Romney concedes race for the White House

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BOSTON —Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney conceded the presidential election early Wednesday morning in a brief address to supporters in Boston.

Romney told a subdued crowd that he had called Obama to congratulate him on his victory, and he wished the president well.

“His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations,” Romney said. “I wish all of them well but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”

He also thanked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), his running mate, saying the choice of the Wisconsin lawmaker was the best decision he had made, aside from the one to propose to his wife, Ann.

It was of his spouse that he spoke most wistfully, telling supporters she “would have been a wonderful first lady.”

“She has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she's touched with her compassion and her care,” Romney said.

Romney's remarks were brief, evidence that the Republican nominee had not been posturing when telling reporters earlier in the day that he had only written an acceptance speech to deliver Wednesday night.

He told supporters that his campaign team and supporters had “made an extraordinary effort, not just for me, but also for the country that we love and to you here tonight.”

The Republican candidate had exuded confidence in recent days, buoyed by strong turnout and passionate support at his rallies across the battleground states. In his final interview with reporters shortly before the polls closed, Romney said he felt "like we put it all on the field" in his final push for votes.

"We left nothing in the locker room," Romney said. "We fought to the very end."

Romney added that he was "very proud of the campaign that we've run."

"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," he said. "Our team has been very solid. We have not had the kind of infighting that’s reported to have occurred in other campaigns. We’ve worked well together our campaign team us. And we’ve gotten our message across. I am very pleased."

In Boston, Romney told supporters that his campaign team and supporters had “made an extraordinary effort, not just for me, but also for the country that we love and to you here tonight.”

“I don't believe there's been an effort in our party that can compare to what you have done over that's past years,” Romney said. “Thank you so very much.”

And he called for the nation to come together, encouraging supporters in politics and business to rally around the president for the good of the nation.

“We're counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. We look to Democrats and Republicans at all levels to put the people before the politics,” Romney said.

In an acceptance speech the Romney campaign opted to livestream on their website, the president echoed Romney's call for bipartisan outreach, and indicated that he would look to work with his opponent in the coming days.

"In the weeks ahead I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward," Romney said.

President Obama also congratulated Romney on "a hard fought campaign."

"From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to given back through public service, and that's a legacy that we honor and applaud tonight," Obama said.

The pain in Romney's voice — fueled by his relentless pursuit of the presidency, and a desire to fulfill the dream of his father, himself a former governor and presidential candidate — became more obvious as he brought his remarks to a conclusion.

“I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation,” Romney said.

Romney had initially declined to concede the race as networks and major news organizations called the pivotal state of Ohio for the Democratic incumbent. Republican aides maintained that Romney retained a shot at the Buckeye State, hoping early voting totals and a groundswell of support could force networks to retract their calls.

But that case became increasingly dubious as more and more battleground states came off the board. With the president projected to win in Virginia, Nevada, Iowa, and Colorado, Romney would not have had the necessary 270 electoral votes even if he flipped Ohio and pulled out a victory in Florida, where Obama was also leading.

Supporters at Romney's rally in Boston initially responded in shock as the election was called around 11:30 p.m., but that quickly gave way to anger as contributors on Fox News challenged the network's decision to call Ohio.

But as the results mounted against the Republican nominee, boos faded and some of the crowd filed out of the exits. The final blow seemed to come as networks reported that the president had pulled ahead in the popular vote, with totals from California boosting the president's nationwide lead.

— This post was updated at 1:52 a.m.