He came up short against Barack Obama, but Mitt Romney ran a tough presidential campaign. He survived a seemingly endless Republican primary process, fending off one Tea Party hero after another before convincing Republicans that he was both conservative enough and electable enough to deserve their nomination. He went on to largely unite a fractious GOP, his corporate background appealing to the party’s business wing while his pick of budget guru Paul Ryan assuaged conservative ideologues. Some say Romney, 65, lacked the political skill to win. But his sharp performance (vs. Obama’s flat showing) in the first presidential debate nearly overturned the incumbent’s durable lead, and he improved as a campaigner in the race’s closing weeks. Still, it wasn’t quite enough. Whether that was Romney’s fault or a red flag about America’s changing electorate is an essential question that will consume Republicans for months to come.
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