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. tam

    Too late. We saw him as he really is. And decided.

    November 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. drod

    The American people finally got fed up with the Republican bull and decided they had enough. I truly hope the Republican Party doesn't change a thing. It's proven to be a loosing strategy and bad for the country. Democrats will win more seats in the House and really get the country moving forward again.

    November 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. maine liberal

    Republicans explaining how Mitt actually won.

    2 guys write a big check (former Massachusetts governor's fundraising supremacy )

    November 29, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Seth Hill

    "Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day." Huh? Did I miss something in the election.?

    November 29, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. name

    '...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....'

    a fine example of the republican bubble Bill maher so eloquently spoke of...these repubs still think they lost the election due to better organization, et al...BS... you LOST because your platform was anti-minority, anti-woman, anti elder, etc. the country REJECTED your idea's, not your method of organizing...get over it!!! the country chose President Obama, not romoney...

    November 29, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. ritmocojo

    The irony of 47% of the electorate voted for Willie Chameleon must've been the 47% he was talking about in that luncheon video.

    November 29, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Bob M.

    Thinking along those lines will only make it that much easier for Hillary R Clinton to be yet another Democrate in the oval office in 2016,these guys learned nothing ,and they say you should "learn from your mistakes" !!!

    November 29, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Dave

    You can't put all the blame on Romney. The archaic building blocks of the GOP – Tea Party, Family Values, anit-gay, anti-abortion, fundamentalist Christians, etc. – were the main cause of the loss. When I listened to a CNN round table of GOP's after the election and the Family Values guy actually said that Romney would have won IF he had adopted the Family Values platform! Wow. That guy didn't realize that his platform has been left at the station. The American voting public is leaving organized religion at an alarming rate and they do NOT want religion thrown at them during an election.

    November 29, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Souljacker

    Is this guy completely delusional? Mitt Romney didn't win; heck, it wasn't even CLOSE! Can we please stop wasting so much space on running articles like this?

    November 29, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. On StreetWise

    More clear efindence that the GOP/Tea has learn NOTHING! And 2014 is approacing fast...

    November 29, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Daniel

    Geez...this guy is aware that Romney LOST, right? And no. It wasn't close.

    November 29, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "And Repubican ideals – Mitt Romeny- carried the day". What rock were you hiding under a few weeks ago???

    November 29, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Barack's Brilliance

    Narrow win???
    See? That is why Republicans are becoming irrelevant – they lie, and they try to minimize Democrat accomplishments, especially those of President Obama: 332 (Obama) to 206 (Romney) and winning the popular vote by approximately 35 million is narrow???

    November 29, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. ksuohioteach

    The RNC missed in its message to America. TOTAL FAILURE! Worse yet, the RNC's message continues to be WRONG! Get with it and study the flawed philosophy of the GOP! It is time to separate the Christian Taliban from the GOP. Ok to pray and thank God, but time to separate Church and State. We can all be good and caring citizens whether Christian, Jew, Baptist, Mormon, or even Muslim or Hindu!!! Time to forget the KKK racial hatred and accept Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and all races as REAL AMERICANS!!! Time to reach out to poor, low income, widows or orphans, middle class or even Romney CEO's and the wealthy! You see, WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER! What happened to the Christian belief that we should "Treat others as you would be treated"? The GOPs need to broaden their view of America and get rid of the tunnel vision they have developed. Time to dump GOP leaders like Boehner, Romney, Ryan, and even Grover because they are truly blinded and have lost sight of what it is like to be American!

    November 29, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. DanDenver

    Hopefully this guy has just walked away from any future in politics. His statements reflect an ideology and partisan based view of his opponents that is far from reality. The republicans have a lot of accomplished, intelligent, and capable people in their party. Romney is one of them, and this guy might even be one of them. They have let their distorted view of reality and people in general over come their abilities. To see people who have the capacity to do great things throw it away because they have lost touch with the world around them is shocking.

    November 29, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. RickFromTexas

    Shortage of loyalty and an abundance of self loathing sounds like the perfect definition of the GOP.

    He left out a few things, though: delusional and deep denial come to mind.

    I, for one, will truly enjoy seeing the GOP become less relevant with every passing year.

    November 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. De Odorizer

    "if we Republicans took a narrow presidential loss as a signal that those are traits we should emulate".. democrats...

    Hahahaha, Obama thumped romney / ryan, Obama thumped McCain / palin by a combined 338 electoral votes and about 14 mill more popular votes. Two GOP tickets with candidates who just don't get it. Here is democratic *LOYALTY* : Obama / Biden won both elections, together, with the consent of the voters.
    They did not change campaign strategies like we saw with McCain and romney. No switch from 'maverick' moose hunting lipstick moms to corporations are people too and gop rape fantasies.
    The Obama Biden ticket stayed true to their mission: to make lives better for all Americans, yes, even if the filthy rich have to pay a little more and I hope that corporations will have to pay their fair share of taxes as well (ok, i am being an idealist here).

    Don't talk about democratic lack of loyalty when romney had a new campaign slogan every week, because the old ones didn't work. Did NOT work to the end. Look at the score board, guys. That tells you the story.

    November 29, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Debbie

    I tried to like Mitt Romney. I really did. He just wasn't worth voting for. Get over it.

    November 29, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. the_dude

    Romney offered jobs Obama offered more welfare...guess who won

    November 29, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Anne

    Obama campaign was not honorable in 2012 as it wasn't in the 2008 primaries. The sad news is that 50% of Americans like dirty campaigns and the Chicago style. It says more about the voters than about the candidate. Did you really forget what they did to Hillary and Bill Clinton in 2008? And Bill was a gentleman and handed the presidency in 2012 to Mr. Obama.

    November 29, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    Why is it when President Bush won in 2004 with less electoral votes thatn Obama has now it was a mandate, in fact he declared he had capital and was going to use it. Obama win 53% of the vote and the popular vote as well but it's only a "narrow victory"? Had the tables been turned the GOP and far right would be calling this election a LANDSLIDE just like Dick Morris and others claimed it was suppose to be.

    November 29, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Alina77

    Yea, Romney won the nomination, so now they call him the " King of the guinea pigs?". Just look at the crowd that he was competing with, all that you had to do is to look (a little) normal...

    November 29, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. 9hydra

    Whatever, Stuart Stevens. Quit trying to pass the buck for your abysmal campaign failure. No one liked your candidate. No liked the GOP's platform. And no one respected your disorganized campaign. The GOP will need to clean house and find a way to appeal to normal, moderate Americans if they ever hope to win the presidency or have a majority in the Senate. The GOP once had a "big tent" approach, but that's been long gone. When you're looking at far-right conservatives like Senators Bennett, Lugar, Graham, and now Chambliss being primaried because they dare to be bipartisan once in a while, you know you have a party that will continue to lose. The Tea Party, the far right blogs and the media-entertainment complex (FOXNews, Limbaugh, Beck) are driving you over the cliff and raking in millions in the process. If the GOP doesn't take back the reins and moderate their positions they'll never win the presidency again.

    November 29, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. 9hydra

    Romney campaign still trying to etch-a-sketch away reality. Sorry buddy, we pay attention more than you think we do. And we aren't as gullible as you wish we were.

    November 29, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. So.......

    Mr. Stevens said that losing is just losing and while that is correct, there are lessons to be learned from a loss. Real adults try to identify the cause/s of the loss......

    November 29, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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