BOSTON — Mitt Romney conceded the presidential race in a brief and somber speech here Tuesday night, complimenting President Obama on a hard-fought race and urging leaders of both parties to reach across the aisle to break the gridlock in Washington.
Shortly after 1 a.m., Romney strode out onstage alone to offer a concession speech that lasted just over five minutes. He said that although the election was over, “our principles endure.”
He referred to his running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, when he said: “Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.”
Looking out on the crowd of several hundred people in a half-filled ballroom at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Romney said, “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, so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation.”
Romney made a point of thanking Ryan, who did not speak but joined him onstage, followed a short time later by Romney’s five sons. “Besides my wife, Ann, Paul was the best choice I ever made,” Romney said, reprising a line he used often on the campaign trail.
“His hard work and his principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
Romney also wistfully thanked his wife, whom he described as “the love of my life.”
“She would have been a wonderful first lady,” Romney said. “She has been that and more to me, to our family and to the many people she has touched with her compassion and her care.”