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. santiamen

    It is clear that social issues dominated over fiscal ones to decide the last presidential election; a major failure of Romney and the republicans was not to convince people that they were not up to outlawing abortion and condoms (Mr. Santorum and others did not help one bit). The country will very likely continue on economic and social declines and the rich are not to be blamed for that. It is a misguided government inspired by a mediocre, at best, president. The dems succeeded in fulfilling that "it's better a known devil that an unknown angel". To the young dems: how many zeros do you think are there in front of 16 in "16 trillion", the national debt?

    November 28, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. SafeJourney

    You lost repubs. get over it a move on

    November 28, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. joejeffrey

    What a surprise - a self-serving piece praising fanatic adherence to "principles" at all costs. Principles that Romney not once ever stated how he'd act on - what he'd cut, what loopholes he'd close, how he'd find the money to replace the $7 TRILLION in addtional Defense Dept. expense + tax cut. The only really interesting thing was the jerk's comment on "loyalty" in the Democratic Party. Every totalitarian call mindless obedience to the top guy "loyalty." Take a look at North Korea.

    November 28, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Sueb

    No wonder losing came out of the blue in the Romney campaign-they're still in denial!

    November 28, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. The Situation

    Please explain why this man is still in the news. Mitts lost, NEXT!

    November 28, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. Beverly - NYC

    Romney advisors are still on the denial stage of grief. In their alternate universe Romney won and their dirty tricks and voter suppression worked. Republicans worked hard to alienate the electorate and wonder why they lost.

    November 28, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. jack

    "narrow presidential loss"? Obama won by over four million votes! This election was a big repudiation of the Republican "friends and protectors of the rich" mantra.

    November 28, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    MittWitt lost because he ran a bad campaign. Lying, changing facts, and just in general shooting his mouth off about things that most people would know better then to say. I love all these people who keep saying he had some good solid ideas. The ideas he did go public with either mirrored Obamas or were totally lost in the land of Oz., Won't release taxes, trying to hide his money in foreign accounts, the 47% nonsense........and GOTP still cannot figure out why he lost.
    Bottom line, you lost. Go away. Tired of hearing the endless crying, and wailing of the Baggers. And if you thought this was bad.........wait till 2014.

    November 28, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. tom

    " Stevens ticked off a series of Romney's accomplishments – from the former Massachusetts governor's fundraising supremacy. . . " Really you want to bra about collect huge amounts of cash and then loosing?

    November 28, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. mike0404

    The last time I heard someone speak like this it was Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ. It’s time to click your ruby slippers three times and come back to Kansas Mr. Stevens, because you are not in OZ anymore.

    November 28, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Anne

    A more practical president would have been better for the US now. Four years ago, Hillary would have been a better choice. But what is done, it's done "stupid is as stupid does". However, do not forget that Mr. Obama barely won.. 50.8% of the popular vote which is low for an incumbent president. Likeable or not, Mr. Romney won 47.5%. This is not negligible so have some respect.

    November 28, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. David

    Narrow? 100 pt difference in electoral college and almost 3.5 percentage points in general election numbers is narrow? Wow. OK...whatever it takes to feel good I guess.

    November 28, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. CBR

    The problem does exist int he Republican Party. Perhaps the Republicans slept through the scathing statements made against Sarah Palin. John McCain did not escape criticism either. This just seems to be the way we are going in this country. We have to blame someone when events do not turn out as we might have wished.

    We cannot say that someone did their best and then try to understand what it was that kept people from voting for that person. We would be less than truthful if we did not blame ourselves for the way this election was handled. People were rude, mean-spirited and continued to raise the bar for crass remarks. The race card came back to haunt us and we were not afraid to use evil words in conjunction with a candidate's name. We need to do better.

    November 28, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. kica

    LOL at "narrow presidential loss" yeah they really are in denial.

    November 28, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Intruth24

    I don't care what this guy says. We all know that Romney was secretly working for the Obama Campaign!

    November 28, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. gahh

    The Republicans spent a total of 6 hundred million dollars, trying to buy this election. Karl Rove raised and spent 4 hundred million of other peoples money, with promises of Romney winning.
    The problem is, the election couldn't be bought. The big shot Republicans that listened to Rove and his lies, should demand their money back. Hahaha!

    November 28, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Not a Chump

    Where does one start? Stevens has a valid point, but perhaps not one he intended. The problem and the loss was Republican, not Romney. Those blaming Romney are continuing a long tradition of self-delusion. Had a right-of-center, small-government, balanced-budget, freedom-loving Republican Party ever existed, we might have a Republican president.

    Romney got the nomination by default by running against a freak show of primary opponents, but, even so, had he run with a credible party, he might have won and he might have been a fairly good president. Ah, but had there been a credible Republican Party, he might have had some stiff primary competition.

    November 28, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Adam McLane

    I'm taken aback by the comments made by this strategist. They didn't lose by a little, it was an early round knockout.

    If it were for Adelson & Murdoch's unlimited funds the loss would have been a whole lot worse. Frankly, if Obama hadn't stumbled in the first debate it would have been over before football really got rolling this fall.

    Romney was a very, very weak candidate. He never had a serious chance at winning. It was only the networks, in an effort to capitalize on a $6 billion ad buy, that ever made it look as though Romney could beat Obama.

    November 28, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. ss

    I find it funny that democrats keep saying how bad Romney was but I never hear them saying how good Obama is. If he were that good, he would have retained most of the votes he received the first time. Should we go over the facts again about where this economy is or do you want to tell me how bitter I am or self loathing or whatever your load of crap is? Keep trashing Romney because you have NOTHING to show for in Obama. The next 4 years will speak for themselves as did the last 4.

    November 28, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. rs

    It occurs to me that the way to recover from a failure is to do something constructive. Lord knows, there is plenty to be accomplished in Congress, and what better way to get over the vitriol of the campaign that to work FOR something. Pass a viable jobs bill; take the country back from the fiscal cliff; work on immigration; whatever- but do it together, do it for the country, NOT for PARTY,NOT for political gain.

    November 28, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. the_dude

    Its funny to hear a demorat talk about "losing with grace"......

    Don't talk about things you have no experience with it makes you look stupid.

    November 28, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. HypocritesinPower

    Citizens like SHANNON are why I don't favor either party but have problems with Dem (and Repub) supporters. In one breath Shannon brags about how caring Dems are and particularly "and Dems care about their fellow man". Then she goes off on how Republicans are the devil ("Republicans are people completely without integrity or ethics"). You sure care about people, don't you Shannon? Hypocritical comment that illustrates perfectly the Democratic Party's real feelings. Disgusting!

    November 28, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Chaerlotte

    What a bitter, snarky, sore loser. The diversity within the Democratic Party is something to be celebrated, not sneered at as he chooses to do. In case he hasn't figured it out, that's why we won. If he wants the GOP to remain a monolith of old white christian men, it's the best way to assure that real people (i.e. Democrats) will continue to win year after year. And if he thinks this was a "narrow" win, he's been smoking too much weed.

    November 28, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. luwei King

    Regardless of Mitt Romny or not, I always favor less tax and smaller government. I do not believe one party system, no matter it is democrate or republican. Even one of the one party country is No 2 economy in the word. In that country, there is no 1% vs 99%, there is no union vs union, no minority vs white establishment , but only one party against all ! Any one of you envy that- A one democratic country or one republic country as the one communist country?? I still prefer two parties country! Even I do not agree with them both a lot of times.

    November 28, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. the_dude

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

    November 28, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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