NI tunes in for Obama's presidency win

Published Wednesday, 07 November 2012
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Northern Ireland was watching as Barack Obama was declared US President for four more years on Wednesday morning.

NI tunes in for Obama's presidency win
A delegation watched the election results at a US Consulate breakfast. (© UTV)

A breakfast was held at Belfast Metropolitan College's Springfield campus where those following the election could watch Obama giving his victory speech on the big screen.

The event was held in partnership with the US Consulate and was attended by the US Consul General Gregory Burton.

"It's been a wonderful event, we've had lots of people come to join us to celebrate the democracy - the crowning day of democracy being election day," he said.

He said that among the many hot topics, Northern Ireland will be on the register for the American leader.

We've got a very strong relationship - political, economic and people-to-people - between the United States and Northern Ireland and we'll continue to build on that.

US Consul General Gregory Burton

He added: "There's been a strong policy direction that way from the Obama administration. I don't see any reason why they won't continue that in the second Obama administration."

He noted strong European support for Obama, who won by a majority after he took swing states Ohio and Virginia, but the consul said that the result wasn't just down to a personality contest.

"I think anytime you are dealing with the election of an American president, it's a combination of personal appeal and the policy appeal, but certainly I wouldn't underestimate the importance of the policies that candidates were promoting," he said.

Also at the event was Ulster Scots author Alister McReynolds who said that, historically, a democrat in the Oval Office was a positive thing for Northern Ireland.

"When we think back to the Clintons ... The traditional presidential attitude before the Clintons was to say: 'That's somebody else's problem or we don't get involved'.

"Clinton took chances and did get involved. The situation has moved on and we're on the cusp of the peace process, and certainly Obama has shown an interest in his Irish roots. It was worthwhile in his first term in office to visit Ireland.

"I think that (Romney) was going to be that candidate that looked in and looked at the American economy, whereas I think Obama is probably stronger in foreign policy and looking beyond America's shores."

Mr Reynolds said there was the possibility of a NI visit from Obama building on his trip to the Republic.

"He said that these four years are about building on the first four years. So it would be nice if he would include Northern Ireland in any new round of global thinking," he said.

"He would find a workforce here that was very receptive, because I think people here are very grateful to America and the part that it played in the peace process."

Northern Ireland politicians have passed on their congratulations to the President, including the First and deputy First Ministers.

"We congratulate President Obama on his re-election," DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said.

"As part of his previous term, we were fortunate to receive considerable support from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. We look forward to further developing this relationship."

The American administration has always been a strong supporter of the peace and political process and we do not underestimate the positive role it has played over recent years.

Peter Robinson & Martin McGuinness

The Stormont leaders added: "We look forward to building upon already established strong business, cultural and government links with the USA.

"We wish President Obama, and the First Lady, every success as he begins his second term of office."

Alliance leader David Ford also wished Mr Obama well on his second term in office.

"It is with great pleasure that I welcome President Obama's re-election. America has again sent a message that they want a leader who wants to unite people both in their country and around the world," he said.

"His election four years ago was a watershed moment in American politics, the effect of which was felt across the world. I hope that with this second mandate that he will be able to further deliver on his liberal policies on foreign affairs, environmental protection, energy and equality for all.

"His visit to the Republic of Ireland was very successful where he was able to pass on his message of hope and change, so I hope during his second term in office he will be able to visit Northern Ireland."

During his 2011 visit to the Republic, President Obama acknowledged his ancestoral roots with a visit to Moneygall.

He later introduced himself to cheering crowds in Dublin as "Barack Obama ... of the Moneygall O'Bamas" and paid tribute to the strong links between Ireland and America.

"Irish signitures are on our founding documents ... There's always been a little green behind the red, white and blue," he said at the time.

In Chicago on Wednesday, President Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha, strode to a lectern at his campaign headquarters, to the sounds of Stevie Wonder's song, 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours'.

Looking visibly relieved after many long weeks of hard campaigning, the president looked on as the chant "Four more years, four more years!" resounded across the room.

His victory speech lasted for almost 25 minutes, but one message underlined his every word: "The best is yet to come, but we have more work to do."

Republican rival Mitt Romney earlier conceded defeat, phoning the president to congratulate him on his victory.

He told his supporters he and running mate Paul Ryan had "given our all" to the campaign and said he wished his Democrat opponent well.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Martin in Belfast wrote (808 days ago):
The recent devastation caused by hurricane Sandy proved just how little the Obama administration was prepared to do when it came to relief for those affected . Troops so quickly and rapidly deployed to fight on foreign soil were not put into action on their own native soil to alleviate the problems faced in the aftermath of the horrific storm . It seems to be of little consequences who is elected into the office of the President, as each successor rolls out the worn out line of "work to be done " or "changes to be made " -yet when in office simply repackage their old political goods .
Barry in Broughshane wrote (809 days ago):
Hopefully Northern Ireland as well Ryan, well done Obama
andy in ards wrote (809 days ago):
lets see how many wars he can start and how many countries he can stick his unwanted nose in this term.
Kieran Murphy in Dungiven wrote (809 days ago):
President Obama is elected for four more years and the US Federal debt is 16 trillion USD plus 4 trillion debts of the 50 States but what will these debts be in four more years The House of Representives has the power to block increased borrowings or other policies but American Debt is the same as their GDP 16 trillion or 100% To try to reduce American debt to 60% of GDP would require 6 trillion of a restructuring programme over 20 years and would be a huge project and make Euro Zone debt restructuring in 4 Euro Zone States look so simple
Ryan in Belfast wrote (809 days ago):
Great to hear Obama got reelected, lets hope he pays ireland another visit within his next 4 years as President.
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