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. Sean

    He sounds like one of those guys that tries to justify his favorite team losing by saying "it was close". A loss is a loss buddy, and it really wasn't even that close.

    November 28, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. johnrf

    I would love to know just what exact freedoms romney was offering. The freedom to go bankrupt due to medical bills and no insurance. The freedom to go bankrupt even if you had health insurance due to lifetime limits or pre-existing conditions. The freedom for millionaires to pay 9 to 14 percent income taxes. The freedom to hide your money in foreign banks to avoid paying taxes.
    Thank goodness American voters rejected the republican message.

    November 28, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    When it was all said and done it was not the pundits, polls, prognosticators, propagandists, or pundits,. It was and will always be the PEOPLE who got out and voted for the person whom they thought was the best to lead this country for the next 4 years and that was Obama. Plain and simple.

    November 28, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans are in trouble because of state legislators

    November 28, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Golden Girl

    Changing your ideals to match the majority is never the right thing to do.

    November 28, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Hillcrester

    One of RomneyBain's signal accomplishments was being so clueless and arrogant that he gave away an election that was the GOP's for the taking. "Nobody liked Romney except the voters" pretty much captures the campaign's problem: It believed Rasmussen and Faux News rather than honest polls and news sources.

    After McCan't/Painful and RomneyBain/Lyin, I guess the GOP in 2016 will run Sanitorium/Trumped-up.

    November 28, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. demsrule

    The Republicans have been severely divided and fighting among themselves since McCain/Palin!

    November 28, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Debbie

    Too late Stuart. The GOP began infighting the day after the election. The GOP as a whole has not learned one thing. Still holding American Middle Class hostage on Bush Tax Cuts. McCain and crew are out there smearing Rice in hope that Obama will then appoint John Kerry so the GOP can pick up a seat in the Senate. The GOP is out of touch and all in for being representatives of SuperPacs and Wealthy. I was a Republican for 35+ years and the GOP today is more like facists than conservatives.

    November 28, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    The campaign was undisciplined and unfocused. As much as has been made about Biden's gaffe-a-minute problem, Romney served up slow-pitch softballs for his opponants on a daily basis, and spent much of his time running away from his signature accomplishment, namely the universal mandate because his own party decided their creation was wrong. His compaign lurched rather than pivoted, and his unwillingness to take on social conservatives scared many of the independents away. It was a campaign of reaction, not ideas, and people never saw the real Romney until he delivered his concession speech.

    November 28, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    Just another typical repub accusing others of doing what they do – never look at themselves. When will they grow up?

    November 28, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. MrBeenThere

    Serious was he talking about this years 2012 election, the one between President Obama and Mitt Romney, a narrow loss and Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA................. So out of touch.......

    November 28, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. G.Kilbee Stuart

    As a Canadian watching this never ending circus (seems every year In the USA Is election year) The Repubs let the freeks run the campain God, pregnancy, birthers,run of the mill Morons etc.etc.Small wonder ya lost. Go to U Tube see the Canada Party. Several sites look at them all ,help Is at hand.

    November 28, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. lilred

    Republicans need to remember they were the ones that nominated him. Now the are critizing him. Not only that they are using the same old tactics regarding the fiscal cliff that lost them the election to begin with. Slow learners or just stubborn?

    November 28, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. NameStevens

    It has been has been done:-))

    November 28, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. John the Historian

    Republicans are in such a state of denial. Republicans love to drap themselves ion the American flag. Willard Romney was a typical Republican. He was a mormon a cult based on pure americana folklore, the rapists Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, stolen freemasonry, and elements of Christianity. Romnney believes American is the best and greatest country. America is no longer in the top ten for standard of living. American is not in the top ten for education. America is a urban country which must see the provincial beliefs of rural America are behind the times. Most evangelical Christians and hard-right-winged Catholics only see their dogma and don't understand the meaning of true Christianity. Religion needs to be kept out of the national dialogue. Europeans have long ago seen that we need separation of church and state. The churches need to stick to charity and stay out of politics. Republicans contain a large base of the Christian Right and they are in decline. More Americans are non-believers and agnostic. Secular humanism must be promoted. As far as the corporate elite base of the Republican party goes, they need to understand their corruption and bonuses will no longer be tolerated. The rich must be prepared to pay their fair share of taxes. Willard dream of your planet kolob or Nauvoo,Illinois or Jackson County, Missouri being the Garden of Eden but your world vision will never happen. Americans need to united behind the president. Maybe the Republicans can divide into two parties, one for the Christian Right and the other for Wall Street.

    November 28, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. wonderabout

    Blah, blah, blah – First, Romney wasn't all that great a fund raiser, he was funded primarily by the Koch Brothers and ALEC's most loyal corporate criminals. His "base" were those that would rather die than vote for Obama – so he truly was the "lesser of evils" in their minds and for their votes. The REAL viable candidate and the ONE candidate that didn't sign the unholy no tax pledge pushed by the corporate front guy and sleezy mouthpiece for the lunatic fringe was John Huntsman .... Romney is clueless, more so than GWB and Ann was just WAY too whinny and self-important and in no way represented women in this country.... HOw about this; that Repubs throw the corporate criminals to the curb and start working FOR the people instead of against them – STOP lying, really, you might not care about fact checking but there are a LOT of us who do fact check and are disgusted with and done with the BS.... THAT is why Romney lost NOT because he didn't lie well enough.... sheesh!

    November 28, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Mitt Robme_DRAFT_DODGING, TAX_EVADING_Merchandise Discounted AT 47%

    Yeah, selecting Paul Ryan was pure genius. He lost his own hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin!!!

    And let me add to that train ot thought!....Mitt Robme also lost in every state he ever called home; Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire...even California where Mitt was spotted recently pumping gas like a wannabe 47percentter!!!

    This idiot is just trying to re-package Mitt's FAILURE as a SUCCESS STORY....the election is over, but they are still shaking that Etch-a-Sketch!! LOL

    November 28, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Miguel Maldonado

    I think that republicans failed to win because they dont understand that american demographics are changing. And the country wants a more tolerant society away from the religious focus. Furthermore the republicans are looked as the party for the rich.

    November 28, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Bonnie

    I'm thankful that your candidate did not win the election.

    November 28, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. JD

    Can definitely see why Romney lost! If you were one of the top advisers he didn't have much! You should have been fired for that stunt you did with Politico. Romney lost because he surrounded himself with rich people like him who only cared about theirselves, period. The 47% had different ideas.

    November 28, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Deb in MT


    "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."

    Awwww,Sniffit: there you go again, living in that reality & fact based world of yours 😉

    The GOP needs to reread Kubler-Ross's book on the stages of grief to begin working their way out of denial. They also need to repeat kindergarten to learn the basics of sharing and to learn that the universe does not revolve around them.

    They also need medication: GOP cognitive dissonance (Republican ideals 'carried the day'?????) must be truly head splitting.

    November 28, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Guest

    It appears you will all get what you voted for, the status quo! Americans are against healthcare but we'll be forced to pay anyway. Democrats still refusing to solve the nations budget/fiscal issues by bringing nothing to the table other than taxing the 2% at a higher rate, of course those not contributing think thats a good idea. It was time for change and you blew it if you voted for Oblabla! More of the same...speeches and division and handouts. If the top 2% do end up paying more it will be wasted along with the rest! No confidence and no trust in this administration. Worst president ever!!

    November 28, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. djdjdjs

    If the birthers can push thru more redistricting, and keep women, blacks and latino's from voting...they may have a slight chance of winning an election someday.

    November 28, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    Stevens' op-ed fell short of providing a remedy or explanation for the GOP's failure to grab the Oval Office

    Of course it did. Their guy was a loser just waiting to happen but the gop didn't care, because he was a white, rich male that they "thought" could make a difference to the American people. It didn't and he didn't and we are better for it.

    November 28, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Bob

    Huh? A narrow win? 332-206. Won the debates? Not unless you count the last two. Republican Ideals? You mean there is more than one besides lowering taxes for billionaires. If Romney and his handlers did everything so right, then why did the election results turn out so wrong. Even working class racists will desert the Republican party when an African American is no longer President leaving behind a couple of mourners for an America that never was.

    November 28, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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