Mitt Romney pensive on final day of campaigning

Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

It was the most telling image. Mitt Romney, away from network news cameras, away from the stage and the carefully choreographed campaign event, he was on his plane, lost in thought.

Pacing up and down the aisle, pensively; a man who is publicly confident but privately wrapped in doubt; his arms folded tightly across his chest like a chief executive about to close a company.

His aides ooze confidence and all the right soundbites, predicting victory if the turnout is good. But behind closed doors they will know by now if they've done enough.

Another image that sticks in my mind. Down the planes steps at Lynchburg, Virginia, Romney alone. Usually others follow, his busy aides, his wife, a dozen staffers. Not this time. He was a man alone.

Across a windy airport tarmac, a long walk to a few thousand supporters gathered at the edge of the runway. It was hardly the dramatic end he'd hoped for. It's touchdown politics but somehow it lacks soul, passion. It's clean and tidy like a chief executives's handkerchief, but you have a sense that Romney knows it's not quite enough.

He'll know soon enough. One last sweep through Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire and he's home. His political career is either over in a day or it's only really just beginning.

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