Behind every great man is a great woman, or so the saying goes.

But Barack Obama revealed he couldn't be the man he is without the backing of his three "strong, beautiful" women, as he made his victory speech in Chicago on Wednesday morning.

In a personal tribute to his wife Michelle, the re-elected president said he "wouldn't be the man today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago".

"Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more.

"I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation's first lady."

The US president also tweeted a picture of him hugging his wife, sending the social network site into a spin.

obamamichellehug

The image now officially the most shared tweet in the website's history


Obama also praised his two daughters Sasha and Malia, who walked out on stage with him to a rapturous audience.

"Sasha and Malia – before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom."

The president seized on the family theme to thank his campaign team and set out his vision for the future, saying: "All of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together.

"I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest.

"We are an American family and we rise or fall as one nation or one people."

Obama secured at least 303 out of the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory by snatching wins in the crucial swing states including Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

By contrast Mitt Romney only won two states more than John McCain did when he lost to Obama in 2008 - Indiana and North Carolina,

Immediately after the major TV networks declared him the winner just after 11pm EST, President Obama tweeted his thanks to voters, including the message "four more years".

In an email to his supporters accompanying the Tweets Obama said: "Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests. There's a lot more work to do."

However while Obama secured a healthy win in the electoral college, the popular vote nationwide was far closer. At the time of writing Obama had won 49,477,410 votes while Romney was only slightly behind on 49,463,852.

In an embarrassment for the Republican ticket both Romney and his vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan lost their home states of Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

In his concession speech in Boston, Romney told supporters: "I have just called Obama to congratulate him on his victory.

“This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation."

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  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama accompanied by daughter Malia, First Lady Michelle and daughter Sasha waves to supporters as he arrives on stage on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. President Barack Obama swept to re-election Tuesday, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama celebrates on stage with his daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (R) and his wife Michelle in Chicago on November 7, 2012. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama celebrates with his daughters Sasha (R) and Malia (2nd-L) and US First Lady Michelle Obama in Chicago on November 6, 2012. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama, his daughters Sasha (2nd R) and Malia ((L) and his wife Michelle celebrate on stage in Chicago on November 7, 2012. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama hugs his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (R) on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. President Barack Obama swept to re-election Tuesday, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-OBAMA

    US President Barack Obama celebrates with his daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (R) and US First Lady Michelle Obama in Chicago on November 7, 2012. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha disembark from Air Force One at the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, on June 15, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CHURCH

    US President Barack Obama walks across Lafayette Park to St. John's Episcopal Church to attend Sunday services with daughters Malia(2nd-L), Sasha(2nd-R) and First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington DC, August 19, 2012. AFP Photo/ Chris Kleponis (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Obama Accepts Nomination On Final Day Of Democratic National Convention

    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: (L-R) Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, and First lady Michelle Obama listen as Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Obamas Go To Sunday Service

    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 19: (AFP OUT) (L-R) U.S. President Barack Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church August 19, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama is embroiled in an election race with Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Democratic National Convention: Day 1

    WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 4: In this handout photo provided by The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia (L) and Sasha, watch on television as first lady Michelle Obama takes the stage to deliver her speech at the Democratic National Convention on September 4, 2012 in the Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, DC. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House Photo via Getty Images)

  • President And Mrs. Obama Host Annual Easter Egg Roll At White House

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks to participants along with (L-R) first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people people are expected to attend the 134-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • President Obama and Family Attend Easter Service

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 8: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia walk across Lafayette Park to attend Easter Services at St. John's Episcopal Church on April 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards - Show

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31: (L-R) Sasha Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia Obama at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards held at Galen Center on March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • The Obamas Attend Church Services

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - MARCH 18: (AFP-OUT) President Barack Obama, daughter Sasha Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk across Lafayette Park on their way to services at St. John's Church, March 18, 2012 in Washington, DC. The historic church is steps away from the White House. (Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff-Pool/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, walk to Air Force One in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 23, 2011. The Obamas are returning to Washington following a 5-day, 3-country trip that took the First Family to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The president of The United States Barac

    The president of The United States Barack Obama (R), his wife Michelle and their daughters Sasha (L) and Malia are welcomed upon their arrival at the airport in the San Salvador on March 22, 2011. US President Barack Obama arrived in El Salvador Tuesday on the last leg of a three-nation tour of Latin America. AFP PHOTO/JOSE CABEZAS (Photo credit should read Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha (2nd L) and Malia, walk to Air Force One in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 23, 2011. The Obamas are returning to Washington following a 5-day, 3-country trip that took the First Family to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha (C-R) and Malia, walk down the steps of Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, March 23, 2011. The Obamas are returning to Washington following a 5-day, 3-country trip that took the First Family to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President Obama And Family Arrive Back From Trip To Latin America

    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L), First Lady Michelle (3rd L), mother-in-law Marian Robinson (5th L), and daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (4th L) walk towards the residency after they returned to the White House March 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The first family has returned from a visit to South America. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and daughter S

    US President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha walk across the South Lawn March 23, 2011 upon return to the White House in Washington, DC. Obama was returning to Washington after a 5-day Latin American visit. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Sasha, the US President Barack Obama and

    Sasha, the US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, sits while her parents read a book to children during the annual Easter egg roll April 25, 2011 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President And Mrs. Obama Host Annual Easter Egg Roll

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: (AFP-OUT) Sasha Obama, Malia Obama and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson play with their dog Bo as President Barack Obama reads to children during the White House Easter Egg Roll as listen on the South Lawn of the White House on April 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. About 30,000 people are expected to attend the 133-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn. (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

  • President And Mrs. Obama Host Annual Easter Egg Roll

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: (AFP-OUT) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama read 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' to children with Sasha Obama, Malia Obama and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. About 30,000 people are expected to attend the 133-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn. (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and First Lady

    US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle read a book to children as their daughter Sasha (2nd L) and Malia (R) look on during the annual Easter egg roll April 25, 2011 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US first lady Michelle Obama, daughters

    US first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha(C) and Malia take turns reading to children from 'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr. Seuss as they visit the Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg, South Africa onJune 21, 2011. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Charles Dharapak (Photo credit should read CHARLES DHARAPAK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US First Lady Michelle Obama(R), daughte

    US First Lady Michelle Obama(R), daughters Sasha(C) and Malia take turns reading to children from 'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr. Seuss as they visit the Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg, South Africa June 21, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Charles Dharapak / POOL (Photo credit should read CHARLES DHARAPAK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US first lady Michelle Obama with daught

    US first lady Michelle Obama with daughters Sasha, (2-R) and Malia (R) are welcomed by traditional dancers as they arrive in Gaborone, Botswana, on June 24, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/Charles Dharapak (Photo credit should read CHARLES DHARAPAK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Obamas Watch World Cup

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: In this handout provided by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with their daughters Sasha and Malia watch the World Cup soccer game between the U.S. and Japan, from the Treaty Room office in the residence of the White House July 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. The U.S. lost to Japan in a shootout. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha(L) walk in the St John's Church across from the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2011 to attend a Sunday prayer service . AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Obama Pardons The National Thanksgiving Turkey

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by his daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R), arrives for the pardoning of the turkey named 'Liberty' at the North Portico of the White House November 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and his daught

    US President Barack Obama and his daughters Sasha(R) and Malia arrive for the pardoning ceremony for the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, November 23, 2011. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound (17kg) bird named 'Liberty.' Each Thanksgiving, the President 'pardons' a hand-selected turkey, sparing the bird from someone's dinner table and ensuring the rest of its days are spent roaming on a farm or petting zoo. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and his daught

    US President Barack Obama and his daughters Sasha(R) and Malia speak before the pardoning ceremony for the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, November 23, 2011. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound (17kg) bird named 'Liberty.' Each Thanksgiving, the President 'pardons' a hand-selected turkey, sparing the bird from someone's dinner table and ensuring the rest of its days are spent roaming on a farm or petting zoo. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Obama Shops At Kramerbooks

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: U.S. President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha (left) and Malia shop for books in the Kramerbooks book store on November 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama and family will attend a basketball game at Towson University later in the day, with Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, coaching the visiting Oregon State Beavers. (Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images)

  • National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Held On DC's Ellipse

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (C) and daughters Sasha (2nd L), Malia (2nd R) along with Marian Robinson (L) and first lady Michelle Obama (R) participate in the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1, 2011 at the Ellipse, south of the White House, in Washington, DC. The first family participated in the 89th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

  • US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughte

    US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia (2nd L) and Sasha (3rd L) sing with Kermit the frog and Ellie Goulding (L) during the finale of the annual lighting of the National Christmas tree December 1, 2011 at The Ellipse in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughte

    US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha sing with Kerit the Frog during the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the The Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2011. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Obama And First family Attend Christmas In Washington

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: (AFP OUT) (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, Malia, Sasha and U.S. President Barack Obama join in for a final song at the conclusion of the performances at the annual 'Christmas in Washington' gala on December 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. It's the 30th anniversary of the 'Christmas in Washington' gala. (Photo by Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Obama Family Portrait

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: In this handout provided by the White House, (L - R) First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama and Sasha Obama, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office on December 11, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and daughters

    US President Barack Obama and daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R) and his friend Marty Nesbitt walk to their car after a visit to Sea Life Park December 27, 2011 at Waimanalo, Hawaii. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President Obama And Family Spend Holidays In Hawaii

    HONOLULU, HI - DECEMBER 27: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama holds hands with daughters Malia and Sasha while they walk with friends at Sea Life Park on December 27, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama spent the afternoon at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve before visiting the marine wildlife park. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama walks with his

    US President Barack Obama walks with his daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (3rd R) and his friend Marty Nesbitt (R) walk to their car after a visit to Sea Life Park December 27, 2011 at Waimanalo, Hawaii. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. President Obama and Family Return From Vacation

    WASHINGTON - JULY 18: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (2R), first lady Michelle Obama (L) and daughters Sasha Obama (R) and Malia Obama return to the White House on July 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. The President and his family returned from a weekend vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine. (Photos Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Spanish Royals Meet Michelle Obama in Mallorca

    PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 08: In this handout from the Spanish Royal Press Dept, (L-R) Spanish King Juan Carlos, US First Lady Michelle Obama, Shasha Obama, Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia pose at Marivent Palace on August 8, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Spanish Royal Press Dept via Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Sasha make their way to board Marine One on August 14, 2010 at the White House in Washington. Obama is traveling to Florida's Gulf Coast this weekend for a family trip intended to show solidarity with a region struggling in the wake of a massive oil spill. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Obamas Spend August Weekend On Florida's Gulf Coast

    PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL - AUGUST 15: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha watch dolphins as they tour St Andrews Bay on the Bay Point Lady August 15, 2010 In Panama City Beach, Florida. The First Family is visiting the area to help promote tourism and check up on cleanup efforts from the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and First Lady

    US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama along with their daughter Sasha make their way to board Air Force August 15, 2010 before departing from Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and daughter S

    US President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha make their way to board Air Force August 15, 2010 before departing from Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama and First Lady

    US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Sasha watch off the bow for porpoises while on a boat ride aboard the �Bay Point Lady� August 15, 2010 in St Andrews Bay off Panama City Beach, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama (L), daughters

    US President Barack Obama (L), daughters Sasha (2nd L), Malia (2nd R) and wife Michelle arrive at the White House in Washington on August 29, 2010 upon their return from vacationing at Martha's Vineyard and a triip to New Orleans on the fifth anniversary of hurricane Katrina. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama, First Lady Mi

    US President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha disembark from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on August 29, 2010 upon their return from a family vacation. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)