(Undated) -- Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Mitt Romney appeared at the Boston Convention Center to deliver a concession speech.
He was greeted by cheers and whistles in anticipation of what he'd say. Senior aides filed into the ballroom as Romney prepared to take the stage; visibly emotional, they shared hugs with each other as they watched.
Upon Romney's announcement that he had called President Obama "to congratulate him on his victory," the raucous crowd redoubled its noise.
"This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said.
He thanked his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, earning big applause.
Referring to his wife, Romney said: "I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady."
Chants of "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" rose from the crowd as Romney closed his concession speech.
Added Romney: "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the nation's work."
"We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put people before the politics," Romney said.
"I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. ... I ran for office because I'm concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure."
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, tweeted to supporters, "This happened because of you. Thank you."
The president was chalking up additional victories in states that the polls had said could go either way. After winning Virginia's 13 electoral votes, he had a margin of 100 electoral votes — 303 to 203 — with just Alaska and Florida still to count.
Florida's result remained too close to call, hours after the polls closed.
Despite Obama's sizeable margin in the electoral vote count, he held just a slim advantage in the popular vote.
Here's the transcipt of Romney's speech:
I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.
This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.
I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I've ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.
I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She's _ she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.
I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.
I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led. They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.
And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country _ the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates _ I don't believe that there's ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years.
Thank you so very much.
Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You've been the very best we could have imagined.
The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.
We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We're counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.
I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I'm concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.
Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.
I so wish _ I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.
Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.
*This story was updated 11/7/12 1:34 a.m. and again at 1:47 a.m.
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