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. John

    How did the Republican expect to win, when they didn't even like Mitt Romney.

    November 28, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. BLKMANinAmerica

    LMBAO.............OMG................really repuks "narrow lost". WHY is it repuks just will NOT move away from the banks of DENIAL? WHY. Clearly Romney was by far the WORST candidate to ever run for the office of President in the entire U.S. history. But oh well the only people who saw this are the ones who clearly count the most. Sad that the repuks really are in denial that Romney and all the millions of $ they poured into his bid just DID NOT help him (Romney) at all.

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

    Wow, CNN, thanks for not cutting off the comments 5 minutes after the story is posted!
    Do this more often. Please.

    That aside, yes, Romney was a terrible candidate, but still the only reasonable choice they had after their atrocious primaries. What could they do? Huntsman dropped out. They had nothing to offer.

    Nobody wanted Romney. He is an entitled, dismissive bore, that no American could possibly relate to.
    When your only idea is to further pamper the rich, during hard economic times + give more business to China, further reducing American work opportunities… forget it. You're sunk.
    And aligning yourself with the pro-rape candidates? Not a very good idea there either.

    November 28, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Is this guy living in an alternate universe??? Commanding performances during the debates???? Really??? During the first debate Willard lied like a rug, he talked over the moderator and the POTUS. You call that commanding?? He looked like a used car salesman with that entitled smirk that was on his face constantly. And don't get me started on the last one where he was President Obama's yes man, agreeing to everything he said, including things he had disagreed with in the previous debates. The man stood for absolutely NOTHING and changed his mind the way normal people change their underwear. As for the election being close, I don't think so. What was the final electoral vote tally?? I believe 332 to 206, that doesn't seem that close to me. Either way a W is a W, and an L is an L!

    Deal with it GOP, I have to each and every time the Pistons LOSE.

    November 28, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    I don't think this guy is on the same planet as the rest of us ,the only people that voted for romney the tax cheat were the braindead gop fox dope channel watchers and grover nitwitquest the crook lobbyist and member of the Moslem brotherhood and the gop fools who signed a pledge to a private lobbyist and both romney and lyin ryans signed it which is now the kiss of death for gop canadates !!!!

    November 28, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. 3MgH

    The truth speaker spoke a lie in his very first sentence. Must be some kind of an oxyMORON.

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

    The Republicans want to take America back to the 50's when their policies were more akin to the demographic at that time ... problem is most Americans don't want to go back there.

    November 28, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Al-NY,NY


    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!!

    "courtesy of Fox News. Fair and Balanced".............geesh

    November 28, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    The truth speaker!

    Obama ran on lies Mitt Romney ran on the truth.
    It's time to climb down from that hamster wheel that the right wing media complex has you addicted to. The truth of teh election is simple. Mitt Romney is a salesman, not a statesman....and the statesman won, BTW.

    November 28, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. SFRich

    So is this top "adviser" one of those that failed to advise his candidate that he would likely lose the election if he continued to change his positions day by day?

    Just wondering...

    November 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. gordyb

    They ran on anyone but Obama and it backfired. Romney was a very poor candidate, his gaffs were huge, his foreign trip a disaster, his 47 percent video a eye opener, the GOP platform was from the stone age, he flopped on everything except showing his taxes, his 2011 deduction was a scam, he projected an image of I deserve it. Obama was smarter. Romneys surrogates were a disaster with their racist comments.

    November 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. fbowman

    Why are you all still so angry? You won. You own it now please get busy. Thank you.

    November 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Dan

    This turkey is exactly why the GOP will become totally irrelevant in two election cycles. Their warped view of the world is becoming so evident that they can't hide or lie about it anymore.

    November 28, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. freedom

    "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." Totally agree!! A man of honor, intelligence, and integrity. No one can tarnish that.

    November 28, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "I would love to know just what exact freedoms romney was offering. "

    Freedom from minority voters influencing election results.

    Freedom from having to compete with poor and minorities, who would be imprisoned in a static economic caste system.

    Freedom from having to make any sense.

    Etc. The list is pretty long actually, and kinda fun to make.

    November 28, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. steve harnack

    @rs, the problem seems to be that the GOP base believes that if they move to the center then they won't be the GOP anymore, and maybe they're right. If you have to be a whackdoodle to be GOP and the supply of whackdoodles is shrinking, then they will soon be history. The way that they are acting now is just a result of who they are.

    November 28, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Boo

    Man, Bill Maher nailed it when he said the Republicans live in a's another example....

    November 28, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Peter

    The Truth Speaker Wrote: "Obama ran on lies Mitt Romney ran on the truth."

    Really? Just as simple as that, eh?

    What are you? A nine-year old child?

    Embarrassing post, but probably representative of many well meaning, but simplistic souls.

    These are politicians. Wake up.

    I have never known a politician to not lie.

    November 28, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Jim Hahn

    Wow, I sure would like a pair of the rose colored glasses that Stuart has. Amazing how they turn gaffes into triumphs, woodenness into connectivity and benefits for the wealthy into lower taxes for the middle class. Love his definition of "narrow". Obama's victory was narrow just like the Grand Canyon is narrow.

    November 28, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Cogito

    "Republican ideals – Mitt Romney – carried the day."
    Not the brightest bulb in the box, are you Mr. Stevens?
    If that were the case, we'd be set to inaugurate Romney on Jan. 13, 2013, not Obama.

    November 28, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. julie

    @robert if you are a DEM...........I'm ann romney...................rob with DEMs like you who need republicans.......take a hike

    November 28, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Over the hill

    This advisor sounds pretty petty, and childlike in nature. One of the problems with the campaign was responses like this. They always used schoolyard language and fighting to try bullying others. Next candidate would be well advised not to use someone like this in their campaign.

    November 28, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. ritmocojo

    True, Flipper was good enough for the GOP nomination. But look at the field he was competing against in the primaries. Flipper was in a way 'imposed' on the GOPers. No one liked him but he was their man.

    November 28, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Laverne

    All the republicans including Mitt Romney's hateful rhectoric and deeds backfired on them!! All the millions they spent trying to destroy and demonize President Obama left them nothing but DISAPPOINTED!

    November 28, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lord. I'm soooo tired of beating this horse.
    Put me down for whatever Sniffit, and my girl Lynda/Minnesota are having, and give me a side of rs, Expat, and for a change of pace O'Drama ya Mama.

    November 28, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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