BOSTON — Here's about all you need to know about Mitt Romney's Election Night party in Beantown: The flashiest thing was probably the bulldozer parked outside, painted up in red-white-and-blue NASCAR finery, touting the Romney/Ryan ticket's commitment to the American worker. People posed for pictures in front of it, and you could tell more than few of them wanted to climb on in and take the thing for a ride ... only they couldn't, since it was behind some security fences.
It wasn't exactly electric inside the Boston Convention Center on Tuesday night, a fact due as much to the cavernous, nondescript surroundings as it was to the slightly troubling numbers Romney was pulling in key swing states like Ohio — "The polls don't look terribly good for him right now," Clark Minor, a 22-year-old supporter from Oklahoma told me — and the mood for the majority of the night tended to run the gamut from "anxious" to "slightly hopeful." Still, those in attendance tried their darndest to have a good time, gathering around tables to watch early results roll in, cheering when their candidate scored expected victories in states like West Virginia and Indiana, and preparing for what they all expected (or hoped) would be a very long night.
"It's been a long four years," Michael Morgan, a 19-year-old from Spokane, Washington sighed. "So I'm not too concerned with how long tonight goes."
Only, as it turned out, it didn't really go that long at all. By 11:30, even Fox News was calling Ohio, and therefore the election, for Barack Obama, a result that was met with groans and more than a few F-Bombs by the folks in the grand ballroom. Of course, when Karl Rove very loudly railed against those numbers on Fox, there were cheers once again, and the waiting game began. Over the next hour, despite the fact that every network had projected Obama would win his second term, those in the ballroom refused to give up hope, and it became clear that the word of the night was "concession." Simply put, Romney's supporters weren't ready to concede anything ... especially since their candidate didn't seem like he was about to concede the race either.
this photo says about all that needs to be said about the mood @ romney hq right now. twitter.com/positivnegativ...— james montgomery (@positivnegativ) November 7, 2012
So, they waited a bit longer. Staffers passed out miniature American flags to partygoers. People booed CNN's Candy Crowley when she did a live report from inside the Convention Center. IPhones were checked, then checked again. Cocktails were downed. And then, just after midnight, word began spreading throughout the ballroom that Romney was throwing in the towel. At 12:55 a.m., he delivered a solemn, five-minute concession speech before a dismayed crowd. In stark contrast to the party underway in Chicago, you could hear a pin drop in the room. And then, as Romney departed the stage with his family and runningmate Ryan, it was over.
That led to a mass exodus from the Convention Center, as dejected partygoers streamed down the stairs and out into the night. New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was in the crowd, and he looked more bummed than when his team lost in the ALCS. Within an hour, the place was nearly empty (this photo says about all that needs to be said), save for a few reporters filing last-minute copy and some custodians beginning the very large task of cleaning everything up. TV screens played Obama's Chicago speech, the omnipresent Romney "R" was still being projected onto the walls of the hall, and a few drinks slowly sweated on the tables, but the party was certainly over.
Outside, the Romney/Ryan bulldozer was still there, the security fences were still in place, and a few bored members of the Boston police stood guard, but there was really no need. No one was posing for pictures in front of it now. Seems that, after this night, Romney supporters were in a hurry to forget even the flashiest of construction equipment.