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As Campaign Fades Away, Secret Service and Facebook Abandon Romney

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David Goldman/AP File Photo

With one crackly sentence, Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House came to an unceremonious end in the early morning hours after Election Day:

"Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue."

That message, sent over the Secret Service’s radio channel, signaled the end was real--and that the time had come for Romney's Secret Service detail to head home.

The reality of the end was stark, reported GQ: Romney arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston to give his concession speech accompanied by a 15-car motorcade--he returned home in a single-car motorcade, driven by son Tagg.

How does a billion dollar operation like a presidential campaign shut down? Fast. In some cases, we can watch the decay in real-time. Below are ways we’ve seen the unique management challenge of shutting down a presidential campaign take shape in the last week:

Secret Service? Gone.

According to GQ, despite a year of bad press, the Secret Service did its job and did it well throughout the campaign. The small operation performed flawlessly despite the strain of protecting powerful officials during rallies, debates, conventions and the U.N. General Assembly gathering in New York. With the campaign in the rearview, agents disappeared quietly--likely returning home for well-earned family time:

There is no formal guideline for the Secret Service agents [at a campaign’s end]; it's up to the discretion of the detail leader, who usually consults with the local police to make sure that his protectee's home won't be overrun by protestors and supporters all of a sudden.

But the Service leaves quickly. No more motorcades. No more rope lines. No more bubbles. Familiar faces disappear, never to be seen again.

Had Romney won, everything would have been different. A full counter-assault team, "Hawkeye Javelin," was on stand-by in Boston, ready to supplement his detail. A team from the White House Communications Agency, which had been consulting with his informal transition team on secure space for intelligence briefings, was on hand too.

Facebook Friends? No more.

Since Romney conceded one week ago, he’s been losing approximately 847 friends an hour on Facebook. According to Mashable, more than 50,000 users unliked his page in the three days after the election.

You can even watch the exodus in real-time thanks to the aptly named “DisappearingRomney.com

Transition Office? Shuttered.

As it became clear there would be no President Romney inaugurated on Jan. 21, the campaign’s transition team closed its office at 3rd and C Street SW last week. The office, supported by the General Services Administration and funded in part by a 2010 federal law meant to ensure a smooth transfer of power, began packing up shortly after the election. According to the Washington Post:

The operation had been working in high gear in recent weeks as it looked very much like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney could well become president of the United States.

But, of course, it was not to be. So the transition, housed on a couple floors in a federal office building, has been told to close things down. There were about 150 people working there.

It was “fully up and running,” a person with knowledge of the transition said, with desks, telephones computers and such.

What’s next for the Governor is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear he and his team, while unsuccessful in their bid for the presidency, should take a needed vacation. 

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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