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Tagg Romney: Dad Didn't Want to Run

By Newsmax Wires   |   Sunday, 23 Dec 2012 08:01 PM

In what is fast becoming a textbook lesson in how not to run a campaign, the effort to make former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney president is being studied in-depth by Republicans looking toward the next presidential election in 2016.

That’s one of the revelations in a lengthy article in the Boston Globe Sunday that details the myriad ways in which Romney’s team failed to promote their candidate effectively, and were overrun by President Obama’s highly skilled ground game in many states.

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The article reveals a number of stumbles and acts of hubris that plagued Romney’s campaign early on:
  • Strategists failed to define the Republican businessman early, leaving it to Democrats to tell an unflattering and very misleading story months in advance of the Republican National Convention. Obama strategists like David Axelrod felt they we being given a gift and took an enormous risk with huge anti-Romney ad spending in June, well before many Americans pay attention to elections.
  • Romney’s eldest son, Tagg, drew up a list of 12 people whose lives had been helped by his father in ways that were publicly unknown but had been deeply personal and significant. But Romney’s strategists felt that discussing his personal side would backfire, and draw unwanted attention to Romney’s Mormonism, one of the main influences of his life.
  • Democrats actually drew from a Republican playbook in designing their campaign. Obama’s ground game was based on the 2004 campaign of George W. Bush, “which used an array of databases to “microtarget” voters and a sophis¬ticated field organization to turn them out. Obama won in part by updating the GOP’s innovation,” the article concludes.
  • Infighting crippled Romney’s strategy. One of his key longtime advisers, Michael Murphy, declined to join the campaign because of his clashes with Stuart Stevens, a bombastic one-time Hollywood screenwriter “who told remarkable stories about himself, such as when he wrote in Outside magazine about taking 'some of the banned performance-enhancing drugs that are often abused in the endurance sports I participate in, like cycling and cross-country skiing.'”
  • Romney actually was quite reluctant to mount another campaign after losing to John McCain in the 2008 GOP primary. “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency, told the Globe. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”
Tagg Romney admitted to the Globe that he could not figure out the Obama strategy until it was too late. Why had Obama spent so heavily during the primaries when he had no primary opponent?

“We were looking at all the money they were spending in the primary and we were thinking ‘what are they spending all their money on? They’re wasting a lot of money.’ They weren’t. They were paying staffers in Florida” and elsewhere.

For his part, the former candidate, ever the data-driven analyst, plans to contemplate how his campaign failed, and what the party should do next, according to his son Tagg.

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Mitt Romney will make the case to the party for many changes to make it more appealing to women, minorities, and young fiscal conservatives, according to Tagg.

“Having been through it, you know so much more than when you haven’t,” Tagg said.

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