BOSTON—From early on in the election night, the crowd gathered at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to celebrate a Mitt Romney presidential victory lacked energy. And instead of feting a new president, the Republican faithful watched somberly as state after battleground state was called for President Barack Obama.
In fact, the loudest outbursts of the evening came in the form of cheers when North Carolina was called for Romney and prolonged boos when CNN's Candy Crowley, moderator of the second presidential debate, appeared live on the jumbo screens.
When Romney finally appeared before those gathered, some had already started leaving due to how long it took before the Republican was ready to concede. At 12:55 a.m. Wednesday, the crowd began to sing "God Bless America" and it was then that Romney took the stage.
"This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said in a hoarse voice. He proceeded to thank his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, his wife Ann, and his campaign manager Matt Rhoades.
"I want to thank Paul Ryan for all he's done for our campaign. Besides my wife Ann, Paul is the best choice I've ever made," Romney said. "And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute for the good of our nation."
Rather than pleading with the president for any certain policy goal, Romney merely wrapped his five-minute speech asking for more bipartisan leadership.
"The nation as you know is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can't be reduced to partisan bickering and political posturing—our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work and we also have to rise to the occasion," he said. "I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field; we have given our all to this campaign."
With that, Romney's long-held dream of becoming president appears to have died.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.