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ELECTION WATCH: A Lincoln interlude; AP analysis

Wednesday - 11/7/2012, 3:11am  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:

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A LINCOLN INTERLUDE

On election night, when it came to presidents on television, Barack Obama had some competition. Abraham Lincoln gave him a real run for his money.

More than once on Tuesday night, movie trailers featuring Daniel Day-Lewis inhabiting the title role of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" interrupted electoral-vote tallies and political analysis. And watching the slow, deliberate movements of the 16th president, with epic music swelling in the background, you couldn't help but draw some parallels.

Neighbor angry at neighbor. Deep reservations about the union. Americans divided into clusters, feeling powerless against a government many despise or disdain.

Yet under Lincoln, somehow Americans made it through. It was bloody and ugly and perhaps almost fatal that time around, but the experiment in a democratic republic survived.

Obama hinted at that in his victory speech. "We are not," he insisted, "as divided as our politics suggest."

Yes, "Lincoln" is merely a movie about a man who lived long ago and did some things we long remember. But the uncertainties that it summons linger still, uncomfortably and across party lines, as this election draws to its weary end. A house divided against itself: Can it stand?

Says the current and future president: "The task of perfecting our union moves forward."

_ Ted Anthony _ Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted

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ELECTION ANALYSIS

AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller, who has covered the presidencies of Barack Obama and George W. Bush, gives his big-picture analysis of what Washington will look like after Election Day 2012:

"President Barack Obama's victory means that everything he campaigned upon is alive and about to drive the political conversation with his adversaries. Every legacy of his first term is safe and enshrined to history.

"Yet big honeymoons don't come twice and Republicans won't swoon. If Obama cannot end gridlock, his second term will be reduced to veto threats, empty promises, end runs around Congress and legacy-sealing forays into foreign lands.

"Obama will push for higher taxes on the wealthy as a way to shrinking a choking debt and to steer money toward the programs he wants. He will try to land a massive financial deficit-cutting deal with Congress in the coming months and then move on to an immigration overhaul, tax reform and other bipartisan dreams.

"He will not have to worry that his health care law will be repealed, or that his Wall Street reforms will be gutted, or that his name will be consigned to the list of one-term presidents who got fired before they could finish. Voters stuck with him because they trusted him more to solve the struggles of their lifetime.

"America may not be filled with hope anymore, but it told Mitt Romney to keep his change."

_ Ben Feller _ Twitter http://twitter.com/benfellerdc

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TWO TERMS, THREE TIMES

The latest report from Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news:

Historical trivia moment: 1816 was quite a long time ago. America was a very different place, still a fledgling country starting to push across a largely unknown continent.

Yet you have to go all the way back to 1816 for the last time that the country did what it did Tuesday. Not since Jefferson, then Madison and then Monroe (in 1816) has the United States elected three presidents in a row to a second term.

What does that mean? It is hard to argue this has been a period of calm or stable politics, though compared to the late 1960s and 1970's it does seem almost placid. After all, Lyndon Johnson was forced to abandon re-election hopes by a faraway war, Richard Nixon was impeached and driven from office, Gerald Ford then lost to Jimmy Carter in large part because he pardoned Nixon, and Carter then lost to Reagan because the economy went south and he seemed to blame Americans for it.

You could argue that Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower were the moral equivalent of three two-term presidents in a row. Roosevelt was elected to four terms but died soon after. Truman finished Roosevelt's fourth term, and was re-elected. Then Eisenhower served two terms. Then the 60s started.

_ Michael Oreskes

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PARTY POOPER

The Republican National Committee's election night festivities in Washington started with an optimistic tone. Supporters milled about well-stocked buffets and bars as musical performers riled up the crowd at the Ronald Reagan Building downtown.

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