Campaign diary

Uncovered: Mitt Romney's presidential transition website

Someone goofed up and briefly displayed the official website of President-elect Mitt Romney. What does this peek tell us about a presidency that will never be?

Mitt Romney reportedly wasn't prepared for defeat. He didn't even write a concession speech ahead of time. If he had won, however, Romney would have been ready to hit the ground running. The failed presidential candidate who started Tuesday with a well-honed, 1,000-word victory speech tucked into his pocket also had a transition website ready to go live under the title, "Mitt Romney Elected the 45th President of The United States of America." In fact, the site did go live, briefly and mistakenly, on Wednesday. It was promptly taken down, but not before Taegan Goddard at Political Wire got screenshots. (See them all here.) What does the site say about the presidency that will never be? Here's what you should know:

What was on Romney's transition site?
The homepage featured a photo of Romney smiling confidently next to a quote from the "president-elect": "I'm excited about our prospects as a nation. My priority is putting people back to work." There was also a spot for a link to Romney's victory speech, and a place to list his Cabinet nominees. All the positions were blank, except the spot for the man who would have been his vice president, Rep. Paul Ryan. There was also a "Join the Administration" page inviting people to apply to work for Romney, but warning that "government service is not for everyone."

Did the site give hints about what Romney would have done in office?
The site suggested Romney was going to adopt an ambitious foreign policy. A section entitled "Restoring America's Leadership" said that Romney was going to show that America is "still capable of leading" despite "our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war." The site devoted another page to describing how Romney would repeal ObamaCare. It declared that on his first day in office, Romney would issue an executive order paving the way for the government to issue Affordable Care Act waivers to all 50 states. Then, it said, he would work with Congress to repeal Obama's health-care law altogether.

How did the site go public?
It was visible, accidentally, on the server of a Utah software company called SolutionStream. One of the company's owners, Jason Thelin, told The Huffington Post that the draft site was just a "tiny" project his team put together at the request of volunteers on Romney's transition team, who contacted them about 10 days before the election. "We were able to throw it together in a day and a half," said Thelin, who added that he wasn't sure he was allowed to talk about the site.

What are people saying about the site?
The site vanished as quickly as Romney's White House dreams, says the Vancouver Sun, but it still offers an interesting "peek into an alternate universe where Mitt Romney is the next American president." But don't look at these screenshots if you're a conservative, says Jonathan M. Seidl at The Blaze. This glimpse of what might have been — smaller government, a simpler tax code — is too painful while the sting of defeat is so fresh.

See the screenshots at Political Wire.

Sources: Huffington Post, Political Wire, The Blaze, The Stir, Vancouver Sun

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