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BOSTON - Mitt Romney has conceded defeat in the presidential contest.

The Republican nominee told supporters he would pray for Barack Obama's success in leading the nation.

Romney thanked his running mate Paul Ryan, saying the Wisconsin congressman had a bright future in the GOP.

Romney lost nearly all the major battleground states to Obama including Ohio, the hardest fought prize.

The former Massachusetts governor said it was time to put aside partisan bickering and work together for the good of the country.

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 Barack 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.

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