I was talking to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted around 11 p.m. and asked him if he still expected there to be a winner in the Ohio presidential vote tonight -- since he had said that last week. He reaffirmed that -- with the caveat that tonight meant before dawn Wednesday.
Not too many minutes later, the networks began calling Ohio for President Obama, and the national election. A somber Husted took the stage in the Statehouse media room and laid out the difficult facts: the president had a lead, the districts yet to report were in large urban areas. He did not make explicit the conclusion to be drawn, but noted that people could draw it. After Husted acknowledged the inevitable, I gathered up my stuff, said goodbye to the reporters sitting next to me -- one from Switzerland, one from Turkey -- and headed off to the party headquarters. The big meeting/media room for the GOP was nearly empty. The celebration at the Democrats' hotel had spilled onto the street, and the meeting room was packed with people cheering every bit of good news coming from the large TV screens.
(It's about an hour and a half later now, and Mitt Romney is delivering his concession speech. He's talking about the need to reach across the aisle to the other party, and I hope the no-compromise crowd in his party hears it. We've been battered and bruised by months of negative rhetoric, and it's time to get the job done. The president does not have to run for election again, so he can make decisions without worrying about the ballot box. The Republicans, having failed to drive Obama out of office, now have to prove they can get things done -- especially if they want to run for high office in 2016.)
All of these wanderings, and this rambling, were part of a day spent for the most part in Columbus, checking out locations, tweeting this and that, emailing pictures and video and notes to my office. I keep thinking that I should write more here, but I am exhausted, and not just from today. It seems as if this election has lasted an eternity, and even if a lot of candidates I favored have won -- including the president and Sherrod Brown, both of whom I voted for, and a lot of good Democrats around the country -- it's hard to get that exhilarated if this is what elections are going to be like for the foreseeable future. But it is a great relief.