Romney adviser hits back at candidate's critics
November 28th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
10 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. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Complete denial or a simple rewriting of history? I'll let the voters who stood hours in line to vote speak for who "liked" Romney and who didn't.

    November 28, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. robert

    I am a registered DEM but voted for Mitt Romney – I must say I am extremly disappoiinted in the election however moreso with how republicans are now fingerpointing and really throwing Mitt under the bus. People should take head to what Ann Romney said about the campaign – and I'm paraphrasing...."it's hard, and people should stop pointing fingers" I think what she meant was that people should stop complainng and if you can do better then run for office – let alone the highest office in the USA....I really hope and am looking forward to the mid-term elections and I sincerely hope that Republican keep the house and win the Senate – that would really send a message to this president that wants to tax and spend everyone elses money!

    November 28, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Bill

    Romney was the worst general election candidate in 50 years. No wonder he lost.

    November 28, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Larry L

    Nobody liked the message nor the messenger. Americans wanted help – not obstructionism. The radicals of the Tea party and their right-wing hate-media created a monster and the rational American voters rejected it. Romney never told the truth and never even gave us any specifics about his vision. He never released his tax returns...

    November 28, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Dave Harris

    OK, so why did he lose so bad? Start with one of the most incompetent, deceptive, and incoherent campaigns in modern history and you might have a clue. Still, it did perfectly reflect the crazified Republican party, driven mad by racist hatred of the black president. No, they have no "self-loathing", but they should.

    November 28, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. ezduzit757

    Well, this explains why Romney lost. His adviser was, and still is, out in la-la land with no perception of reality.

    November 28, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. peridot2

    'Performing the same actions over and over again while expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.' Albert Einstein.

    The Republican Party still doesn't get it. I wonder what colour the sky is on their planet?

    November 28, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. ezduzit757

    Robert – you need to change your voter registration because you are obviously NOT a dem.

    November 28, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. thomase

    It always amuses me when I read republicans represent less government, more freedom... I honestly don't believe either party has any intention of less government more personal freedom approach.

    November 28, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Print articles about this kind of thing don't really do it justice. You need to hear the audio, so you can here it echo around the chamber.

    November 28, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. BobRock

    "People should take head to what Ann Romney said about the campaign – and I'm paraphrasing...."it's hard, and people should stop pointing fingers""

    Aw, a single tear rolls down my check.. for THE WOMAN WHO HAS NEVER WORKED A DAY IN HER LIFE.

    November 28, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. annie s

    What planet is Stevens on? Republican ideas carried the day? Gee, then why was Mr. Romney so soundly defeated?

    November 28, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Margo

    Worst candidate on the planet as far as I am concerned. The republican party has nothing to offer this country at this time.

    November 28, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    Practically speaking–all the GOP thugs are bad apples. Rotten.

    November 28, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. norma jean

    Obviously the Republlican party still cannot look into a mirror and understand why they lost the election.......Plain and simple as it was....the Republicans were never able to look at our country and say what they could do for all.....they only were thinking what they could do for themselves.....Romney NEVER explained just what his plans were...was totally vague...spent most of hisi time putting down the president while his party refused to become part of the structure......The Repubs just couldn't see past themselves!!!!!THE TOPPER WAS HIS "47%" speech!!!!!

    November 28, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. A. Goodwin

    Robert – yeah, no way you are a Democrat. Your last sentence speaks volumes....

    November 28, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Darryl

    I'm no fan of Romney and don't like him at all but the Republicans screwed him royality and Fox news just made things worse. Then after the election was over they all ganged up on him and crusified the guy. The GOP is the worst in our history and that Fox news network ? The most discusting bunch of people I've ever seen in 60 years.Mr. Romney should tell them all to kiss his A- – where the sun don't shine. Having lunch with the POTUS is a good thing. It shows respect for one another and thats what this country needs, not devide & concor like the GOP has been trying to do so hard. They are the 1s who lost NOT Mr. Romney. He lost because he and his wife really felt like they DESERVED to be POTUS & First Lady and it was their turn. Becides, The people of this great nation decided that the United States was NOT For Sale !

    November 28, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Can anyone tell me how the democrats were obstructed on the issues while they controlled the house, the senate and the Presidency?"

    Yes. Ted Kennedy was extremely sick and died in August 2009. Al Franken was embroiled in a post-election judicial showdown that prevented him from taking his seat in a timely fashion. Those two things alone killed the "filibuster-proof majority." Scott Brown took his oath of office in Feb 2010, giving the GOP a solid "filibuster-guaranteed minority." All in all, there was an extremely short window of a couple months in which the Dems actually had the numbers to exert total control.

    November 28, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Nietodarwin

    The name "Romney" in a headline again. We still hear McCain's name, but he's a Senator. It won't be long until we hear the name Romney as often as we hear about Milly Vanilly.

    November 28, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Alfred E. Neuman

    Keep running on this platform. Don't change a thing. There is nothing wrong with the message. We had the best candidate with superior ideas.


    November 28, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Expat American

    What were the mishaps at the GOP convention? Was it the countless speakers recycling the same angry one-line zingers over and over again over 3 days and/or the lack of an actual concrete agenda or message?

    Or was it the peanuts?

    November 28, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Tom

    Romney lost. You can't spin it any other way. History may be more kind to Mitt than what Republicans are feeling right now, but the bottom line is there's not going to be much love for a guy who came in second in a two-man race. Just let it go.

    November 28, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. rs

    What would really be a shame is that the GOP does what Stevens says, that is, believe they whiffed out here and just missed the big home run. Numbers don't lie. The GOP is washed up with young people, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and it ain't doing too well with Women or Jews.

    So their choice is: they can do the group hug, spread a few lies about voter fraud or some other nonsense and continue their slide to irrelevancy by sticking with the evangelicals, the anti-Science crowd, the plutocrats, and the anti-women crowd. The down side is they essentially risk turning the U.S. into a one-party system in regards to elections because they will be so marginalized that their votes will hardly count. The whole country loses then.
    they can start to examine which of their policies cost them votes, alter their platform towards the center and away from the super-right fringe they occupy and become viable once again- giving the American voters a real, viable choice.
    The latter is hard- it means leaving the warmth of the nutjob NRA, and the delusional Grover Norquist, and a whole host of other special interest groups; it will mean shouting down their idiotic bretheren like Mourdock and Akin; it will mean ending their wedge issue campaigning, and running instead on solid support of the majority- the American Middle class.

    I want a real choice when I vote. I am not going to hold my breath however....

    November 28, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Worst candidate on the planet as far as I am concerned."

    Which is wierd, isn't it? One would think that a "career candidate" like Mittens would get good at it, but he's atrocious.

    November 28, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. Vince

    Strategist Stuart Stevens wants a job in the future. OF COURSE it wasn't him or his candidates fault.

    November 28, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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