Down on the floor, eyes started to water and redden. The boisterousness that had fueled the party a few hours earlier fell to a whisper. It got harder to find a supporter not holding a beer or a glass of red wine, and then impossible, when campaign aides started to keep reporters off the floor.
The debate, about whether or not there was any kind of path for Romney, and what the party should do next—move to the center or keep veering to the right—was playing both on the screens and on the floor. “They will have to modernize,” said John Legittino, who had come to Boston from Chicago. “On abortion, health care. The Republican Party will have to come into the 21st century.”
More states fell. Iowa. Colorado. Then Ohio. Save for the dour voice of Brit Hume, broadcast over the worst party you have ever been to, it became eerily silent in Boston.
A junior aide came by the press table to wonder why the hacks weren’t typing any more. “We are waiting to see the results,” one said. It was a joke. The writing was on the wall, the carpets, the lights, the screens.