Where Does Mitt Romney Go Now After Election Loss?
With Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and their families on stage election night to concede, what was evident was the emotion.
"Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign," Romney said in his concession speech.
The loss caught the Romney/Ryan campaign by surprise. But of all the tactical errors, perhaps the most emotionally difficult was thinking, until the last minute, they were going to win.
"The Romney people looked at a model for turnout that was less accurate than the model for turnout that the Obama people decided," says former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R).
They underestimated the number of minority voters, but the number of minorities voting in 2012 returned to '08 levels, when a wave of minority support elected the nation's first black president.
The campaign did not respond to an onslaught of negatives ads by President Obama that effectively targeted Romney, as CEO of Bain Capital, for closing companies.
"I come from the old school that a political attack unanswered is a political attack admitted."
Along the way, there were other missteps. The campaign did not take seriously Romney's foreign trip – which had its share of gaffes and did little to bolster his image as a world leader. And they lacked a coherent message at the Republican National Convention. The most enduring image was not Romney, but Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair.
So where does Mitt Romney go now? He says that was his last political campaign. Friends and advisers predict he'll write a book and take a major role in the Mormon Church and return to finance, where his reputation as savvy chief executive and investor remains unblemished.