WASHINGTON - (AP) - President Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican Mitt Romney in a hard-fought race in which the economy was the dominant issue. Voters decided to give Obama another four years of stewardship over an economy that is slowly recovering from the recession.

The president rolled to a second term over Romney, winning more than 300 electoral votes. Obama says the American people have "picked ourselves up" and fought back during tough economic times, declaring after winning re-election that the "best is yet to come." Obama says he wants to meet with Republican rival Mitt Romney to discuss how they can work together. He says they may have "battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply."

Obama was welcomed by thunderous applause as he arrived on stage in his hometown for his victory speech. He was joined by first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia.

Romney said earlier he called Obama to congratulate him on his victory, adding that he prays "the president will be successful in guiding our nation."

Romney unsuccessfully campaigned on the theme that his business background gave him the experience needed to guide the nation out of tough economic times. Obama will again be dealing with a divided Congress.

Democrats maintained control of the Senate and Republicans likely will again control the House. Among the most pressing matters is the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit in January. Economists have warned that if they aren't averted, the nation could face another recession.