BOSTON — The convention hall was silent and somber as each news station called Ohio, and then the President Barack Obama’s re-election.
A man consoled his young son, who had burst into tears when he heard the news. Clusters of people stood silently, teary eyes fixated on the screens.
The scene was a stark contrast to a few hours earlier, when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s supporters watched campaign videos about change and discussed his chances of winning over wine and cheese. Early hopes of the Romney campaign fighting against Democrats on blue territory in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were quickly dashed when both states were called early for Obama. The night went on, the results grew grimmer, but the Romney headquarters in Boston held onto the hope that the remaining votes in Ohio, Virginia and Florida would swing in their favor.
As Obama’s victory became increasingly real, Romney supporters listened quietly, many with tears in their eyes, to the Republican candidate’s concession speech.
“I pray the President will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said.
Romney, whose speech began around 12:55 a.m. and ended in fewer than five minutes, spoke about Americans’ need to look to pastors, preachers and job creators to help the United States in the future. The Republican candidate began with congratulations to the President and thanks to Romney’s wife, his running mate, Paul Ryan, and his children.
Despite their loss, Romney said he and Ryan had campaigned to the best of their abilities, adding that he believes the campaign’s volunteers had put forth the Republican Party’s strongest effort in recent years.
“Paul and I have left everything on the field,” he said.
Romney’s speech and the election’s results drew mixed reactions from the crowd.
Heidi Geiser said she “wished [Romney] had spoken more from the heart” and that she felt the speech sounded rehearsed rather than sincere.
Although Romney’s loss was devastating to many at the convention hall, Ryan Laughlin said the Republicans were not as upset as they could have been, given the party’s loss in 2008.
“Our skin’s a little bit thicker this time around,” Laughlin said.
As Romney supporters left the convention at the end of the night, hope was not completely lost for the Republicans: A man stood on the sidewalk and tried to sell Romney buttons to passersby.