Romney adviser hits back at candidate's critics
November 28th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney adviser hits back at candidate's critics

(CNN) – As Republican post-election musings point fingers at perceived short-comings by the former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, his campaign and the GOP as a whole, a top Romney adviser staunchly defended his candidate and warned against Republican infighting.

"Over the years, one of the more troubling characteristics of the Democratic Party and the left in general has been a shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self-loathing," wrote chief Romney strategist Stuart Stevens in an op-ed in the Washington Post Wednesday. "It would be a shame if we Republicans took a narrow presidential loss as a signal that those are traits we should emulate."

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Stevens asserted that while Romney was not a Washington favorite he managed to win the Republican nomination and, ultimately, inspired voters.

"Nobody liked Romney except voters," he wrote in the op-ed. "What began in a small field in New Hampshire grew into a national movement. It wasn't our campaign, it was Mitt Romney."

"When Mitt Romney stood on stage with Barack Obama, it wasn't about television ads or whiz- bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas versus fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day."

Stevens ticked off a series of Romney's accomplishments - from the former Massachusetts governor's fundraising supremacy to his commanding performances in the debates as well as defending conservative economics. He argued Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate, despite worries the GOP budget engineer's proposal would turn away seniors, changed the fundamental debate on entitlement reform.

While acknowledging his party's setbacks, Stevens' op-ed fell short of providing a remedy or explanation for the GOP's failure to grab the Oval Office, instead urging conservatives to continue pushing forward.

"The Obama organization ran a great campaign. In my world, the definition of the better campaign is the one that wins," wrote Stevens. "Losing is just losing. It's not a mandate to throw out every idea that the candidate championed, and I would hope it's not seen as an excuse to show disrespect for a good man who fought hard for values we admire."

Stevens himself faced criticism in the heat of the campaign season following a glaring report from Politico revealing tensions among Romney's top advisers and blaming Stevens for some campaign mishaps at the Republican National Convention.

–CNN's Jim Acosta and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (356 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Republicans the party of more freedoms? Tell women that. Tell gays that. Big laugh.

    November 29, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  2. vp

    "Nobody liked Romney except voters,"

    That's hilarious!!

    November 29, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  3. Badgerface

    I've worked in a few organizations that hired 3rd stringers as leaders and in my experience each of these cases was a disaster.....and Mitt was the classic third stringer in cast of clowns that ran for the Republican Pres. nomination. You folks dodged a massive bullet.

    November 29, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  4. cm

    This is more of the same garbage, plain and simple-No one buts Anne like Romney.
    GO AWAY- and while you are in the White House, the president is talking try not to interupt him.
    Just because you have money you are not above anyone.

    November 29, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    336/204 is narrow?? ???????go see a good MD or PA in your area.

    November 29, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  6. Dan G

    It seems everyone, both democrats and republicans, are missing the big picture. Remember, Obama did not win by a landslide. The country was split fairly evenly if you look at the results. Stevens seems to be pointing out the fact that Romney's core values and beliefs should not be thrown away just because he lost. Yes, he lost, but that doesn't mean he was completely wrong. Obama won by 3,476,775 votes out of 121,745,725. That's roughly a 2% margin, which shows me the country is split between these two parties and points of view. If Romney was so bad, how did he obtain almost half of the vote? Think objectively and without bias, it helps explain what the people of this great country want, or don't want.

    November 29, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  7. Leonard Edelen

    Narrow Presidential loss? What numbers did you use for this piece. If I recall correctly Obama put it to Romney real good. The sooner you accept reality, the sooner the wounds will begin to heal. Also regardless of a narrow loss or not, A LOSS IS A LOSS, AND MONEY MITT LOST,

    November 29, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  8. 40acres

    What Stuart may want to reconsider is that the fact that Democrats don't always vote in lock step with other Democrats is a positive....not a negative. The problem I see with the Republicans is that they DO vote as a single unit....so when you get one idiot saying something about "legitimate rape" it is the same as all of them saying it (no matter how fast they deny the comments). But this also is a problem for the Republicans....groupthink is very often very wrong.

    November 29, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  9. Clark

    Is the CNN comments section permanently staffed by angry libs who blame Mitt Romney for all the evils in the world? Newsflash: He didn't win. And unless you lived in Massachusetts when he was governor, he's hasn't held any authority over one second of your lives. He didn't create the injustices in the world or promote gridlock in Washington. He didn't send troops to War, cut taxes, crash the economy, make you ugly, or burn down all our schools. He offered an alternative to this existence that's made you so bitter and seems to have somehow wronged you so much. But he lost, so blaming him for all the ills of the world is rather like going on about how bad everything is because of Michael Dukakis. Obama has won twice now. You got what you wanted. This is his gridlock and his economy you live in. Stop pointing the finger and start owning it.

    November 29, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  10. zipurlip

    The only reason Mitt ended up being the candidate is the rest of the "field" was so atrocious. Flavor of the month. He wasn't any more viable nationally than the rest as soon as he embraced the Republican platform at the convention.

    November 29, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  11. Jonathan

    Do you think Stevens can spell: D-E-N-I-A-L?

    November 29, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    "Losing is just losing." ... "And Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day."
    -----------------–
    The preceding message was captured retransmitted from the hamster wheel in the right wing media's hamster cage by one of the millions of right wing hamsters.

    November 29, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  13. Jared

    So GWB wins by a slimmer margin and we are told it's a MANDATE. This guy calls this LANDSLIDE a "a narrow presidential loss" WOW...these guys really think the public is just that dumb? Yep...just wait till 2014...GOP is DONE!

    November 29, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Anonymous

    I don't think it is possible for Republicans to deal with this practically because it means they would have to accept that their core tenets aren't selling, and it appears, with current demographics, that this will only get worse with each election. How can you swallow that? You'd need to actually change some minds, and if what you're selling is often very negative and just downright childish at times, you'd need a very charismatic salesman indeed to do that. I agree with the Republican poster insofar as it's true that the Dems were more successful in getting out the vote. But I would also point out that they were more successful, technically, in absolutely everything they did. They ran a truly professional campaign, exactly targeting every state they needed and capturing almost every single one.

    November 29, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  15. BobPitt

    Stuart Stevens wrote: “It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom”.
    Really Mr. Stevens? What about the party that plunder the economy with the bush wars, and the party of no for the last four years, as a middle class person, I see nothing wrong with all paying a fair share of the tax burden. I don’t hide money in the Bahamas, and I make sure my taxes are promptly paid. If you think your way is best just refer to countries like Brazil were the rich pay nothing and the poor are very poor, with a very small middle class, not really what I want for me.

    November 29, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    By a shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self-loathing he means that when a Democrat screwed up they get called out for it by other Democrats. In contrast when a Republican screwed up other republicans pretend it never happened or try to spin it even against video evidence. In other words republicans are more interested in protecting their party than doing what is right for the country.

    _Independent.

    November 29, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. nadinesh

    I don't think it is possible for Republicans to deal with this practically because it means they would have to accept that their core tenets aren't selling, and it appears, with current demographics, that this will only get worse with each election. How can you swallow that? You'd need to actually change some minds, and if what you're selling is often very negative and just downright childish at times, you'd need a very charismatic salesman indeed to do that. I agree with the Republican poster insofar as it's true that the Dems were more successful in getting out the vote. But I would also point out that they were more successful, technically, in absolutely everything they did. They ran a truly professional campaign, exactly targeting every state they needed and capturing almost every single one.

    November 29, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. One L

    Wow, Romney still has an adviser?? They really helped him during the election...

    November 29, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  19. TerryG

    I'd gladly repay you tomorrow for a hamburger today.

    November 29, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. Anonymous

    jack

    "narrow presidential loss"? Obama won by over four million votes! This election was a big repudiation of the Republican "friends and protectors of the rich" mantra.
    ========================

    Shhh. It's a FOX lost sheep secret. The losers are still clinging to election night totals. How else can they make it a close race with Romney almost winning? Delusional - yes. In denial - yes. Then again, that's why they jump from FOX to CNNs ticker three, four times a day hoping to impress us with their delusional knowledge and intelligence.

    November 29, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  21. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    @What election were you watchin
    ” News Flash, Romney got the racist votes and President Obama got the true American Melting Pot votes!”

    I’m sure Romney got plenty of votes based on race… but so did Obama. Don’t kid yourself into thinking only whites are racist. The fact that the majority of blacks interviewed ADMIITTED they voted for him just because he was black combined with the fact not a single one knew any of Obama’s policies and yet he still got something like 99.5% of the black vote should be rather obvious. So my question to you is: What election were you watchin-g? I’m not saying this to attack blacks, I point out this FACT so you can get a glimpse past your narrow partisan view. You seem as blind as the Republicans.

    _Independent.

    November 29, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  22. Evangenital

    When he stood on stage with Obama, we decided we liked Obama best.

    November 29, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  23. One L

    "Shortage of loyalty"?? – did he not hear Trump's attack on Romney?? Among the latest of attacks against Romney by his own supporters. No wonder he lost.

    November 29, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  24. Patrick T

    I couldn't even process the rest of this story after he said narrow loss Obama could have won this thing without Ohio, Virginia, and Florida Mitt Romney was a terrible canidate with terrible Ideas it speaks volumes to your partys ticket when you lose the home states of your ticket as well as the state your canidate was govenor I mean really stop drinking the Nordquist-Limbaugh punch. He looked like he wanted to knock Biden off the ticket and join Obama as VP in the third debate I mean seriously Republicans need a gut check and way to go on the diversity push with your current house committe chair appointments. This country is a great country and I'm sure their great republicans out there but they voices that are currently speaking for the party are drowing them out.

    -Concerned Democrat

    November 29, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  25. lloyd roberts

    I love when republicans talk about more freedom. This from the party that brought you asset forfeiture laws, wanted to gut the 4th amendment to allow warrantless search and seizure, the patriot act, the drug war which throws thousands of non-violent Americans in jail, this is the freedom you're talking about. Maybe the republican party of Goldwater and Eisenhower and Buckley, but not today's religious conservative inspired, let the government legislate morality fake conservative republicans. More freedom, what a joke

    November 29, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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