Mitt Romney's well-publicised gaffes will rightly be blamed for some of the loss, but the Republican party must also ask itself why it couldn't win against a President under whose leadership debt and unemployment have soared.
Presenter: Ben Knight
Speaker: Vox Pops
BEN KNIGHT: Well there he is walking out onto the stage. This has got to be difficult for him and the energy that we saw especially in that last week of the campaign, just not there.
MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, my friends. Thank you so very much.
BEN KNIGHT: When Mitt Romney walked alone onto the stage in Boston, his campaign still hadn't officially conceded. But he immediately removed any doubt that this was over.
MITT ROMENY: I have just called president Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.
BEN KNIGHT: It was brief and gracious speech. If there was any rancour, it was only by omission. He didn't thank his chief strategist Stuart Stevens, who Republican insiders have been inwardly and outwardly vilifying for his handling of this campaign.
Now, the Republican Party will try to work out what went wrong - how in an electorate that put the economy as its number one issue, against a president who oversaw massive debt and high unemployment, they couldn't win this election.
Conservative pundits didn't waste any time weighing in.
Steve Hayes from the Weekly Standard says Mitt Romney just wasn't right wing enough.
STEVE HAYES: Republicans don't do as well when they nominate someone who is moderate. In 2008 Republicans nominated John McCain, in 2012 they nominated Mitt Romney. Somebody who pushed clearer and harder contrasts could have been a better candidate against this president.
BEN KNIGHT: But Mitt Romney himself will have to take some of the blame. His early campaign was disastrous - most notably the leaked video of him telling wealthy supporters that 47 per cent of Americans were not his problem.
Romney supporter Brian Connor says that made it difficult from the start.
BRIAN CONNOR: When he made that statement that you know, he is not concerned with the 47 per cent - which is a true statement, you know, I don't think this country is ready for that and I don't think that this country is not ready for Mitt Romney.
BEN KNIGHT: But when the post-mortems do begin they could do worse than simply look around this room. It is almost exclusively white. I've seen one Asian face, I've seen one African-American face.
And there is already concern inside the Republican Party that they have locked themselves into a narrow demographic and that the Latino vote and the African-American vote and the youth vote, even the women's vote that took Barack Obama over the line is drifting away from them.
It was the same at the rallies. And these are far more difficult issues for Republicans.
For now conservatives are focussing on position the party for another four years under a Democratic president and Senate when the pressure will be on all sides to compromise, especially on issues like tax.
BRIAN CONNOR: He's been re-elected and God bless him. I think he's got a tough job. I think this country has got a very tough four years.
CROWD (chanting and clapping): Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!