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. Brent Walker

    If "Republican ideals carried the day," then why did President Obama win? Well, he won because HIS ideals appealed to more people than Romney's ideals. These weren't even Republican ideals as much as they were Tea Party ideals. These poor people are so deep inside the Fox bubble that they don't even consider that Obama won. All they can see is that Romney lost.

    November 28, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    This crap from Stevens...just like listening to people like Castellanos or Matlin...all just sounds like the person they're really trying to convince is themselves.

    November 28, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Rosslaw

    Yeah, selecting Paul Ryan was pure genuis. He lost his own hometown of Janesville, Wi., lost Wisconsin and the D's even got a new US Senator from Wi. Stuart Stevens should run for president now that he's got it all figured out for the right wingnuts.

    November 28, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Peter

    The elephant in the room that few Romney staffers want to talk about.


    2012 was a bumper crop year for nuts. Todd Aiken ("a woman's body shuts down after a rape"); Richard Mourdock ("It is God's will to have a baby after you have been raped"); Paul Broun ("evolution and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of hell"); Ralph Hall ("I don't think we can control what God controls") Bill Maher said "then why put out a fire?". Not to mention Rick Santorum ("I would like to ban condoms"), Michelle Bachmann (quotes too numerous to mention), and a host of assorted Republican birthers and conspiracy theorists where even the most laughable theory is accepted as fact. Oh, and Donald Trump.

    I really believe that enough of mainstream America got spooked by the fact that this freak show parade would follow Mitt into the White House.

    Hopefully, we can see some more Ike / Goldwater conservatives and less Santorum / Trump / Bachmann whack jobs.

    November 28, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Zoe Barber

    What was narrow about his loss?

    November 28, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Sam

    Hmmm...Stevens considers 126 electoral votes a NARROW victory. Not to mention Obama won by popular votes too. I say Stevens' mind and brain are narrow.

    November 28, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Iadad

    No one liked Romney but voters? Er, uh, what? Romney was, from the start of the Iowa campaign and before, the only GOP candidate who appeared in any way legitimate as a threat to win the White House. And yet even GOP primary voters seemed determined not to vote for him. Romney's own base didn't rally to his campaign against Obama until right after the first debate. And then, in spite of all the ballyhoo from the networks echoing GOP talking points about 'Momentum,' he never got any real support beyond that built in base.

    Romney was selling everything and nothing depending on the situation and with whom he was speaking. He would have been a terrible president because he came in representing the bankrupt GOP.

    November 28, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Jim

    I'm a 63 year old Republican and Mitt Romney was the WORST candidate of either party in my lifetime. He changed every position he ever had, had no spine to stand up to the radicals in our party, and wouldn't support Ryan's budget plans after he picked him. He was a complete loser! Gutless rich guy!

    November 28, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. bob

    clearly, this guys is still in a state of denial. you lost! your candidate was rejected! I will agree with him on one thing: his candidate's ideas weren't rejected....because nobody knew what they were!!

    November 28, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Nat

    "Narrow presidential loss" indeed. It was an butt whipping if I ever saw one.

    November 28, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Ellen P.

    Sore losers. No dignity, no grace, no competence.

    November 28, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Rob

    I'm guessing this Aide's credit card wasn't immediately cancelled after Mittens lost.....

    November 28, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Four more years! Get used to it!

    November 28, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. max


    I am a registered DEM but voted for Mitt Romney....that would really send a message to this president that wants to tax and spend everyone elses money!
    Translation: I hate that a black man is president.

    November 28, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. CommonSense 12

    Stevens, it was not only a better ran campaign but it has alot to do with the the messenger! President Obama is a great messenger and campaigner overall!!! Didn't you guys see the style of campaign he ran in 2008?? Meaning this year would be better and bigger than the one in 2008! Wow, he out smarted the Republicans again but I have come to realize, that's not really too hard to do with the jerks you have in office!

    November 28, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Geoz

    The aid is right that Romney followed the GOP playbook. He played by the rules. The problem is that the GOP standards are not aligning with a majority if Americans. Nigh on 3 million fewer people voted for Romney than McCain four years earlier. The message that the tea party is forcing into the GOP is bad for the GOP and bad for America. The best we can offer is better than extremism. The TP spouts "revolution" and secession from the party of Lincoln. What a travesty that the GOP has lost its center.

    November 28, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Get Real

    GOP didn't want to win that's why they went with Romney instead of Ron Paul

    November 28, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    sniffit observed:

    "...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."
    Don't forget, part of the "short window" included Joe Leiberman who was against Obama during the campaigns, and has voted against Obama and the Democrats on nearly every big issue.

    November 28, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Dannytelevision

    Stevens steered the ship into an iceberg...put him on the next ship with admiral Rove. no lifeboats this time

    November 28, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. kayla

    yeah robert, some dem you are, LOL

    November 28, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. LAguy

    Man it was a good thing Romney won the first debate or else the GOP wouldn't have anything to cling to. He won that debate not because "GOP ideas carried the day", but because a listless Obama did such a horrible job. They seem to forget that Obama convincingly won the other 2 debates and Biden crushed Ryan Not to mention, of course, the electoral landslide on election day.

    November 28, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. chupacabra

    the republicans need to face up to who created the first 10 of the 16 trillion dollor debt.

    November 28, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. The truth speaker!

    Obama ran on lies Mitt Romney ran on the truth. America picked the liar over the person that had a perfect record to be president but America didn't think that was good enough so he didn't win the elections. I wish Mitt Romney had won the elections America really needs a good president and the perfect person to fix America. I wish Mitt Romney had won he would of made a great American president. Please don't say bad stuff about what i said, this is my opinion and this is what i believe.

    God bless the united states of America!

    November 28, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Linda

    Go away Mitt, enough of you already.

    November 28, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I guess John McCain never got the message, the one in 2008 and 2012, because it appears McCain is still "Shadow Boxing".

    November 28, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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