Americans went to the polls to vote for president on Tuesday after a tightly contested race between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

Below are some comments made by the candidates, observers and voters:

OBAMA, tweeting after MSNBC projected his victory:

"This happened because of you. Thank you."

OBAMA, speaking to WJLA TV in Washington:

"We've laid out the choice very clearly for the American people, and now the question is going to be people showing up to the polls. ... I want to make sure people show up to vote and if you do - whatever the outcome, that's how our democracy works. And I think we'll all come together to move America forward."

ROMNEY, speaking to the press in Cleveland:

"This is a great day with great opportunity, but I'm also looking forward to tomorrow, because tomorrow we're going to start the work."

JOHN BOEHNER, Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, on Republicans maintaining House majority:

"The American people want solutions and tonight they responded by renewing our House Republican majority. With this vote, the American people also made clear there's no mandate for raising tax rates. Americans want better solutions that will ease the burdens of small businesses, bring jobs home and let our economy grow. We stand willing to work with any willing partner ... who shares a commitment to getting those things done."

SCOTT BROWN, Massachusetts Republican, on losing Senate seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren:

"We stood strong in the fight and we stand strong now even in disappointment. ... You all sent me to Washington to be my own man, and I'll be returning my own man. And for that, I am very, very proud."

SARAH PALIN, former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor:

"I just cannot believe that the majority of Americans would believe that incurring more debt is good for our economy, for our children's future, for job creators. I cannot believe that the majority of Americans would believe that it's OK not to follow the Constitution and not have a budget. And I can't believe that the majority of Americans would say it's OK to rely on foreign sources of energy instead of drilling and mining our own natural resources. It's a perplexing time for many of us."

SYMONE VILLALONA, call-center worker in Nevada, first-time voter who backed Obama:

"I like someone who's for the people, the middle class. Romney didn't seem like he cared that much."

MELANIE KATSUR, attorney, Romney backer in Washington, D.C.:

"I think that the rate with which the deficits have grown is not acceptable. I am fortunate enough to have a job, but I know a lot of people who don't."

LYDA SWOGGER, first-time voter supporting Obama in Ohio:

"Obama stands for most of the same things I do. He inherited a mess and he needs more time to fix it."

PAUL DIRKS, retired mathematics professor and Obama supporter in Florida, on this year's ad barrage:

"It's been the ugliest campaign I've ever seen in my life and I'm 71 years old. ... I felt like throwing stones at my TV."

NOREEN TAYLOR, Democrat voting in Nevada:

"Elections used to be about stuff, about issues and specifics. We used to have statesmen. Now we just have salesmen."

(Reporting by Reuters reporters around the country; Compiled by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Jim Loney)