WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama was reelected as 44th president of the United States, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Major TV networks called the race for Obama at around 11:15 PM EST, after he was named the projected winner in Ohio. The Buckeye State became a must-win for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, after Obama won several other battleground states. Both campaigns focused campaigning on Jewish communities in Florida and Ohio — states seen as critical to Romney’s path to the presidency.

Obama praised the service of Romney and his parents, George, the late Michigan governor, and Lenore, who ran for the U.S. Senate.

He told his cheering followers: "You reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression … the belief that while each of us will pursue our individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise and fall as one nation."

While the Romney campaign initially refused to concede defeat in Ohio, it quickly became apparent that Romney had been defeated. He appeared in front of supporters in Boston shortly before 1 AM to deliver his concession speech.

"This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said, rejecting "partisan bickering and political posturing."

"We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify to the enduring principles on which our society is built," Romney said.

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