BOSTON — The most intimate accounts of the final moments of the Romney campaign were revealed to the world, naturally, through photos taken by Romney's personal aide — and posted on Twitter.
Among Garett Jackson's behind-the-scenes photos of Romney voting, meeting with supporters and eating a peanut butter sandwich were photos of kids and grandkids.
There's Jackson chasing grandkids down the hall of the Westin Boston Waterfront. There's a family dinner — spaghetti — with a bank of television sets in the background. (Turned off until the polls close.)
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Romney's large family of five grown sons and 18 grandchildren was a frequent presence on the campaign trail. Craig Romney, the youngest, kicked off his father's Boston election-night rally, telling the growing crowd inside the ballroom that after his dad dropped out of the 2008 race, his mother said they would never again embark on another campaign. The state of the economy made her change her mind.
"We are gathered together enjoying this last night of the campaign," he said, adding it had been an "amazing experience."
Ann, Romney's wife of 43 years, was a critical part of the campaign's push to attract female voters and to humanize a candidate who frequently came off as cold and analytical.
She was a near constant presence, at times at her own peril. Living with multiple sclerosis, she pushed herself too hard during the first part of the campaign, resulting in a flare-up right after Super Tuesday.
In a July USA TODAY interview, she said she fell flat on her behind. "My body was just telling me again, 'You can't just go. Knock, knock, I'm here. You can't do this to me,'" she said.
In the last days of the campaign, she became emotional when she spoke at rallies.
"I am just so moved. It's so emotional to be here and have this kind of reception from Ohio, a state that is going to make the next president of the United States," she said upon seeing a crowded Columbus airplane hangar.
Romney's oldest son, Tagg, and grandson, Joe, were with him during his final swing through Ohio and Pennsylvania on Election Day.
His son Ben, a doctor, was less involved due to his residency in Boston, but appeared with his mother and father at the campaign's last rally Monday night in New Hampshire.
At times, the sons made news of their own. In a radio interview following the second debate, Tagg joked that hearing his father attacked made him want to "take a swing" at Obama. He later apologized to the president personally at the final debate in Boca Raton, Fla.
Tuesday night the family gathered around him as they had during the campaign. As Romney prepared to take the stage, 25 family members had seats reserved in a special in a section, stage right.