UNDATED (CNN) -- Mitt Romney took the stage just before 1 a.m. Eastern Time to concede the race. He spoke briefly, in a speech very different than the one he said hours earlier he planned to give.
In the early hours after a long Election Day, Mitt Romney said he had called President Obama and the race was over. He says, "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 this great nation."
The mood was a stark contrast to his announcement in June 2011. He said, "I believe in America, and I'm running for president of the United States."
And to the crowds who welcomed him on a last-minute Election Day trip to the critical swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, he said "Thanks for your work, you guys are fabulous thank you so much."
Neither state went Romney's way, making it impossible for him to pick up the 270 Electoral votes needed to win the presidency. President Obama says, "The nation is at a critical point. At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and posturing."
President Obama congratulated Romney and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. He says, "We may have battled fiercely but it's only because we love this country so deeply and care about the future."
Romney also talked about the country's future saying, "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."