By the time CNBC’s election-night anchors welcomed Dick Armey on the air, the networks had already called it. CNBC rolled footage of Barack Obama supporters waving American flags and cheering, above the breaking-news banner: PRES. OBAMA WINS RE-ELECTION. The only thing left was for Mitt Romney to concede.
But Armey, the former House majority leader, saw no reason to surrender. “I don’t blame the Romney folks for refusing any concession speech on the basis of this premature call,” Armey told viewers. “You got Florida running, seems to me, headlong into a recount, and Ohio I don’t think is settled by any means.”
Driving to his home outside Dallas after the TV appearance, Armey heard Karl Rove on the radio insisting that Ohio was still up for grabs. Armey planted himself on the couch and flipped anxiously between Fox News and C-SPAN, nourishing a flicker of hope right up until 12:55 am, when Romney finally capitulated.
After three decades in politics, Armey had seen Republicans lose plenty of elections. But this one really hurt. He knew it would be his last election as the face of the Tea Party, and it wasn’t supposed to end this way.
One month earlier, Armey had agreed to resign as chairman of FreedomWorks, an influential conservative organization, and slipped out of Washington for good. Even an $8-million payout couldn’t assuage his bitterness. The fall of 2012 should have been an auspicious time at FreedomWorks headquarters.
via Armey in Exile | People & Politics | Washingtonian.