Romney tastes bitterness of defeat

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Mitt Romney made a very brief concession speech in Wednesday's wee hours and understandably so.

Hours earlier, just before the Election Day polls closed, the Republican presidential nominee said he was so confident in a win that he had only prepared a victory speech.

As he returned to Boston from final campaign stops in Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Romney told reporters on his plane that self-confidence made him write only an 1,118-word victory speech.

The brief concession speech hinted at bitterness and disappointment.

He beamed all the time during his speech delivered to supporters at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. But he was visibly trying to conceal his emotions.

His supporters, meanwhile, greeted his remarks with applause time and again.

"I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory," the 65-year-old former governor of Massachusetts said, wishing his Democratic foe and the current White House occupant success in coping with the "great challenges" facing the country.

As it marked his second failed bid for the presidency in the past five years, and the last one as his wife Ann has said, the Republican voiced a tinge of sadness about the loss.

"I so wish, 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," he said.

As early as 1968, his father, George Romney, who served as governor of Michigan in the 1960s and as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973 in the Richard Nixon administration, failed as well in his bid for the White House.

The younger Romney said he and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, had done their best in their campaign.

Earlier Tuesday, he told reporters on his plane that he had few regrets for the campaign.

"I feel we have put it all on the field. We left nothing in the locker room," he said then.

For Hal Wilson, a supporter who came all the way up from North Carolina for Romney's election night rally, the challenger's failure to deliver a lot of promises and convey his personality in face of "a very negative opponent" has contributed to his defeat.

In his view, the next four years will be "very tough" for the country due to the presence of a "very split government."

Tuesday's election also returned the control of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively to the Democrats and the Republicans.

"I think it is good for less spending and getting the budget issue under control," Wilson told Xinhua.

But Romney looked ahead in his concession speech, calling for a united nation to confront daunting challenges lying ahead.

"The nation, as you know, is at a critical point," he said. "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing."

"Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics," he added.

The hard-fought and expensive battle for the White House has left a nation polarized along the lines of wealth, gender, age, race and religion at a time when the U.S. is confronted with anemic economic growth,stubbornly high unemployment, and a whopping burden of debt and deficit.

Obama and Romney dueled, in a nutshell, on how to heal the battered economy and what role the federal government should play.

During the campaign, Romney and his team had argued for a new direction for the nation, calling the vote a referendum on Obama.

While exit polls showed the economy as the top concern of American voters, they said they were slightly more positive about the country's direction than when they voted for Obama four years ago.

What's more, the voters saw an economy getting better rather than getting worse.

In addition, more people blamed former President George W. Bush for the economic mess than Obama.

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