About halfway down the staircase, Gov. Romney stopped, and turned to wave at the reporters and staffers who were applauding on the balcony of the State House.
Romney joined others in not walking entirely alone. Governor, later President, Calvin Coolidge was followed at several paces by his friends, and Governor James Michael Curley's wife accompanied him on his walk in 1937. Governor Michael Dukakis was also joined by his wife in 1979. Porcupine was also there when Governor William Weld's well-wishers lined the steps and crowded the gates. Porcupine was also able to attend the unusual 'Lone Walk' of Governor, later Ambasador, Paul Cellucci. Because the State House was undergoing renovations, the front staircase was not available. Gov. Cellucci performed the traditional exchange of the symbols of office with Jane Swift at the top of the interior marble Grand Staircase, and walked down that alone. Later, Governor Swift's family, departing staff and some legislators walked with her, and well-wishers lined the steps and crowded the gates in January 2003, Porcupine among them.
And now, ending a sixteen year GOP run, Mitt Romney. At a recent luncheon (Porcupine mentally noted at the time that this would probably be the last time in many years when the Governor would be adressing such a small crowd, and for no contribution to boot!), Governor Romney talked about what he wanted to have remembered about his tenure. First, he spoke about how proud he was of the John and Abigail Adams scholarships, and about how the test scores of young students have rebounded. For instance, in a nationwide analysis of fourth and eighth grade students, Massachusetts is number one - in English and in Math - in both fourth and eighth grade. No other state in the nation has ever acomplished this. "I go to a state like Alabama", he said, "and they talk about how they are number 30, but will work their way up to 25. I'm sitting there, thinking - Our kids are Number 1! But you will never read that in the Boston Globe - instead, you will read about how our schools are in disarray." Secondly, his health care bill. Romney recalled the time line. He announced he was filing legislation in October, filed it the following March. The subsequent March, the Democrats filed another bill which was 95% the same - and they are trying to take credit for it. But it was his idea, and his priority. Lastly, the streamlining of government agencies. More than just the firing of Billy Bulger and the elimination of the snake-pit MDC, but a constant monitoring of how agencies were producing - with much help from Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.
Mitt and Anne Romney then stopped at the head of the staircase leading down to the street, just above the huge wrought-iron gates. A band played an anthem (which began as 'Hail to the Chief (!) but which quickly morphed into the Washington Post March) as a nineteen gun salute was fired across the street on the Boston Common. They stood together, holding hands and smiling as they paused halfway down the staircase on their way to their great adventure.