(CNN) - Mitt Romney's top campaign strategist has a simple message for soul-searching Republicans wondering how their presidential nominee lost: "I take full responsibility."
Stuart Stevens was a senior adviser for Romney and had a hand in a variety of campaign functions, including strategy and advertising.
When the campaign hit its rockier days, his name was tossed around by some insiders seeking an explanation - or scapegoat – for its struggles.
And in an exclusive interview with CNN's "Reliable Sources" set to run on Sunday, Stevens said he takes responsibility.
"Let's don't have period where we go back and we try to say, ‘well, let's blame this person,’" he said. "Just blame me. That's fine. And let's move on."
In a post-election interview with CBS News, Stevens said Romney's loss did not mean a defeat for Republican Party ideas because President Barack Obama won by focusing on several state-level issues, while Romney argued the big picture of "debt, entitlement [and] the future of the country."
Images of Obama touring the damage from Superstorm Sandy in late October helped his effort, too, he added.
Three months out from the election, the GOP is in autopsy mode. It is dissecting aspects of the campaign such as message and outreach to minority groups. A number of Republican rising stars have offered their views of how the party should move forward.
In the CNN interview, Stevens said it would be appropriate at this point for Republicans to be upset.
"It's good that people are angry. You know, I played a lot of sports. It's the worst thing to be in the - a losing locker room and people aren't upset," he said. "This is a moment we should be going through. It's good."
But the party should harness that, he said, and "go on and win races and learn from what we did."
- CNN's Gregory Wallace and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report