In the last weeks of the campaign, Romney's campaign sounded super confident -- New York's Jonathan Chait wrote that they were bluffing when aides said they could win Nevada, or when Romney surrogate Rob Portman called Ohio a "dead heat." That sounded ridiculous because Romney never led Obama in polling averages of Ohio, and Obama was ahead or tied in all of the last 30 polls done in the state except one by Republican-leaning Rasmussen.
Romney was stoic as he talked the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan's wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.
"There's nothing worse than when you think you're going to win, and you don't," said another adviser. "It was like a sucker punch."
Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.
The Atlantic Wire noted earlier in the campaign that Romney kept getting in trouble when he'd repeat memes from conservative blogs -- like the infamous 47 percent. But that they actually bought blogger denial of cold, hard numbers is surprising. Did it have an actual impact on their strategy? A statement from Brett Doster, seems to suggest so: "The numbers in Florida show this was winnable. We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table."