Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Live blog: Obama vs. Romney — The view from Southern California on election day


SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama (L) and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finish their debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012.

8:55 p.m. (AP) — President Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican Mitt Romney in a hard-fought race in which the economy was the dominant issue.

Voters decided to give Obama another four years of stewardship over an economy that is slowly recovering from the recession.

Obama captured battleground states including Ohio, Iowa and Colorado on his way to the 270 electoral votes he needed.

Romney unsuccessfully campaigned on the theme that his business background gave him the experience needed to guide the nation out of tough economic times.

Obama will again be dealing with a divided Congress. Democrats maintained control of the Senate and Republicans likely will again control the House. Among the most pressing matters is the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit in January. Economists have warned that if they aren't averted, the nation could face another recession.


Obama, Romney clash on economy in first debate

Obama And Romney Square Off In First Presidential Debate In Denver

Pool/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

In a showdown at close quarters, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney sparred aggressively in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. "The status quo is not going to cut it," declared the challenger.

Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to "double down" on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago — and of evasiveness on details for Romney proposals on tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more.

Both men made frequent references to the weak economy and high national unemployment, by far the dominant issue in the race for the White House. Public opinion polls show Obama with a slight advantage in key battleground states and nationally, and Romney was particularly aggressive, like a man looking to shake up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run.


Live Blog: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's first presidential debate

In Profile: 100 Years In US Presidential Races

Marc Serota/Getty Images

This composite image shows Barack Obama (L) and Mitt Romney. The Nov. 6, 2012 elections will decide who between Obama and Romney who will win to become the next president of the United States.

Please enjoy our live blogging of the debate


The presidential race has gone to the birds

Reddish Egret

Chuck Almdale

Obama: The elegantly plumed Reddish Egret, photographed at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, is noted for its dancing maneuvers when searching for food.

Eastern Kingbird

Susan Gilliland

Romney: The Eastern Kingbird has a small colored crown patch of feathers. It sits upright on a perch surveying for prey, then swoops to catch it, returning to the perch.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Jim Kenney

Biden: The yellow-breasted Chat, photographed at Malibu Lagoon, is the largest and noisiest of the American Wood Warbler family.

Merlin falcon

Lillian Johnson

Ryan: The Merlin falcon, photographed at Malibu Lagoon, preys on pigeons.

Chuck Almdale of North Hills has long been part of KPCC's Public Insight Network of sources we turn to with our political questions. He's also a bird enthusiast and a great source on all things avian.

So I asked him: which Southern California birds best portray the presidential candidates and their running mates — and why?

He conferred with fellow birders Ed Stonick and Tom Leskiw and came up with these profiles:

President Barack Obama: The Reddish Egret Egretta — An elegantly plumaged bird, it darts and dashes through the watery shallows when searching for food, rapidly spreading its wings as a canopy over its head. This not only enables it to better see its prey, but small fish are sometimes attracted to the "shade" the wings provide. This fastidious bird pays close attention to the details.

Vice President Joe Biden: Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens — The largest and noisiest of the American Wood Warbler family, the chat is always going on about something-or-other. More often heard than seen, he moves through the underbrush and tree canopies, chattering away endlessly. 

Mitt Romney: Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus — The kingbird group of New World Flycatchers all have a small colored crown — a patch of feathers on the top of their heads. These feathers — usually hidden — are erectable when the bird feels like it, which is either in courting or threat displays. They sit very upright and motionless on a perch until they see a nice juicy insect go flying by, then they capture it and return to their perch.

Paul Ryan: Merlin Falco columbarius — This small falcon used to be called the "Pigeon Hawk," for its skill at swooping — with the blinding sun behind him — down on a plump pigeon. No remorse for the parasitic pigeon, who expects home and food supplied by society and not only gives nothing in return, but poops all over everything.