07/11/2012 07:22 GMT | Updated 07/11/2012 07:35 GMT

US Election 2012: Barack Obama Pays Tribute To His 'Strong, Beautiful' Women

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.


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."