Former Romney adviser blasts top surrogates for now 'eviscerating' Romney
Dan Senor is seen talking with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on October 20 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
November 21st, 2012
10:43 AM ET
5 years ago

Former Romney adviser blasts top surrogates for now 'eviscerating' Romney

(CNN) - A former senior adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign skewered some of the GOP nominee's surrogates Wednesday, saying it was "stunning" how they preened for administration positions when they thought Romney would win but then turned on the candidate as soon as he lost the election.

Dan Senor recalled an anecdote at the large rally held in Ohio the Friday before Election Day earlier this month. He said some of the event's major headliners were praising the candidate backstage and had begun engaging Romney's transition team.

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"I won't mention their names, but they're talking about Romney like he's Reagan. You know, 'The debate performances were the best debate performances of any Republican nominee in presidential history. This guy–he's iconic.' They were talking about him because they believed he was going to win in four or five days," Senor said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"In fact, some of them were already talking to our transition to position themselves for a Romney cabinet," he added.

Still not naming names, Senor said the tone dramatically changed in the days following Romney's loss, as many top GOP leaders conducted post-mortem analysis of the campaign.

"I won't say who they are. They know who they are. They were on television. I mean, it was unbelievable. It was five, six days later, (they were) absolutely eviscerating him," he said.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been perhaps the highest-profile surrogate to lambast Romney since Election Day. The Republican governor sharply took issue with Romney's post-election comments in a phone call with donors, in which he said Obama won the election by offering policy "gifts" to constituencies in his base, such as Hispanics, young people and African Americans.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also railed against Romney for the comments.

Filed under: 2012 • Bobby Jindal • Mitt Romney
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Republicans always blame someone else for their own failures. It's their nature.

    November 21, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. elucidated1

    Good point. Don't "say who they are". . .just keep Americans in the dark while you complain about a non issue.

    November 21, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. sonny chapman

    If we could see into Bobby Jindal's heart, it would be a picture of him wearing a Crown etched with,"King of the World".

    November 21, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    His "Top Surrogates" were only lukewarm in their support for him anyway, usually giving something like the "You didn't pick me, but vote for him anyway" type of speech. So their post-election "See what I mean" speeches were not unexpected.

    November 21, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    No one wants to be associated with a loser. Especially a loser who is so out of touch with mainstream America. I have a suspicion of who one of these surrogates are who wanted a cabinet position. I'm sure Gov. Ultrasound wanted to be apart of the cabinet since he can't run for governor again. Gov. Christie & Hurricane Sandy on the other hand single handedly ruined Willard's campaign.

    November 21, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Dan Senor is right. Most of the Romney criticism is for remarks attributed to Romney after the election was decided. Most of the remarks were no different from what Romney has been saying on the campaign trail for at least a year, including the "gifts" remarks most especially.

    November 21, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I can't blame the surrogates. Romney didn't do enough to connect with people. The campaign listened too much to its own propaganda and thought that they would win. There were many faults with the campaign and candidate. The $10,000 bet Romney wanted to make on stage with Perry didn't help much. He leaned too much to the right and had trouble getting back to center where more indepedants might give him a better look.

    November 21, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I won't mention their names, but they're talking about Romney like he's Reagan. You know, 'The debate performances were the best debate performances of any Republican nominee in presidential history. This guy–he's iconic.'

    Yeah, well ... thinking Romney was going to be the next Ronald Reagan might have been their first clue that things weren't going so well after all.

    Bad news is, we'll never know who would get to attend Romney's "Victory Tour" at Camp David. Many sponsors spent millions of their personal fortunes for that never to be honor.


    November 21, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Romney has blamed everyone but himself and his radical, out of touch views for being rejected by the Amercan voters. Now all of the fat rats that share those views are turning on each other and trying to figure out how they can re-package the same old failed policies for 2016.

    November 21, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Michael

    Would you really expect anything else from Republicans?

    November 21, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Laverne

    ......and then they all got the shock of their lives "President Obama re-elected"!!! I LOVE IT!!

    November 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Mikey

    This may be wrong, but I am thoroughly enjoying the GOP/Tea Party circular firing squad.

    November 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. n

    What debate, oh the first debate, when Romney debated against himself while Obama took a snooze. News flash, President Obama let him win that one so he could catch up in the poles and then came the shellacking Obama gave in the woodshed of politics. Romney and his supporters was living in Never, Never Land . . . Oblivious to the inevitability of their pending and assured defeat. Did they not know? Well now they do. The Obama Machine is alive and well. Romney was just a blister surrounded by a lot of sores.

    November 21, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    My favorite "why Romney lost" excuse are the ones that blame the long primaries. They blame the primaries for dragging the message to far to the right, and now in the end they blame the candidate for not getting a clear conservative message out.

    So, their solution is to limit and curtail the primary season next time. Ain't the right wing's vision of how democracy should work great?

    November 21, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. rs

    It has to be tough. Republicans (including Mr. Romney) deluded themselves into thinking they were going to win, and are now facing the aftermath of a substancial loss. It is somehow symptomatic of Republican SOP- don't like the truth? Replace it with more comfortable fiction.

    The problem for them is this: it has revealed them for what they are, delusional thinkers who feel that no matter the results of the election, they still "won" and don't have to negotiate on fiscal policy, federal appointments, or pretty much everything else.

    Bad news for them: The American public no longer buys their twisted "loyal opposition" to everything. It is time for them to produce. Produce a budget, a jobs bill, a way out of their fiscal nightmare, and to stop being the problem. Otherwise Americans will simply see them as the anti-American opposition.

    They need to grow up and work for all Americans and stop acting like spoiled brats.

    November 21, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. otto

    Jindal was a Perry man. Now Jindal is saying GOP needs to stop pandering to the anti-egghead crowd.

    cognitive dissonance.

    November 21, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. marty

    'Tis the season to give a very special Thanks to the Revered One above for giving our President four more years to continue governing. Romney's true nature has been on display since his rejection, and it's not pretty.

    November 21, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    saying it was "stunning" how they preened for administration positions when they thought Romney would win but then turned on the candidate as soon as he lost the election
    They didn't turn on the candidate, they turned on Romney.
    How many times do we have to say what you already know? NOBODY liked Romney before, during, or much less after the election, not his fellow Party members and certainly not the voters.
    Why are we still discussing this non-issue that never was?
    Lawd Gawd make it stop.

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. plain&simple

    What do you expect from a bunch of " I built that" types? Now it all falls on Romney. No unity visible here,every man for himself!!!!

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. durundal

    did anyone stop and think that maybe they 'eviscerated' him because he said something absolutely insulting and nutso when he failed to capture the necessary votes? Grow up or get out and no, you cant take your land with you. Either put aside your foolish notions about what a 'liberal' or 'conservative' is or sit the F down and zip it. Fanning the flames for personal gain is singularly destroying this country

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. chill

    Welcome to GOP politics Dan. Can't put all the blame on the surrogates though. They are the ones who were whining about gifts. As if 20% tax cuts for millionaires and reduced reulatory diligence weren't "gifts".

    November 21, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Anatropia / CT

    With all the erratic news and a country focused on things like Justin Bieber, who is wearing what, what new reality TV shows are coming out, the answer to why Romney lost is obvious: "He never mentioned zombies in his campaign"

    November 21, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Walter Retlaw

    Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly should both celebrate the re-election of President Obama. Now they both have more to talk about for the next 4 years. More hate talk, more anti-women, anti-gay, anti-minorities, anti-Blacks, anti-Muslims, anti-everything. They both have the rights to express their hate views; it is protected by our Freedom of Speech. However, when they preach their hate using Public Airwaves, this becomes dangerous. I am amazed how many foolish there are here in the USA that tunes the radio to listen to their hate talk. I am glad Mitt Romney lost the election. Mitt Romney is a student of both Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. Mitt is A liar, A Deceptive, An Untruthful person, A Hypocrite, A Narcissist, A Divider, ………
    The fact that he lost the election to Mr. Obama makes me more believe that God is watching over this Great Nation with Passion and Mercy.

    November 21, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. john

    Look Senor, the Republican party suffered an unseen and unexpected defeat in this election. If you cannot beat an incumbent in this type of economy then who can you beat? Most of the sane Republicans came to realize, and rightly so, that they had to look outward as well as inward as they moved forward.

    Romney should have followed McCain's example when he lost and kept his mouth shut for a few months. But rather than take responsibility for his lies and terrible campaign rhetoric, Romney trots out like some kind of dressage horse spouting off and basically saying "Obama bought the election by offering gifts to people who will take no responsibility for themselves!"

    Romney's parting gift to the GOP was a flaming bag of divisive rhetoric, so they did what they had to do. They stomped it out and put the blame squarely where it belongs, on Mitt Romney's shoulders.

    November 21, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. SafeJourney

    Poor, Poor repubs . Still going thru the 5 stages of grief. But I think they are stuck on denial. Get over it repubs, move on. Do it for your health if nothing else

    November 21, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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