ruiz "and congratulated him on his impressive victory."
"After 25 years of public life in the beautiful desert, it is now time for me to start a new chapter in my life," said Bono Mack, who resides in the Palm Springs area of southern California.
With Ruiz's win, Democrats now have at least 195 seats in the House. Republicans are still guaranteed a majority, with at least 234 seats, while six contests remain too close to call.
Bono Mack won't have to look to find someone who understands what it feels like to lose this election cycle. Her current husband, former Rep. Connie Mack IV, lost his bid for a Senate seat against incumbent Bill Nelson in Florida.
[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama said he's invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House next week for talks on reducing the deficit and avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff facing the economy at the end of the year.
Obama, speaking at the White House on Friday afternoon, repeated his stance that he wants a plan that would allow the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts only for income over $250,000.
Happy post-Election Day. Or welcome to your 12th cup of coffee if you're still waiting to see how Florida voted for president. (Since it was a relatively early election night, we hope you were able to get some sleep in.)
President Barack Obama rode a wave of broad support from minorities, women and moderates to win re-election Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Democratic strongholds and key battleground states.
“While the road has been hard, while the journey has been long … we know in our hearts, for the United States of America, the best is yet to come,” Obama told supporters in Chicago early Wednesday.
If you did decide to call it an early night and head to bed after the presidential race was called, look no further. You can watch his victory speech here:
Editor's note: Watch CNN's comprehensive coverage of Election Day starting at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday on CNN TV and follow online at CNN.com or via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. For up-to-the-minute results, go to cnn.com/results and for our real-time Election Day live blog, check out cnn.com/conversation. Need other reasons to watch Election Day coverage on CNN's platforms? Click here for our list.
And we're off! It's Election Day in America and we hope that if you haven't already, you'll be headed to the polls today to cast your vote for president as well as for your local officials and issues.
The first votes were cast very early this morning in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. The polls there have opened shortly after midnight each Election Day since 1960 - but today's tie was the first in its history. President Barack Obama got five votes, as did Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Is it a sign of how the rest of the day will go?
The finish line is almost here. Americans have weighed a plethora of questions in choosing their presidential candidate.
But amid the quadrennial explosion of political ads, bumper stickers and debates, some questions still baffle: Why is the Republican mascot an elephant? Why are Democrats linked to the color blue? And what happens if the candidates tie?
Here's a voter's guide to such perpetually confounding questions:
The first presidential election results are in - and it's a tie.
President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, each received five votes in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.
The town in the state's northeast corner has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960 - but today's tie was the first in its history.
Explainer: What if there's a national tie?
The result was unexpected, said town clerk Dick Erwin. The town has two registered Democrats, three Republicans and five independents.
What will you be watching tomorrow night? If you're like millions of Americans and, perhaps, some of the scores detained at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, your television will be tuned in to see who wins the presidential election.
President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney remain engaged in a tight contest in Ohio, according to a CNN poll from that key battleground state released four days before the election.
With 50% support from likely voters, Obama narrowly outpaces Romney's 47% backing in the CNN/ORC International survey, which was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday. But that difference is within the poll's 3.5% sampling error. Ohio has 18 electoral votes.
Read more about the poll, and the race, on CNN's Political Ticker.
Mitt Romney said that he loves Big Bird but that the "Sesame Street" resident is not important enough for America to go into debt with China to subsidize him and his PBS friends. Does this mean our feathered friend could lose his job under a Romney administration? Would he then become a drain on our society? Are there retraining opportunities to become a St. Louis Cardinal or Baltimore Oriole? What family does Big Bird have? Who the heck is this yellow thing?
How likely is it that Big Bird gets the pink slip?
Our yellow feathered friend may be hoping he'll be able to mind his Ps and Qs on "Sesame Street" but might be feeling a little worried about his bills while the cloud of losing his job hangs over his head. How likely is it?
Sesame Workshop, which produces "Sesame Street," says on its website that 93% of production costs for the show are covered by licensing activities or corporate sponsorships, CNNMoney.com reports.
But Children's Television Workshop, which helps produce "Sesame Street," gets a decent number of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Here are the numbers for those ready to count with the Count: In 2009, it received $2.5 million in total. In 2010, a federal Ready to Learn grant, which helps put on educational TV shows, provided about $1.5 million, and the overall digital presence for "Sesame Street" and friends got $8 million to help spread educational messages and games online in 2011.
So maybe Big Bird should be taking this seriously. Even if most of the funding goes to his friends, a change in funding might put them out of work too if Romney were to go through with his idea to cut subsides to PBS. And that doesn't sound like it'd help all the people in his neighborhood.
It isn't the first time Big Bird has found himself in the middle of a national budget debate.
Last year, he survived a brush with budget-cut-hungry Republicans in the House, who voted to slash funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, only to see it added back into the final government funding deal.
What happens to Big Bird's health insurance if he gets axed?
If our "Sesame Street" friend did join the 12.5 million Americans who are unemployed, his joyful tone may switch to a sad rendition of "Can you tell me how to get to the unemployment line?"
David A. Rice feels like Mitt Romney wrote him off.
The 61-year-old has always been a values-based voter, generally votes Republican and could be a key vote in the swing state of Florida. But he's also among the 47% of Americans that Mitt Romney said don't pay income tax and rely on government support.
"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in a clip from a secretly filmed private donor meeting in May, which was first posted on Monday afternoon. "There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
Romney's '47%' – Washington's tax-break obsession to blame
Rice says he is working part-time and doesn't pay taxes because he can't find a good job. And the fact that Romney wrote him off in those comments is frustrating.
"I am insulted. I support you and you just wrote me off with the 47% who pay no taxes. In that group are those who cry every time they use food stamps; people who would trade them in a minute for a real job. In that group are Christians who shudder at the thought of voting for abortion and gay rights," he wrote in an iReport. "You have strengths that appeal to the demographic you just wrote off ... use it! In the middle of rich supporters you cannot afford to write off a huge group with a careless word."
The 61-year-old said that he has been forced once or twice to take food stamps - and unlike what Romney contends in his comments - he maintains it was not something he was proud of or hopes to ever have to do again.
"It really hurt me," the iReporter told CNN. "It was not something that I wanted to do, I did it because I didn't have a job."
Rice says he didn't think it was right for Romney to lump every low-income person into the same group.
"Not everyone who takes food stamps is a food stamps junkie," Rice told CNN. "There are people who think the government owes them a living and that the government ought to take care of them and be their momma and daddy all their life. That doesn't apply to everyone."
It all left Rice a bit uneasy.
Which leads to the big questions swirling around the Romney campaign: How much damage will Romney's comments do to his chances for winning the election? Were his comments a big enough gaffe, combined with previous missteps, to really dent his campaign? Were his comments just the brutal truth others don't want to hear? Will it sway the votes of Republicans, independents or the undecided?
Facing a close election and Republican attacks that they have made things worse while in power, President Barack Obama and Democrats seek to emphasize what has been achieved and additional steps to bolster the middle class at their three-day national convention that begins Tuesday.
The political conclave that will formally nominate Obama for a second term serves as a response to last week's Republican convention that nominated Mitt Romney as the GOP challenger in November.
Democrats offered a glimpse of issues expected to play a prominent role in this week's events, releasing their party platform late Monday. It focuses on improving the economic situation for middle-class Americans, a central theme of Obama's campaign and an issue the party hopes will win votes come November. It also contains language endorsing same-sex marriage for the first time, a move that brings the party's official stance in line with that of the president, who said for the first time in May that he supports marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
"Over the course of the week, you'll hear a very different tone than the one that you heard last week in Tampa, which was really essentially one nonstop series of attacks on President Obama," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN on Tuesday.
"We're going to lay out the case for moving the economy forward. President Obama and speakers throughout the week will talk about and have an honest conversation about where we were when he first took office and where we are now after four years of his policies and 29 straight months of job growth in the private sector. And that we need to continue to move forward and we've got a ways to go."
First lady Michelle Obama will address the convention Tuesday night, and former President Bill Clinton headlines the second night before Obama concludes it with his nationally televised address Thursday night.
Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the storm's impact on the region.
Today's programming highlights...
Ongoing coverage - Hurricane Isaac tracker and briefings
8:30 am ET - GOP women's breakfast - Ann Romney and Janna Ryan will participate in a "Women for Mitt Romney" breakfast in Tampa. Ann Romney will then attend a Latina coalition luncheon at 12:15 pm ET.
Tropical Storm Isaac could make landfall in the U.S. Gulf Coast as soon as tonight. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the storm.
Continuing coverage - Tropical Storm Isaac tracker
8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony defamation hearing - Attorneys for the woman suing Casey Anthony for defamation will ask a Florida judge to force Anthony to reveal her finances and source of income.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan gives his first one-on-one interview since becoming the nominee.
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan had his first solo interview since being added to the ticket Tuesday. He was asked about Mitt Romney’s budget plan. Listen to what he says about the budget policy.
Police say Chavis Carter shot himself in the head when he was handcuffed in the back of a police car. They demonstrate how it may have happened.
There has been much speculation around the mysterious death of a handcuffed man in the back of a police car in Arkansas. Authorities say he committed suicide and police in Arkansas released a video reconstructing what they believed happened. Watch the video, then listen to what CNN legal contributor Paul Callan has to say about what may happen when the case goes to court.
Olympian and U.S. soccer champ Hope Solo talks to Piers Morgan about her reputation in the media.
U.S. soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo has a reputation on and off the field. The goalie went on a Twitter rant against broadcaster and former soccer player Brandi Chastain after an Olympic soccer match. Hear what Solo has to say about the negative backlash.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Two teams of producers are traversing the country as part of CNN Radio and CNN iReport's Embed America project. They're talking to voters about how the 2012 presidential election affects them, and focusing on issues identified during phase 1 of the iReport debate.
CNN visited Hopedale, Ohio, to meet iReporter Amanda Sedgmer. She's the mother of five children and the wife and daughter of a coal miner. Sedgmer told CNN she feared that if President Obama was re-elected, her family's way of life would be threatened. At the same time, competition from natural gas and a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency are contributing to the demise of some coal plants. The resulting story garnered thousands of comments. One topic the readers discussed was how other fields have changed due to circumstances. Some offered messages of hope for Hopedale.
The war over coal is personal
The decline of auto manufacturing jobs in the Midwest left this reader out in the cold, and she offered advice to Sedgmer.
Jakes_momma: "Ms. Sedgmer, please don't blame the POTUS for the decline in coal production. The energy industry is changing. Coal was once king, now it's natural gas. That's not the government, that's industry moving on. If you and your husband are smart, you'll make a change quickly and leave the area, as much as it saddens me to tell you that. I've had to leave my childhood home of central Indiana when the auto industry shut plant after plant after plant in the city we lived in during the '80s. There are no longer good paying production jobs of any quantity in that area. We didn't wait until the last plant closed to leave, we sold our home and moved on. We would have loved to have had a GM job like our dads but it was not in our control. You may be voting for Romney but you would be wise to keep the Obama 2012 slogan in mind - 'Forward.' What is really in the future of the coal industry regardless of who is president is more closures. I think they have fracking in Ohio; that's the future (at least short-term). Good luck to you, your family and your area! It's hard and very sad to watch an industry change, even if it's better for all."
Some said readers should try to be understanding of the family.
Andrea Dawn Bignall: "If you were in their situation, you would probably do the same. They have kids to think about, and jobs are harder to come by nowadays. Yeah, its bad for the environment, but so is driving you car back and forth to work everyday. Put yourself in someone else's shoes."
One commenter asked if the family is lucky, in a strange way. FULL POST
Join Wolf Blitzer and the CNN Political Team tomorrow at 12 pm ET on CNN.com Live as they answer your questions on the 2012 elections and all things politics.
9:00 am ET - Florida real estate developer trial - Closing arguments are expected in the trial of Adam Kaufman, who's charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife.
The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.
10:00 am ET - National Mall hearing - The future of Washington's National Mall is the subject of a House subcommittee hearing. Will any additions or changes be made to the landmark?
9:00 am ET - Florida real estate developer trial - Testimony continues in the trial of Adam Kaufman, who's charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife.
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