Obama: I'm more determined about work ahead

President Obama at election night party
President Barack Obama waves to supporters at the election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago, to proclaim victory in the presidential election.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

(CBS News) The race for the presidency ended just about the way the Obama campaign predicted -- they swept nearly all the battleground states, but won most of them by razor-thin margins. President Obama returns to Washington Wednesday to begin the hard work of repairing frayed relationships with the other side after a bruising, often petty campaign.

It was well after midnight when the president, vice president and their families hugged and waved to supporters from the stage at McCormick Place in Chicago, after Mr. Obama declared victory in his re-election campaign.

Pictures: Obama's Election Night event
Pictures: Romney's Election Night gathering

In his victory speech, Mr. Obama said, "Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward."

In the end, the popular vote was close, reflecting a deeply divided nation. But the president won an outsized victory in the Electoral College by nearly running the table in the nine battleground states.

A hoarse, but clearly relieved, President Obama said he had spoken to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by phone and congratulated him on a hard-fought campaign.

Mr. Obama said in his speech, "In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward."

In his 20-minute speech, Mr. Obama tried to heal some of the wounds created by months of harsh accusations, half-truths and a billion-dollar barrage of negative ads.

"Our economy's recovering," he said. "A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead."

Mr. Obama said in the second term of his administration issues at the top of his agenda will be tax reform, immigration reform, energy independence, debt reduction -- goals he said are shared by both sides.

The president was at McCormick Place until about 2:30 a.m., celebrating with family and friends, and all of his volunteers and staffers. He's waking up in his own townhouse Wednesday, and then will fly back to the White House on Air Force One in the afternoon.

Watch Nancy Cordes' full report in the video above.