BOSTON — As Mitt Romney hunkered down with his family Tuesday night, his supporters gathered in a waterside convention center ballroom to watch election returns. Sipping cocktails and nibbling on sliders, several hundred supporters intently watched two giant monitors that switched among the television networks. When a screen showed Romney leading President Obama by 1,288 votes in Florida, they roared. When early Ohio returns showed Obama with a big lead, they grew silent.
And, in between, the campaign tried to keep them entertained. A rock band kicked off the entertainment with a bass-heavy cover of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started” before one of Romney’s five sons, Craig, took the stage. After introducing a troop of Girl Scouts, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, Craig Romney reflected on the campaign.
“What a night. This has been such an amazing journey for myself, for my family. And we’re just so grateful for everything you guys have done, for all the support we’ve received,” he said.
“We’re gathered together enjoying this last night of the campaign. What an amazing experience this has been.”
He recalled that after his father’s unsuccessful 2008 bid, his mother, Ann Romney, pledged to never undertake another presidential run and had a friend videotape it in case another run was broached. A few years ago at Christmastime, Romney raised the possibility of another run with the family, and asked each member what they thought. To their surprise, Ann Romney was the most adamant that her husband run. Romney reminded his wife of her never-again pledge.
“But I also remember saying that after having each of my children,” she said, according to Craig.
“We’re grateful she convinced him to get into this race because we know my dad is uniquely prepared throughout his entire life to lead us at this time,” Craig Romney said, highlighting his father’s experience in business, the 2002 Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. “Everywhere he’s gone, he’s had extraordinary success. When it came down to it, we said, ‘Dad, you don’t really have a choice here. Not only should you run, but for the sake of our country, you have to run.’ ”
As the night progressed and more returns flashed on the giant screens, senior advisor Ed Gillespie sought to keep the crowd positive.
“We’re going to have a great celebration tonight,” he said. “We’re counting votes … and we are very optimistic and confident about where our votes are. Feel very good.”