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Las Vegas, NV - Top Republicans Say Romney Didn't Offer Specifics

Published on: November 15, 2012 11:47 AM
By: AP
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Las Vegas, NV - Top Republicans meeting for the first time since Election Day say the party lost its bid to unseat President Barack Obama because nominee Mitt Romney did not respond to criticism strongly enough or outline a specific agenda with a broad appeal.

In conversations at the Republican Governors Association confab in Las Vegas, a half dozen party leaders predicted the GOP will lose again if it keeps running the same playbook based on platitudes in place of detailed policies. Instead, they asserted, the party needs to learn the lessons from its loss, respect voters’ savvy and put forward an agenda that appeals beyond the while, male voters who are its base.

“We need to acknowledge the fact that we got beat,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in an interview. “We clearly got beat and we need to recognize that.”

Little more than a week after Romney came up short in his presidential bid, the party elders were looking at his errors and peering ahead to 2016’s race. Some of the contenders eying a White House run of their own were on hand and quietly considering their chances. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scheduled a private meeting on the sidelines with Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor who is widely seen as one of the GOP’s sharpest political operatives.

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“We need to have a brutal, brutally honest assessment of everything we did,” Barbour said. “We need to take everything apart ... and determine what we did that worked and what we did that didn’t work.”

Other potential White House contenders such as Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker were outlining a vision for the party in coming elections.

“We need to figure out what we did right and what we did wrong, how we can improve our tone, our message, our technology, our turnout — all the things that are required to win elections,” McDonnell said. “We are disappointed, but we are not discouraged.”

With polls in hand and shifting demographic trends in mind, these Republicans are looking at how best to position the party to make inroads with growing numbers of Hispanic, black and young voters who overwhelmingly voted Democratic last week. The Republicans were still smarting over constant criticism of Romney from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — and what they saw as Romney’s often ineffective response.

“They spent all their time making Mitt Romney unacceptable and making him out to be someone who was untrustworthy and unacceptable to enough of the American people — and it worked,” Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said in an interview.

In the hallways at the conference, the governors and their top advisers uniformly blamed Romney’s loss on an uneven communications strategy. They said Romney allowed himself to be branded a corporate raider who put the interests of the wealthy above those of middle-income voters.

“We didn’t have effective means by which to counter the attacks the Obama-Biden campaign took against Mitt Romney and his team,” Walker said. “I just don’t think you can let that go unanswered.”

Time and again, the governors pointed to Obama attacks that settled into voters’ minds.

“His whole campaign was a fear-and-smear attack to make Romney unacceptable and to blame George Bush for anything that happened while Obama was president,” Barbour said. “This was all personal: that Romney is a vulture capitalist who doesn’t care about people like you, ships jobs overseas, is a quintessential plutocrat and is married to a known equestrian.”

Barbour added, “An attack unanswered is an attack admitted to.”

Had the criticism been shown to be false or unfair, the results might have been better, said Bill Bennett, an education secretary in the Reagan administration and an informal adviser to governors.

“We were in a big fight. We came with a knife; they came with a gun,” Bennett said. “If Mitt Romney had responded and had we responded on his behalf — and had his campaign pushed back more forcefully — I think it would have been a different result.”

Jindal, however, attributed Romney’s loss to a lack of “a specific vision that connected with the American people.”

“His campaign was largely about his biography and his experience,” Jindal said. “But time and time again, biography and experience is not enough to win an election. You have to have a vision, you have to connect your policies to the aspirations of the American people. I don’t think the campaign did that and as a result, this became a contest between personalities and — you know what? — Chicago won that.”

Romney cast his loss in a different light, at least in a phone call with top donors Wednesday. He asserted that Obama won re-election because of the “gifts” the president had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of the president’s effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant.

“The president’s campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift,” Romney said, citing immigration proposals aimed at Hispanics and free contraception coverage that appealed to young women. “He made a big effort on small things.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed Romney’s assessment, telling reporters traveling with Obama aboard Air Force One that policies allowing more young people to go to college or stay on their parents’ health plans are good for all Americans and the economy as a whole.

“I think that view of the American people or the electorate and the election is at odds with the truth of what happened last week,” Carney said.

Romney said his campaign, in contrast, had been about “big issues for the whole country.” He said he faced problems as a candidate because he was “getting beat up” by the Obama campaign and said the debates allowed him to come back.

The Republican nominee didn’t acknowledge any major missteps and said his team had run a superb campaign.


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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 15, 2012 at 01:10 PM FredE Says:

I think that if you care to call things like health coverage a "gift", that
is to say undeserved, you are never going to win. There is a whole
different vision of the role of government at work here. If you look
at things like the addition of 2.5 million 20-somethings to their
parents polices, or the mandatory coverage of preexisting conditions
or the removal of lifetime caps, or the credit card regulalations in
which banks cant quite do whatever they wish anymore or the
rescue of the entire auto industry to save hundreds of thousands
of people from the dole -- those are all things (most) people *want* the
goverment to do. These things make our lives better. If you dont get that,you go back to Boston.

2

 Nov 15, 2012 at 01:27 PM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #1  
FredE Says:

I think that if you care to call things like health coverage a "gift", that
is to say undeserved, you are never going to win. There is a whole
different vision of the role of government at work here. If you look
at things like the addition of 2.5 million 20-somethings to their
parents polices, or the mandatory coverage of preexisting conditions
or the removal of lifetime caps, or the credit card regulalations in
which banks cant quite do whatever they wish anymore or the
rescue of the entire auto industry to save hundreds of thousands
of people from the dole -- those are all things (most) people *want* the
goverment to do. These things make our lives better. If you dont get that,you go back to Boston.

Amen! :-D

3

 Nov 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM rationalman Says:

i honestly believe the reason Romney didn't hit hard on obamaCare is because deep down romney thinks socialized medicine is a good idea. if he did not - or even if he does believe it -- early on in the campaign he should have gone on record stating that he instituted health care in Mass. and now sees how bad of a mistake it was. it then ends the attack that he himself supported socialized medicine and and attacks the presidents stand. it also shows himself to be a man thAT ADMITS MISTAKES - people - especially woman like that trait. he also should have shot down the bain capital attacks in its infancy ....he knew they were going to bring it up

4

 Nov 15, 2012 at 04:52 PM FredE Says:

Reply to #3  
rationalman Says:

i honestly believe the reason Romney didn't hit hard on obamaCare is because deep down romney thinks socialized medicine is a good idea. if he did not - or even if he does believe it -- early on in the campaign he should have gone on record stating that he instituted health care in Mass. and now sees how bad of a mistake it was. it then ends the attack that he himself supported socialized medicine and and attacks the presidents stand. it also shows himself to be a man thAT ADMITS MISTAKES - people - especially woman like that trait. he also should have shot down the bain capital attacks in its infancy ....he knew they were going to bring it up

Suppose he had done what you suggest. What should Mr Romney have said
when the President asked him "Which part of this do you no longer like? The
adding of the young people? or the removal of lifetime caps? Or the mandatory
coverage of preexisting conditions? or having mandatory preventive care?"...
You see where I'm going here? He could not have won such a debate.

5

 Nov 15, 2012 at 09:01 PM brachavehatzlocha Says:

You know, sometimes I read comments on here that seem to come from otherwise intelligent, rational people. But they sound so childish that it's hard to believe that they're really meant seriously.
For those of you who agree with the first couple of posters, FYI, the government is, in actuality, not a magic fairy that can go around dispensing goodies. All they can do is take YOUR money, MY money, and a whole bunch of other people's money and parcel it out. The problem is, the more stuff you get them to "give" you, the more money they have to collect from everyone to pay for it.
Now, the posters above will say they don't care about that. Everyone SHOULD pay more so everyone gets more stuff. The point of contention is where to draw that line.
Should I have to give up 10% of my money for the public good? Maybe 20 or 30%?

A lot of people feel that individuals should be allowed to keep more of their money, and purchase these goodies for themselves, without the government stepping in and managing their lives. What exactly is wrong with that?

In purely torahdik terms, the highest form of charity is to make someone self sufficient, not make him forever dependent on handouts.

6

 Nov 15, 2012 at 09:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
FredE Says:

I think that if you care to call things like health coverage a "gift", that
is to say undeserved, you are never going to win. There is a whole
different vision of the role of government at work here. If you look
at things like the addition of 2.5 million 20-somethings to their
parents polices, or the mandatory coverage of preexisting conditions
or the removal of lifetime caps, or the credit card regulalations in
which banks cant quite do whatever they wish anymore or the
rescue of the entire auto industry to save hundreds of thousands
of people from the dole -- those are all things (most) people *want* the
goverment to do. These things make our lives better. If you dont get that,you go back to Boston.

Whats wrong with Boston? I would tell them to go back to 3rd grade.

7

 Nov 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM ChachoMoe Says:

Reply to #5  
brachavehatzlocha Says:

You know, sometimes I read comments on here that seem to come from otherwise intelligent, rational people. But they sound so childish that it's hard to believe that they're really meant seriously.
For those of you who agree with the first couple of posters, FYI, the government is, in actuality, not a magic fairy that can go around dispensing goodies. All they can do is take YOUR money, MY money, and a whole bunch of other people's money and parcel it out. The problem is, the more stuff you get them to "give" you, the more money they have to collect from everyone to pay for it.
Now, the posters above will say they don't care about that. Everyone SHOULD pay more so everyone gets more stuff. The point of contention is where to draw that line.
Should I have to give up 10% of my money for the public good? Maybe 20 or 30%?

A lot of people feel that individuals should be allowed to keep more of their money, and purchase these goodies for themselves, without the government stepping in and managing their lives. What exactly is wrong with that?

In purely torahdik terms, the highest form of charity is to make someone self sufficient, not make him forever dependent on handouts.

Well didn't Karl Marx say:
 “Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.”

8

 Nov 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM RachelJD Says:

Reply to #5  
brachavehatzlocha Says:

You know, sometimes I read comments on here that seem to come from otherwise intelligent, rational people. But they sound so childish that it's hard to believe that they're really meant seriously.
For those of you who agree with the first couple of posters, FYI, the government is, in actuality, not a magic fairy that can go around dispensing goodies. All they can do is take YOUR money, MY money, and a whole bunch of other people's money and parcel it out. The problem is, the more stuff you get them to "give" you, the more money they have to collect from everyone to pay for it.
Now, the posters above will say they don't care about that. Everyone SHOULD pay more so everyone gets more stuff. The point of contention is where to draw that line.
Should I have to give up 10% of my money for the public good? Maybe 20 or 30%?

A lot of people feel that individuals should be allowed to keep more of their money, and purchase these goodies for themselves, without the government stepping in and managing their lives. What exactly is wrong with that?

In purely torahdik terms, the highest form of charity is to make someone self sufficient, not make him forever dependent on handouts.

Well, do you know that the government takes OUR tax money to provide compensation to hospitals for the cost of treating the uninsured. Do you realize that hospitals factor in a little extra onto what they charge insured patients to help defray the cost of treating uninsured, which in turn raises YOUR premiums. Do you realize that every other civilized nation in the world has some form of universal health care? Do you realize that the whole idea of an individual mandate to require people purchase health insurance, came from the HERITAGE FOUNDATION, one of the most conservative think tanks in the country. They came up with the idea to enforce their notion of "individual responsibility" because they felt that uninsured people should not be subsidized by the rest of us?

Do you realize that the total costs to society arising from the health care crisis in this country, costs us much, much more, than the penalty someone might be forced to pay if they choose not to carry insurance. And do you realized that the Affordable Care Act is not "Government health insurance" since the coverage will be provided by PRIVATE INSURERS who will now have many more clients? OF course you dont!

9

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