Print Edition: March 8, 2015
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In the end, Catholic voters favored the president, 52%-45%. Mitt Romney encouraged Republicans to pray for the president and the nation: 'I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to a new greatness.'
BY CARL BUNDERSON/CNA
WASHINGTON — During his victory speech after being elected to a second term Nov. 6, President Barack Obama said that Americans are united in their values as a nation.
“Despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future,” he said Nov. 6.
“We want our children to live in an America not burdened by debt, weakened by inequality ... that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world.”
A country “built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being,” the president added. “We believe in generous, compassionate, tolerant America.”
Obama’s victory in the battleground state of Ohio put him over the 270 electoral-vote mark needed to win the election.
Despite winning the Electoral College, he failed to win a strict majority of votes, being elected with only 49.4% of the popular vote.
President Obama swept the swing states, winning Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney and his Catholic running mate Paul Ryan won the swing state of North Carolina.
As of late Nov. 6, the Florida vote was leaning towards the president, but remained too close to call.
The status quo in Washington was maintained, with Democrats controlling the White House and Senate and the Republicans holding the House of Representatives.
In his concession speech Tuesday night, Romney encouraged fellow Republicans to join him in praying for President Obama “and for this great nation.”
“We look for our pastors, priests, rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family,” he said.
“We look to our parents, for, in the final analysis, everything depends on the success of our homes. … I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to a new greatness.”
Numerous bishops had urged their faithful to vote with informed Catholic consciences in the weeks leading up to the election.
The Catholic vote was divided much as was the rest of the nation’s voters, leaning slightly in favor of Obama. A final Gallup poll, reflecting tracking from Nov. 1 to 4, showed Catholics favoring Obama by 52%-45%.
“The Catholic vote, like any number of votes, does have the potential to make an impact,” said Gregory Smith, a senior researcher who specializes in Catholic politics at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
While they do not vote as a unified group, Catholics are significant in elections because of their large numbers, making up approximately one in four U.S. voters, he said.
Smith said it is difficult to pinpoint what effect the contraception mandate and religious-freedom issues were having on the Catholic vote this year.
The Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires that virtually all employers, even religious ones, provide employees with health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, despite any moral or religious objections.
Under the mandate, Catholic organizations, such as schools and hospitals, are included, with only churches as exempt from the new rule.
The HHS mandate has already been challenged, with more than 34 lawsuits and over 100 plaintiffs.
The Obama administration has proposed an accommodation for religious employers, but the details are not yet clear. It has opposed congressional efforts to provide a broad religious exemption to the mandate.
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