Romney adviser hits back at candidate's critics
November 28th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
1 year 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. nadinesh

    The Republican party will only save itself when it starts ripping itself apart with truly vicious inner dialogues, instead of congratulating themselves for going down with the ship. I enthusiastically voted for Obama but I have no illusions about the victory. The Democrats ran a terrific campaign. They exploited the Republican weaknesses: their racism, their sense of entitlement, their anti-abortion stance, their overlooking of women's issues. But it helped that our President is African-American, because it turned out a huge number of voters that ordinarily skip Election Day. They won because they simply ran a MUCH better campaign. And they had a very good candidate to appeal to most Americans, whereas the Republicans had someone who just looked phony. It may not happen next time. Or Republicans could wise up and drop the social agenda (which will probably happen in 8 years.) We can never assume that demographics will inevitably marginalize the GOP. Only their unwillingness to see where they didn't appeal will do that.

    November 29, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  2. Jim in Houston

    It wasn't Romney's message we rejected. It was Romney we rejected: a draft dodger, a tax cheat, and a supporter of polygamy. Those traits Americans will not support.

    November 29, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. Wilson

    Romney lost. The reason does not mattter at this point. Move on. What needs to happen now is the Republicans in congress stand their ground and minimize the damage Obama will cause in the next 4 years. The USA is well on the way to becoming the United Socialist States of America. The sad thing is, even the Russians see it and are commenting on it. The Russians are wondering why we did not learn from their 75 years mistake.

    November 29, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. nadinesh

    You guys have to watch some different tv channels. When someone disagrees with a Republican, they reach down into the bag of cliches they've been issues in boot camp and come up with their opponent is "spewing hate." That's always such a giggle. No, really: it's clownish.

    November 29, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. quinLee

    Bottom line IMO, Obama was extremely vulnerable and should have lost under any other circumstance. Even though he ran a better campaign, a stronger Republican candidate with a genuine HONEST message would have taken him down. Romney was not that candidate and frankly neither is the current Rep party. They are like a weird schizophrenic dancing between the uber rich and the teaparty folks. The uber rich is only interested in becoming uber uber rich and the teaparty….well who knows.

    November 29, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. johnnie2655

    A narrow victory???. Obama won every toss up state. And had an electoral college landslide!!!!! That is not narrow

    November 29, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. Joe B

    "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."

    Uh, no, even voters didn't like Mitt Romney; they just hated Barack Obama. I totally agree with Jim in Houston.

    November 29, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. pj

    Just about everyone simply wants Romney to go away and never be heard of again. We are tired of his 20 year campaign for Presidency. It is over. He is finished.

    November 29, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Tom

    Romney was mayonaise on "Wonder Bread," and has the personality of a dial tone.

    November 29, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. jimranes

    Come on Man! Romney's message did not resonate with the majority of voters. Mr. Romney frankly did not hold any values that resonated with the majority. How many of the "47%" of even 98% of the voters can identify with tax avoidance C corporate accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland? Many of those who voted from Romney were motivated by their visceral hatred of the President for some very obvious reasons related to his race.

    November 29, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. RKN

    Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day."
    and I am sure that is why Mitt won... Oh wait, he didn't.... never mind.

    November 29, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Vince

    Narrow loss? ummm....OK. I'm sure after writing the piece he went back to reading the help wanteds.

    November 29, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. That's just crazy talk

    A moderate myself, to be sure, staunch Democrats should keep in mind most of us who voted are very disappointed with both parties, both have failed us too many times, this election truly was about picking the lesser of two evils.

    November 29, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. Hogan's Goat

    "characteristics of the Democratic Party and the left in general has been a shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self-loathing," These guys are delusional. They might as well think we are animated skeletons from the planet Zabnog for all the good making up these elaborate lies are doing them. They ran against "socialists" and "a plan to turn Americans into welfare slaves," and it couldn't be further from the truth. Snap out of it and stop talking to the squirrels in the park. The world's not going to end on Dec 21, flying saucers are a hoax, and Obama was born in Kenya. Your party's a joke now.

    November 29, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Greg

    So a whining self loathing article is now considered an Op-Ed?

    November 29, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. JohnReedjr

    I have trouble understanding how Romney's ideals "carried the day". He lost. Republicans lost. They control the House only because of gerrymandering. Wake up BOYS. You lost because your Republican ideals stink.

    November 29, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Conrad Murray

    John Boehner and the rest of the republicans are like the people in Titanic, wading in freezing cold water who didn't get into a lifeboat.

    November 29, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Hogan's Goat

    "It wasn't Romney's message we rejected. " Well, his message was dung; Claiming rich people will hire you if you elect their mascot is a plan to make people dependent on the ultra-rich for handouts, and claiming that continuing social support and educational opportunities will anger the ultra-rich and make them take away your job is a joke. Also, Romney himself was a weasel.

    November 29, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Larry in Houston

    I know they would never read these comments – but they should have poured their money into Huntsman's campaign. He was a better person all around – meant what he said – didn't constantly change his mind on issues every time the wind turned – said what he meant – you can tell he spoke from his heart – I can go on & on – bottom line : he would have given Obama a run for his money – but it the way it is – they lost – they will have to live with it – til they get Somebody who can run , that's has a "mind-set" of 2012 – in other words, this country isn't still in a "Leave it to Beaver" age , or a "Green Acres" mind – set , period.

    November 29, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. FactCheck

    Running on a platform of lowering taxes for the rich, cutting Medicare, governmental regulation of women's health, self deportation. What could go wrong? This worked so well for the RNC in 2000 and 2004.

    November 29, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. Daverelentless

    "Mitt Romney – carried the day."
    Way too funny. Romney lost the election when he stood on stage with Obama and shoveled out his antiquated ideas with no substance to them. He carried Obamas water, nothing else.

    November 29, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Happy Holidays and Good Luck!

    BRAVO! Great article! I think we pretty much all know that Obama only won because 1) Clinton campaigned for him, 2) the media campaigned for him, 3) he played the race card as usual, 4) he promised the wonder of more entitlements, 5) he made a huge deal out of the abortion issue when none existed, 6) he made a huge deal out of "women's issues" when few even thought there were "issues," 7) because of the color of his skin.

    November 29, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. buckeye1

    THANK YOU, Mr. Stevens! Finally someone has come out and said what HALF OF AMERICA has been thinking! If I was this president and I looked at the election map and saw 80% red, I wouldn't be bragging.

    November 29, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. stevetall

    In a word, delusional. Where was this guy, and what election is he referring to? Romney lost beacuse he was surrounded by people like this and his message only appealed to the super-wealthy. His 47% comment basically said it all. He has no respect for 1 out of every 2 Americans, and he got what he had coming: A major league ass whipping. Historically speaking, it's time for the Republican Party to dry up and blow away. So much for your warped perception of reality!

    November 29, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. MazeAndBlue

    The republic party not ready for prime time. The rich against the world, old white men against people of color, master piece was in full effect. The people won period.

    November 29, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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