Mitt Romney concedes to Barack Obama
BOSTON — Mitt Romney ended his second bid for the presidency in the early hours of Wednesday morning, telling a room of supporters that he officially conceded the race to President Barack Obama.
“Paul and I have let everything on the field, we have given our all to this campaign,” Romney said, referring to running- mate Paul Ryan. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes.”
After speaking recently about the need for bipartisan collaboration, Romney used his brief remarks to make a call for cooperation.
“The nation as you know is at a critical point,” Romney said, echoing a stump speech line. “At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”
“We look to Democrats and Republicans at all levels to put the people before the politics,” Romney said.
(Also on POLITICO: Romney’s speech: 5 best lines)
Romney spoke before a persistent crowd, which booed when the Republican said the race was over and chanted “Mitt” as he walked on stage here where his campaign was headquartered and in the state where served as governor.
Speaking for about five minutes and without notes, Romney made clear that believes the campaign is finished. Earlier in the night, some Republicans had insisted that the media had made premature calls in states like Ohio, where the race was close.
“This election is over but our principles endure,” Romney said. “I believe the principals upon which the nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to greatness.”
The 2012 GOP nominee encouraged voters to look to teachers, religious leaders and parents for guidance in moving forward. He also spoke in broad terms about the economy, arguing he would be the best choice to speed recovery, often saying that stocks would rise the day after he was elected.
“We look to job creators of all kinds,” Romney said. “We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.”
Romney thanked his wife Ann, who joined him on stage after the speech along with his sons and their families. Some of the loudest applause came when Romney spoke about Ryan, saying after his wife Ann, it was the best choice he had made during the campaign.
As the polls began closing Tuesday night, Romney’s campaign was optimistic, touting high turnout numbers in Ohio and Virginia counties where John McCain did well in 2008.
In final remarks Tuesday to the traveling press corps on a flight from Pittsburgh to Boston, Romney said he was “proud” of his campaign and that his team had been “very solid.”
“No campaign is perfect. I’m sure like any campaign people can point to mistakes. But that’s the mark of anything that’s produced by human beings,” Romney told reporters.
Romney campaigned until the last minute, traveling on Tuesday to Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Keystone State had long been written off as a safe Democratic state. But in the waning days of the campaign, Republicans made the argument that it was within their grasp and Romney made a pair of stops there.
But the last-minute push for Pennsylvania was criticized by Democrats as a decoy, an attempt to distract from continued under-performance in the Ohio polls and other swing states like Nevada and Iowa.
Romney has waited more than four years to give this speech, since he launched his first presidential campaign in 2007. He was unable to mount a successful bid for the GOP nomination during the 2008 election, but quickly became the frontrunner for the party’s pick after McCain lost.
Romney, always seen as the leader of the Republican pack in 2012, faced a more protracted primary than many anticipated. His problems stemmed from the fact that conservatives were never terribly jazzed about his candidacy and seemed always to be casting around for a better alternative.
He was declared the winner the night of the Iowa caucuses, only to be reversed after a recount by the state party handed the title to Rick Santorum.
Romney took first place in the New Hampshire primary, a state where he owns a home and spent a considerable amount of time campaigning. But in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich revived his campaign once again and bested Romney there.
Romney implemented a scorched-earth approach as the campaign rolled into Florida and defeated Gingrich handily. Romney went on to win Nevada, but Santorum was able to make a return.
The two duked it out through Super Tuesday and into April, when Santorum, facing mounting campaign debt, finally conceded the race.
After the Texas primary, Romney clinched the needed number of delegates to secure the nomination.