WASHINGTON – Congress made the obvious official on Friday. President Barack Obama has been re-elected.
In a joint session, Congress formally certified that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were the winners in the November election with 332 electoral votes, well more than the 270 required. Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, won 206 votes.
It’s a mostly ceremonial – yet constitutionally necessary – vote that’s intriguing to political junkies and policy wonks. The count Friday lacked the suspense of the drawn-out campaign and election.
Months after the November election, the final official vote from all 50 states and the District of Columbia showed Obama with 65,899,660 votes, or 51.1 percent, and Romney with 60,932,152 votes, or 47.2 percent. Obama is the first president since Republican Dwight Eisenhower to win back-to-back presidential elections with more than 51 percent of the popular vote.
Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Obama at noon Jan. 20 at the White House in a private ceremony, and then administer the oath again on the West Front of the Capitol the next day.
The Constitution requires that the inauguration take place Jan. 20 but because it is a Sunday, the public session and the accompanying parade and festivities will occur Monday.
Biden has asked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to swear him in for a second term. She will be the first Hispanic to administer either a presidential or vice presidential oath.