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. 0RacKL

    Stuart Stevens, whoever he is, calls it "a narrow presidential loss"? Romney lost by 126 electoral votes. By just about anybody's estimation that qualifies as a landslide. Another classic example of the Republican penchant to deny reality.

    November 28, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. Yeahona

    Inspired voters.. people.. really? Narrow win? I'm thinking fantasy land may be more realistic then Romney's team – no wonder they lost. They had their heads in the cloud.

    November 28, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. AW

    Thank you for this article. I wish more people would stick up for Mitt Romney. He was a good man.

    November 28, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Peter, I agree totally with your comments. The republicans blamed everything on Prez Obama for all of America's problems as if there were no other presidents before him. It seems that they are saying that African Americans are to be blamed for every single America ills. Golleee.

    November 28, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Pat in IL

    The fact that Romney won out over the likes of Cain, Bachman, Perry. Gingrich, etc. certainly doesn't necessarily make him a good candidate for the presidency. I have no idea why he felt so entitled to win. Strange!

    November 28, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. i'malib

    Say, isn't this the guy who said I would actually have to work for a living? What a loser!

    November 28, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. hk

    During the presidential campaign period, all my friends in foreign countries (non American) did not want Romney to win.
    They said they don't trust Romney but they can trust Obama. The people in the U.S.A. spoke louder and Obama won. Grow up Mr. Stevens and accept the reality.

    November 28, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. leftywriteagain

    The repubs are on the path to becoming the modern day wig party. Remember them?

    November 28, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. markn26

    "it was about fundamental Republican ideas" – what's that....fanatical idealism, racism, bigotry, plutocracy?

    November 28, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Wanderer

    I think the way Mr. Stuart Stevens understood the meaning of ‘loyalty’ is being stubborn and ignorant.

    November 28, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. RobK

    Obama is clearly not interested in running the country. He just wants to prance around the country soaking in the syncopates kissing his behind. He is incompetent and the only reason he was voted in is half the country wants someone telegenic for President, even if he doesn't know what he is doing.

    November 28, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. tallone

    Would like to know what Romney is thinking when he is in the White House
    as a "visitor", wheh he really believed he was to be annointed as President?

    November 28, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. usmc1407204

    As conservatibe we had 4 yrs to come up witha candidiate to beat Obama and the best we could do is Romeny? Romeney sought and received one student deferment and three years of ministrial deferements and not a one of his sons ever wore a uniform. A totally worthless family. JUNK.

    November 28, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. Armand Winter

    How does Mitt Romney get away with laundering billions of unreported income in the Caymans through a bank owned by his church?

    November 28, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Dan H

    So much hate between Democrats and Republicans. Somehow, we need to find a way to agree to disagree and compromise, but do so in a responsible manner.

    Like it or not, in terms of job creation, Romney's ideas were better than Obama's. Like it or not, Obama's record on promoting small business (one of the primary keys to recovering from a Recession) is terrible. Big business is doing MUCH BETTER than small business is under Obama, a little known fact that Democrats tend to ignore.

    I disagree with a lot of the Republican positions, but their job creation ideas are something that Democrats, if they are wise and not full of themselves, should take a look at.

    There are real issues facing our country, both short term and long term; playing stupid political games and ignoring the ideas of nearly 50% of the country is a BAD idea.

    November 28, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Jim

    @ss, You say you aren't bitter, but call over 1/2 the country stupid? That sounds pretty bitter to me. And by the way, stupid would have been to vote for a candidate who's economic plan was identical to the one that nearly destroyed this country's economy. Tax cuts for the rich, new war, more defense spending. Yes, because that worked so well.

    As the person who posted just before you said, facts don't lie. Fact. your candidate lied about Chrysler moving production of the Liberty to China, Fact, your candidate claimed that 47% of the country did nothing but take handouts from the federal government. Also a lie, Until the Right realizes that there are more voters in this country who don't support bigotry, exclusion, and hate, you will continue to lose Presidential elections.

    November 28, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. Daniel Roukema

    Republicans are not just mad at themselves, they're mad at America as a whole.

    There was nothing close about this election. Romney got 47% of the vote....oh the irony....schadenfreude as some would call it.

    November 28, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  18. Jean Sartre

    "Narrow Presidental loss..."

    Willard lost the Electoral College 332 – 206!

    Popular Vote by 5 Million! [Willard got 47% of the Popular Vote... delicious!]

    "Narrow Presidental loss..." YEAH, RIGHT!

    November 28, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  19. Squigman

    Amazing. Calling all critics. Please be advised that to be critical of a republican, can and will set off frayed nerves and hard feelings of said republicans. Democrats, are immune from such rhetoric and disdain. If you are a republican, feel free to threaten, lie, accost, and basically do all you can to soil the character of your democratic opponent. This (to all republicans), is considered good sport and essential to gain office. Hey, any way you can make it to power. Right?

    November 28, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  20. norma jean

    The "Best man won "........botttom line !!

    November 28, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  21. GaryB

    In the second paragraph you can see the fundamental problem with the Republican party. They've been living in the Fox/Red State echo chamber so long, they've come to believe their caricature of the Democratic party as being weak and self-loathing and they think that's what everyone else believes. The truth is, that's not how the majority of Americans view Democrats in general and Obama in particular, and that was what was reflected on election night when Republicans lost House Seats, Senate Seats and the presidency. I'm a middle-of-the-road, independent small business owner... the kind of guy Republicans should be attracting, but I was turned off by how out of touch and elitist the GOP has become.

    November 28, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. fernace

    What is upsetting to me is to read these post-election articles about yet another GOT-Partier who is so deeply in denial that he rejects reality! Isn't there a psychiatric term for this condition? It's disturbing to have people who will not reconcile what they want w/what is, in positions to make policies for the nation! Where not talking about opinion or what they wish would've happened, but blatant re-writing of recent history! It's the same mindset as those who want to rewrite childrens history books or teach "intelligent design" as a science! Some of these scary individuals are on the Science & Technology Committee! How can we vote such people into office? Looks like we need to do a better job of informing ourselves about the people we choose to govern us! Education is golden!!

    November 28, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  23. What election were you watching

    "It would be a shame if we Republicans took a narrow presidential loss as a signal that those are traits we should emulate."
    Electoral votes were 332 to 206 You republicans call that a narrow presidential loss? Here in which lay the problem, Reality is a hard pill to swallow . . . Ask Romney and his Super PAC of puppeteers. Romney will soon be best friends with Waldo and Four And The Door! Have you seen em? 🙂

    November 28, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. What election were you watching

    @ SS . . . News Flash, Romney got the racist votes and President Obama got the true American Melting Pot votes! Yeah, the all and inclusive votes that represent real America. Wake up and wipe the crud from your eyes!

    November 28, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Gerbilinheat

    "Republican ideals took the day"?
    47% for RMoney, 52% for Obama.
    So what is the color of the sky in YOUR reality Stevens?

    November 28, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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