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Stuart Stevens, chief strategist for the Romney presidential campaign, discussed what the campaign should have done to win the election in an interview with co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell that was broadcast live today, Nov. 29, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM). Watch the appearance below!
Below is a partial transcript of the interview:
ROSE: We'll talk about the op-ed in a moment, but everything that I hear from the Romney camp since the election is that everybody in the camp thought they were going to win until the voting took place.
STEVENS: Well, we were optimistic. You know, the numbers, if you go back, you look at the public polls were tied. Some of them had us ahead. Some of them had the President a little bit ahead. Usually in those situations incumbents get what they get in the tracking. So there was reason to be optimistic. But we were always realistic about this. It was a very tough fight from the very beginning.
O'DONNELL: Stu, do you think the reason that Mitt Romney lost was the ideas that he laid out during the campaign or were you just out-gunned on the ground game?
STEVENS: I certainly don't think it was the ideas. I think that the ideas carried the day for us. And the success that we had, it obviously wasn't enough to win the race, was based on the candidate Mitt Romney and on his ideas. There were two very different campaigns run. It's fascinating to look at. When you listen to the Obama campaign – and let me be the first to say they ran a great campaign. It was a campaign they could have lost and they won, and that's the definition of a great campaign in my book. They ran very state-specific issues, less of a national campaign. That was not why Gov. Romney was running. He wanted to talk about big national issues, debt, entitlement, the future of the country. He wanted to put big questions before the country. And he did that. And I think the comparison of those two was striking. It was striking in the debates.
ROSE: Why does that have to be mutually exclusive though?
STEVENS: It doesn't.
ROSE: You can have big ideas and also do well on the ground game in each state.
STEVENS: He did. And listen, I don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm a bit baffled as to why people look at the Obama campaign and say they won because of their ground game – at face value, when they turned out more voters four years ago than they did this time. I would give them more credit for their message in those states rather than just their ground game. I think it's somewhat underselling what the Obama campaign did in their messaging capability to say it was just their ground game.