Romney campaign lets go of new debate coach
February 3rd, 2012
07:54 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney campaign lets go of new debate coach

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has parted ways with debate coach Brett O'Donnell, a Romney campaign source confirmed Friday.

O'Donnell, a former Michele Bachmann adviser who also did debate prep sessions with John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, was given credit in several media reports as the man behind Romney's impressive back-to-back debate performances in Florida.

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But a source inside the campaign told CNN Friday that O'Donnell's role "was vastly overblown."

O'Donnell was present in the spin room after the CNN debate in Jacksonville giving credit to Romney for his preparation and work habits.

That night, O'Donnell told CNN that Romney realized after his South Carolina primary loss that he needed to "make some changes strategically" in his onstage message.

"He knew he had to engage Newt more and be better on a couple of answers," O'Donnell explained. "He worked really hard to get them right, and tonight I saw a vast improvement."

But in the days after the Florida debates, some Romney advisers groused privately that O'Donnell was being given too much credit for Romney's performances, and proactively emailed reporters to downplay his role in the campaign.

O'Donnell did not respond to an email seeking comment.

- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Marry

    O'Donnell is kind of a „beautician“ to get the wrinkles out of a message and a little color on them. With Romney you will never get his distaste and disregard for “poor” and “middle” people out of his system (so guess for whom he works!) just like you can’t get the “nut” out of Bachmann (good that she is gone!).

    President Obama 2012!

    February 4, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  2. chuck weidemann

    Who gets credit, who gets credit!!! Typical in fighting in the all about me world of big business in America. Yes wouldn't that be great in the white house! Give me a break from these spoiled children. There is a man in the white house now and he is there for another four matter what amount of sour grapes republican wanna be's kick and scream about.

    February 4, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    Question is...WHY would Romney ire a debate coach who was 0-3 with his previous clients?

    February 4, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  4. Name RADIAH

    Why would he hire a debate coach with a resume like that? Palin? BACHMAN? This is just hilarious! He thinks he's going to be President?

    February 4, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  5. HenryB

    Maybe now Mitt will go back to being his usual stiff Tin Man.

    February 4, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  6. diridi

    Bain-Capital. KB Toys laid off thousands of people after taking 120millions from Government. ha...

    February 4, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  7. Marie MD

    OMG!!! It is obvious that the flip flopper can learn fast but until this news I didn't know that he "helped" the she devil from AK. I guess 50-50 is not a bad record unless you are a real winner which willard isn't.
    This is another example of the flip flopper firing people. It does seem as if o'donnell helped him with the debates but because he was being given credit for making the stiff sound better he must be fired. How dare anyone take the credit for making him seem 10% more human vs 5%. BTW – stop the singing. You are off key and you sound like one of those old guys in some decrepit saloon somewhere in the middle of nowhere Nevada. You can't even beat the President on this.

    February 4, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Haitiana4Obama

    Another example of Mittens taking advantage of someone....coldly using O'Donnell to his advantage and quickly discarding him as Bain would a company they'd raided. And to not even have the courtesy to call the man who ultimately defused Gingrich? Mr. "I live firing people" had a surrogate do his dirty work for him. Class act.

    February 4, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. Anonymous

    But wait, the corporate butt-smoochers – er – "reporters" at CNN keep saying Flipper the Robot has a "strong organization." I guess those corporate media clowns are clueless.

    February 4, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Wow, a former Palin coach; President Obama must be laughing at the inept Rmoney campaign. On the other hand, the guy was probably fired after Anne drew the line and insisted Flipper would not begin winking at the audience during his public appearances.

    February 4, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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