Where it went wrong for Romney
Analysis: Following an ugly and seemingly interminable presidential campaign, Mitt Romney's hopes of becoming the 45th president of the United States unravelled in just a few hours.
The political prize that eluded him in 2008, and his father four decades before, had seemed tantalisingly close. It was all the more remarkable give that his roller-coaster campaign threatened to come off the rails early on, before roaring back to life following his first energetic television debate.
But within hours of arriving in Boston to watch the results pour in with his family and advisors, the television networks had called the election for his rival.
What may rankle most with Romney is that the obstacles which prevented him from beating an incumbent saddled with high unemployment and a disappointing first election term were largely of his own making.
There were devastating wall-to-wall attacks from Democrats, to be sure, which sought to portray him as an elitist plutocrat who was all-too comfortable with bankrupting the US car industry.
But there was no one else to blame for the verbal gaffes, his comments about the 47 per cent of people on welfare, his failure to produce tax returns or his constant shape-shifting on fundamental policy issues.
Ultimately, voters never warmed or trusted him in sufficient numbers - and Romney never effectively made the case for himself.
47 per cent
The voice on the secretly recorded video was steady, and the message was severe. “There are 47 per cent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,” he said at a private fundraiser.
“All right, there are 47 per cent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
It took Romney days to express regret at his comments.
Coming after a slew of ads that accused his investment company, Bain Capital, of vulture capitalism and outsourcing jobs, the damage was devastating, particularly among the blue-collar vote he so badly needed to secure.
Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his tax returns gave Democrats even more ammunition. What he did release showed that he had paid a meagre 14 per cent, significantly less than average workers.
“What else is he hiding?” a narrator in an Obama ad asked viewers over the summer.
It was Romney’s decision not to release any earlier tax returns, on the basis that it would play into the hands of the Democrats’ campaign.