At the Arizona Republican Party's election-viewing party at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix last night, the moment came that precisely none of the scheduled speakers was prepared for -- on a large screen to the right of the stage, Fox News declared that President Obama had won re-election.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Mongtomery was stuck on stage speaking while this came up, and with the 15 minutes before that moment, combined with the 15 minutes after, we found out there is a scenario more awkward than being in a room full of nothing but Republicans -- being in a room full of nothing but really baffled and grouchy Republicans.
This chain of events started with Governor Jan Brewer -- whose mood we'll describe as "bubbly" -- as she took the stage next to the cardboard cutout of Mitt Romney, which remained on the stage throughout this whole process.
Brewer got the heavy cheers for saying she wanted to get "Buh-rack Obama out of the White House."
Based on the statement we're printing next, it appeared that she eventually ran out of reasons to be on the stage.
"I love all of the smiles on all of your faces," Brewer said, followed by a pause. "Love it."
Secretary of State Ken Bennett hopped on the stage next, and by that time, the Fox News screen to his left showed that President Obama had 262 electoral votes in the bag, eight short of securing four more years.
Bennett said his piece for Romney, and as he noticed the attention was starting to go to his left, Secretary of State Bennett (instead of politician Bennett) reminded the crowd that "they count every vote."
Montgomery followed Bennett, and as Montgomery was thanking everyone for their votes against the "top-two primary" proposition, Fox News showed a graphic that covered the entire screen, declaring that President Obama had won.
Despite the fact that everyone else in the room was groaning amongst themselves, Montgomery did the only thing he could do, which was to finish his remarks. He did so, but looked visibly flustered, as it was painfully obvious that he was the only one with a microphone in a room full of people, and just about nobody listened to a word he had to say.
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Attorney General Tom Horne followed, and the grumbling continued. He clearly didn't want to be in that spot, but talked about suing the Obama administration again before getting the hell out of there.
Then Congressman Trent Franks upped the awkwardness ante. Franks, who easily won re-election, tried twice to quiet the room down in that stern voice he'll use when he's acting serious about something, which is typically abortion. Nobody listened, and Franks said something about his voice not being very strong at the time before going on with his remarks.
The most attention Franks got was when his young son accidentally tripped and fell off the back of the stage (which was no more than two feet high), and Franks got some laughs by responding, "That's my boy." Standing about 10 feet from Franks, it was still difficult to hear him, as the groaning amongst the Republicans continued. We did get his closing line: "May God save America."
Not to be outdone on the awkward-meter, Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin hit the stage after Franks, and it was pretty clear that Tobin didn't even consider the possibility that Obama would be declared the victor before he gave his speech.
Tobin broke from his prepared remarks to tell everyone it's not over, because there's still Ohio (This was well after Fox News called Ohio, and the election, for Obama.)
Interestingly enough, Tobin was explaining this while Karl Rove was hogging the Fox News screen to his left, and the two of them really do resemble each other (sorry, if that's offensive to either of them).
We'd find out later that night how Tobin got the idea from that Obama didn't really win Ohio -- Rove. Awkward.
State Treasurer Doug Ducey came up next, as people were starting to accept Obama's win, as made his quick remarks about the defeat of Proposition 204 before getting out of there.
The last spike in awkwardness came from Matt Salmon, who easily won his congressional race.
"I'm so thankful we live in Arizona, where we actually elect the right people," he said, apparently some consolation for those in attendance.
The awkwardness left upon the arrival of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which caused pretty much everyone to go apeshit.
And that is how the most awkward 30 minutes of Election Day went down.
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