The Corner

Stevens’s Take

Hempstead, N.Y. — Stuart Stevens ventured into the spin room late Tuesday, and for an hour, he mixed it up with reporters. Here’s the Romney strategist’s take.

  • On Obama’s aggression: “Look, I think that President Obama came in and was overcompensating. They had him sequestered. They told him that he had to come out and show passion. But there’s a difference between showing passion and showing that you have a plan. What we saw tonight was sort of an Al Gore imitation.”

  • On the Libya exchange: “I think it hurt the president. What he said was absolutely wrong. We know that they were saying, on that Sunday, that it was the result of a videotape, and he’s trying to say that it was terrorism? It just doesn’t parse.”

  • On Romney’s direct questions: “You have the president of the United States there, and it’s a format where it was possible to do that. It wasn’t in the other formats, and I think the governor wanted to hear his answers.”

  • On Candy Crowley’s attempted fact check: “You should ask Candy about that.”

  • On the polls: “It’s very, very unusual for a challenger to go ahead of an incumbent in a two-way race. Very unusual. It usually doesn’t happen until the end of the race. Now it’s happening, and Governor Romney is going ahead in some of these polls. It’s going to be tight all the way, but what you find is, Governor Romney is acquiring new voters.”

  • On the gender gap: “Joe Biden was a disaster for women voters. . . . Joe Biden reminded every woman of that blustery boss who knows it better, the person you try to stay away from.”

  • On Romney’s Bay State emphasis: “[His gubernatorial record] is part of the stuff that people don’t know that much about. They’re positive proof points that completely dispel what the president has been trying to say.”

  • On the format: “When you have these kind of town halls, of which [Romney] has done over 100, they are always rock ‘em, sock ‘em affairs. You’ve been up to New Hampshire and seen them. You get asked everything from some incredibly educated, detailed question about the budget to ‘How come I have potholes?’ I think that’s good. That’s the fun of doing town halls.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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