Washington: The best is yet to come, a triumphant Barack Obama said after winning a second term as US president and thanked "every American" that participated in the hard fought election.
Acknowledging the greeting of thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago, Obama, who defeated Republican Mitt Romney to get a second term in the White House, said: "We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."
He congratulated Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan on a "hard fought campaign".
"We may have battled fiercely," Obama said, "but only because we love this country deeply... because we care about its future".
Obama, 51, the first African American president of the US and a powerful orator, said in his victory speech that he looked forward to taking to Romney in the weeks ahead to take the country forward.
"I want to thank every American who participated in this election," Obama told the crowd.
"Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very, very long time - by the way we have to fix that - whether you pounded the pavement... or whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign you made a difference," he said.
The nation, he told the gathering, "moves forward because of you... because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war, over depression".
He also thanked his running mate Joe Biden.
Obama who had appeared on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia also acknowledged their contribution.
The journey, he said, would not have been possible without the woman who married him 20 years ago.
"Michelle, I never loved you more," he said.
"We are an American family who rise and fall together as one nation," he said.
"If you ever get a chance to talk to folksyou will discover something else (you will) hear pride deep patriotism from military spouses".
"That's why we do this. That's what politics can be... A nation of 300 million can be messy and complicated. When we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions," he admitted.
"These arguments are mark of our liberty."
He said: "We want to pass on a country that is safe and respecteda nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops that the world has ever known."
"We believe in a generous America, a compassionate America," said the Nobel laureate, who won the Nobel prize for peace in 2009.