The Corner

Romney Adviser: It Was the Messaging

Boston — A Romney adviser partly blames last night’s defeat on a weak message. “Turnout was the big problem, since we didn’t get all of McCain’s voters to the polls, but we really should have been talking more about Benghazi and Obamacare,” an adviser says, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Those are major issues and Romney rarely mentioned them in the final days.”

The adviser expects Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist, to bear the brunt of the blame, but not all of it. “There is a Boston clique that will stick together,” the adviser says. “But blaming Stuart and the other newcomers means blaming Romney, so they will be careful. They know Romney always gave Stuart his complete confidence.”

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, the adviser adds, is persona non grata in Romney’s inner circle. “He went out of his way to embrace the president during the final week of the campaign,” the adviser says. “It wasn’t necessary and it hurt us. Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Chris Christie undermined the Republican message.”

The adviser says Romney will likely return to private life, and look to play a peripheral role in Republican politics. “At this point, I know he’s going to go home and be with his family,” the adviser says. “Beyond that, it’ll probably take some time to figure out.”

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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