The mayor seemed to think otherwise. Millionaire Romney had overwhelmed the state with television ads, though Giuliani did place more in the month of January. In one of those ads, the mayor resorted to boasting about how many newspaper endorsements he didn't get—the Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, South Florida Sun-Sentinel—by labeling them as liberal. He spent more days in the state by far than any other candidate, and he distinguished himself by speaking directly to the concerns of Floridians, calling for a national catastrophe fund and a reinvigorated space program. By the time of his concession speech at 9:30 p.m., however, it was clear that his message had failed to resonate. McCain had been anointed winner, and rumors that Giuliani was leaving the race were spreading.
Giuliani's concession speech recapped his principal themes—strong national security and low taxes—but contained none of his fight. He spoke broadly about the responsibility of leadership. But he didn't say that he would be that leader. He made no mention of taking the fight to California or New Jersey or his home state of New York. To the disappointed Autiello and the 200 or so other assembled supporters, he said, "The future of our nation is in good hands because it is in your hands."