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. MnTaxpayer

    Loyalty and self loathing like the repulicans have shown for Presidnet G.W. Bush. You lost, so rather than figure out why, criticisize the left and the liberals. You haven't learned a thing.

    November 28, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. calamity jane

    @Gurgyl – "Romney lost because he did not offer enough gifts to the people standing around with their hands out, the ones that think the world owes them everything."

    Gurgyl, except for those unspoken (wink, wink) gifts and benefits that were going to be given to the wealthiest casino owners and that ilk when Mitt envisioned he would be in power to give them. They are truly the ones who have their grubby hands out. They never have enough.

    November 28, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. n, tx

    A loser is always a loser, sour apples will always be sour, Romney lost

    November 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Kathleen Farrell

    Self-loathing? The campaign continues to twist and turn. And I'm not sure I'd call this a close race... Nobody really like Romney from the beginning, but voted against the President because of the Republicans' consistent race-baiting. Very sad the GOP has descended to what it is.

    November 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. DumbasRocks [R]s

    I love it when the senseless, feral [R]s eat their own. And then the poor survivors of the political canibalism are so confused that pounding them into intellectual submission with doses of reality is like shooting wingless ducks. Megatards, Teatards, all of them.

    November 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. ST

    They got what they asked and looking for. What were they thinking inviting the loser McCain campaign together and expect to win?

    November 28, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. CryBabies

    @Al-NY,NY....Much more Fair and balanced than CBS,ABC,CNN and MSLSD combined. If you dispute that, go hang on Chris" the media idiot" Matthews every boneheaded verbage like " thank God for hurricane Sandy" or the left claiming Susan Rice is under attack because she is black and a woman........what a bunch of BS.

    November 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Nathan

    Romney lost to an African American President with a 8% unempolyment rate. Romney had millions more to campaign with than Obama and he says that this was a narrow victory for Obama. The problem with the Republicans is that they live in a world only they understand. The gerrynamdered house is kills Obama namdate despite the Democrats receiving more votes in total than the Republicans, The senate does not mean anything although the Democrats actually gained seats whentheywer projected to possibly take over the senate. The Republicans better wake or they will become a permanent minority party.

    November 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Gerg

    Geez, what the GOP overlooks here is the fatigue and frustration voters have of the anti-abortion lobby, the threats of closing of planned parenthood, "legitimate rape", 47%, the vacuous campaign piloted by Rove (thinking you can win with a flashy, but unsubstantive campaign); the obstructionist filibustering over the last 3 1/2 years. STOP WHINING and show some leadership!

    Stop telling us what to do with our personal decisions on choice and contraception; stop with your attacks on Planned Parenthood, PBS, Big Bird - who the "hell are you" to pretend you know it all.

    Drop the disctractions and get back to what you do well - pragmatic and practical approach to jobs, economy, defense... Do that, and people will follow – that will get you the political clout you need. Hang onto the religio-ultraconservative position and that's all the GOP will ahve to show for their efforts.

    Separation of Church and State - literally. Let it go, and as a life-long registered Republican I'll be back in your court. Until then, straight Democractic ticket for me, each and every time.

    November 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When I win this $500+million dollar lottery, I'll probably be as "out of touch" as Mitt Romney. See ya.

    November 28, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    P.S. But if I don't win the lottery I'll probably change my "post name" just like many of Romney supporters have.

    November 28, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Ex-GOP Con

    When the GOP TEA Party RINOs nominate the father of government healthcare to run against government healthcare.....well they lost before they even began. The party knew what they were getting with's a little ridiculous that they are blaming him.

    November 28, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Jon MacArthur

    Romney was a terrible choice for Republicans, facing an uphill battle against his own traits: 'a weed in the wind' political identity, a well-groomed snake oil salesman personality, a history of little substance, and a campaign without specifics. As an individual he is quite smart, but he built Bain Capital on drug money, made money as a big box retailer (not high tech vc), and the Olympics received a billion from the government. Further the Romney's idea that spending two years in France proselytizing the descendants of the French Revolution to adopt an oligarchical theocracy based on 'golden tablets from upstate New York' is anything but idiocy, quietly turns off a lot of congregational Republicans and Independents. Individually Mormons and Utahans are wonderful people – and we have a great tradition that let's anyone believe in anything – but for many Americans driving past massive temples with the statute of a New York 'angel' on the spire gives pause.

    Rick Perry or Newt would likely have won.

    November 28, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Peace

    Whenever they think the mega dollars they have wasted like throwing sand to the ocean, they come up either attacking each other or go for someone like Susan Rice or belittle Dems. You lost, Just swallow that bitter pill.

    November 28, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    These Repugs are just not getting it are they... Romney got the GOP nomination because he's the only one who played dirty enough to win. He was not liked, even by his opponents who are tailored from the same cloth. That dirty politics approach continued into the general election phase where he alienated our allies, the 47% and just about any group you care to name. He received the number of votes he did due to the Republican sheeple's hatred of Obama more than their support of him. Heard that comment from many Republican friends.
    The empty chair in Eastwood's now famous RNC speech was really Mittens in disguise. Willard flip-flopped on EVERY issue – as we ALL saw during the debates. I have voted Republican many times, but not this time. I did not trust the man, nor his so-called business expertise (saved the olympics – as anyone with a $1.2 BILLION handout from Uncle Sam could have done), nor his view of job creation (sending them to China) nor his choice of one the 47% (Ryan) who has been suckling at the public trough his entire life. Bad candidates, bad choices. America saw thru it.
    Why is it that the GOP and Willard's top advisor are still deluding themselves.

    November 28, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @DumbasRocks [Rs]
    Gurgyl is actually on your side. I think you missed the note of sarcasm in her post.
    @ freedom
    You 'ave every right to say those crazy tings 'bout Mittens mon, and we be tellin' you there be a reason weed be illegal in most states!

    November 28, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Ed Fikani

    As a Republican I feel a lot better now. I really thought it was bad up until Steven's set me straight. I wasn't our candidates, our gene pool, the campaign, or the voters choice that created this loss (oppps I mean win) I now realize that had this election been held on any day but the day it was held on, it would have been an overwhelmingly Republican sweep. We would have won the House, the Senate, and the White House. We really don't need to do anything different do we? Well maybe offer up more true Tea Party oriented conservatives but other than that, we have it in the bag for 2014 and 2016. Thanks Stuart for setting the record straight.

    November 28, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. LynneSki

    I like how it acts like this is something new! Can we say John McCain??? The GOP tried to rip him a new one for the Palin pick for VP. what is the old saying democrats fall in love and republicans fall in line....until the lose then all bets are off!!!!

    November 28, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Haters

    Whether Democrats and Romney haters like it or not, Obama did buy votes by flip flopping on imigration, student loan policies and grants, foreign policy and economic issues right before the election. You can ignore the facts and then attack Mitt for telling the truth about what happened in his post-election interview but its still doesn't change the truth. America is in severe economic turmoil which is getting worse because of it! America isn't fooled that Barrack Hussein Obama was re-elected after all the votes were purchased with Obamas welfare, hand-outs and bail-outs to millions of voters and paid for by the American tax payers.

    November 28, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. The 9 step program

    1. Separate church & state.
    2. Re-frame immigration and border security in terms of sovereignty and security. (If the border is open, illegal aliens, drugs, and thermonuclear devices can be brought in.)
    3. Forget about abortion as part of the platform. (Make the abortion case through moral suasion not legislative fiat.)
    4. Be on the side of the American citizen against outsourcing and H1B abuse.
    5. Make sure your numbers add up.
    6. Transform social welfare into hand-up not hand-out programs.
    7. Make sure that health care issues are actually handled. The free market / minimal government solution must handle pre-existing conditions, job/insurance loss scenarios, and be feasible for Americans of all income levels.
    8. Focus on efficient / effective government rather than weak, bankrupt, ineffectual government.
    9. Forget about Iran. Just paint Iran on the side of a Trident Missile and let them know that if anything nuclear detonates in the western world, they are toast.

    November 28, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Expat American

    The electoral and demographic landscape is evolving in the US.
    In contrast to Wilson's assertion, urging Conservatives and their views on rape, immigration and race relations among countless others to move forward will not move the Republican Party forward in attracting new voters.
    However, by all means, please move forward straight to 1951….once the calendar reads 2014 and 2016.

    November 28, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Let's Move Forward

    Sore losers we tried to tell you what type of person Romney is. You are so filled with hate and denial. The election is over and Romney never stood a chance because he has too much baggage such as: tax fraud, lying, calling his supporters losers yes the 47% comment. We all know more white people take government help than any other group,
    outsourcing jobs to China, racism, hates women, offshore bank accounts and I could go on and on. Be angry at yourselves for selling your soul because of your hate. Some of you even changed your post names but you are just not that intelligent.

    November 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Shannon

    What a disgusting man, he has to take his jabs at the Dems even in trying to defend Romney against the loons on the right. Dems are loyal, Dems care about the country, and Dems care about their fellow man. All Republicans care about is putting another dime in their own pockets. Republicans are people completely without integrity or ethics, if you had any, you wouldn't have picked Romney as your candidate.

    November 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. CitizenJP

    The idea that rich is entitled to the wealth generated by the system is ludicrous and any party that espouses such an idea deserves to lose for the good of the world now and for ever to come.

    November 28, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Peter

    "Obama was the blame candidate".

    What? Didn't you see the Republican Convention? Republican speaker after speaker blamed Obama for virtually every problem that the USA has had for the past 50 years!

    November 28, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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