Top Romney Strategist: Incumbents Have Insurmountable Edge

Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:48 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The days of a single-term presidency could be over as incumbents have too big of an advantage for a challenger to overcome, said Stuart Stevens, the former senior strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

The present electoral system gives the sitting president such an advantage over a challenger, it makes it almost impossible to catch up, Stuart told reporters at a breakfast hosted by National Review.

"Obama raised $1.2 billion. So you think about it. The next incumbent president will raise, what, $2 billion?"

Stevens said the next incumbent candidate will face a challenger who is likely to be "broke" after the primary process.

"We've abolished the four-year term," Stevens said, according to the Huffington Post.

Four out of the last five presidents have gone on to win a second term in office, with George H.W. Bush being the only incumbent to lose a re-election bid since 1980.

Stevens said Romney lost last year's race for the White House mainly because the campaign could not prevail over President Barack Obama's financial and organizational advantages.

"We didn't have Air Force One. We didn't have the White House. They had 800 people in Florida," Stuart said.

Stevens also said the Romney campaign was outflanked by the president's voter outreach and grass-roots mobilization efforts that took years in the making. "These are just monumental advantages that they have," he said.

In response to a question about why the Romney campaign seemed unable to define its candidate, Stevens said he felt "kind of like [William Barret] Travis at the Alamo being asked, 'How did you let yourself get surrounded?' It wasn't our choice. There were a lot of soldiers out there."

In spite of Obama's advantages, Stuart said, the race was winnable.

"Look, if 220-some-odd [thousand] people changed their votes, we would have won the Electoral College; so anything that's that close, it's a close-run thing. We made mistakes, they made mistakes."

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