The presidential election was often brutal and bitter, with both candidates' fierce desire to win being clear throughout the campaign.
But when it became clear that the race was over and Barack Obama had won, Mitt Romney accepted his defeat with grace, refusing to allow his staff to contest the results in key swing states.
Republican aides were about to send four planes to oversee recount efforts in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, but the candidate stopped them, saying: 'It's not going to happen.'
But despite his landslide loss, Romney staff accidentally released the victory website which had been set up in anticipation of promoting his role as President-elect.
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Preemptive: The website was created with the assumption that Mitt Romney had won the White House
On his own: Romney sitting on his plane eating his final peanut butter and honey sandwich of the campaign
The final desperate moments of the GOP campaign have been revealed in an account by the New York Times, which described Romney holed up in his Boston hotel room at 11.30 on Tuesday night, minutes after news networks had declared Obama the winner.
Staff in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, three of the biggest swing states, were on the phone insisting that the races there were still too close to call and urging Romney not to concede.
Four aeroplanes were on stand-by ready to dispatch staff to launch legal battles over the tight results, while one of the candidate's closest confidants was about to tell his massed supporters that the race was not yet over.
However, Romney himself declared that it was too late, saying 'It's not going to happen' as his wife Ann cried beside him.
Too soon: Mitt Romney announced that he conceded the race to President Obama and stood on stage with his wife Ann, Paul and Janna Ryan
While the result in Florida was so close that no winner has yet been declared, Obama ended up winning comfortably by two points in Ohio and three in Virginia.
And even if all three states had gone Republican instead, the President would still have won in the electoral college with 272 votes to Romney's 266.
On Wednesday, Roll Call's Political Wire posted screen grabs of some of the pages from the website that Romney and Paul Ryan would have released had they won the election.
The homepage of the site has a seal of 'The Office of the President Elect' and had a quote on the top signed by President-Elect Mitt Romney.
'I'm excited about our prospects as a nation. My priority is putting people back to work in America,' the large quote says.
Planning prematurely: One of the pages was dedicated to the would-be inauguration
No clues: Little was revealed on the leaked site
It shows links to information about the would-be inauguration (taking place in Washington, DC on January 21, 2013) and his vision of a 'smaller, simpler, smarter' America.
There are three other pages, titled 'Join the Administration', 'The President-Elect' which goes into further detail about the inauguration, and 'The Nominees' which briefly describes the process of electing a cabinet.
Unfortunately for political junkies, the nominees page cuts off before any actual nominees are identified, so the page does not give any true insight into the way that the Romney-Ryan team would have proceeded with their transition.
Political Wire does not explain how they found the site or how long it was live, only saying that it was taken down quickly.
Recruiting for the cause: One of the pages was dedicated joining the Romney administration
Considering aides likely spent hours poring over transition plans, so the fact that they had a website prepared in case the election went their way.
Romney himself was very vocal about the fact that he had written only one speech for Tuesday night- a 1,118-word acceptance speech - and he had prepared no alternative.
The accidental release of the website came just hours after Romney took the stage in Boston to give his concession speech to a crowd of disappointed supporters.
No website needed: President Obama accepted his re-election in his hometown of Chicago
'Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign,' he said during the speech.
'We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put people before the politics.
'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.
'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.'
VIDEO: Romney concedes defeat in the election...