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Entries in Mitt Romney (1719)

Monday
Mar252013

How Social Media Could Impact 2016 Presidential Election

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If only Mitt Romney had had a few thousand more Twitter followers and Facebook friends, the 2012 election might have turned out differently.

So say Bret Jacobson and Ian Spencer, millennial techies and co-founders of the conservative digital strategy group Red Edge. The high-tech entrepreneurs believe the failed GOP presidential nominee could have defeated President Obama simply with a better showing on social media.

"If you had run a really competent, really aggressive digital campaign, you probably could have won an Electoral College vote,” says Jacobson of the 2012 election. “The difference is roughly 450,000 in a couple swing states and you could more than make up for that difference.”

These are the bold claims from a dynamic duo that is leading the charge for a Republican Party reboot. Jacobson and Spencer say they are convinced that despite previous failed attempts, the party can surpass Democrats' social media machine by the 2016 presidential race.

The Obama campaign was "incredibly good at empowering people to receive and share information" on the web, Facebook in particular, which allowed the organizers and fundraisers to build individualized voter profiles based on people's profile information, Jacobson says.

"They were able to specifically reach out and...help identify these people who need to register to vote,” he says. “And it turns out that after a million people logged in, they actually yielded a million real world voter registrations and votes from those people, which is really powerful stuff.”

For Republicans to match, the Red Edge guys want an extreme makeover: bringing "Internet culture into the Republican culture," and ultimately tapping a tech-savvy candidate who can build a strong digital following.

Who among early 2016 candidates has an early edge? “Rand Paul,” says Spencer of the Kentucky Republican senator.

"In terms of the grassroots support his father [Ron Paul] has enjoyed, many of whom also support him, I think he's in a kind of unique position to really make some waves online...because there's so many small dollar donors who, who went to Ron and who may now go to Rand," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar142013

Filmer Behind Romney's '47 Percent' Video Goes Public

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney may have lost the presidency because he offended a bartender.

In his public debut on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, bartender Scott Prouty revealed that he filmed the famous “47 percent” video of Romney at a closed-door fundraiser in May 2012 and leaked it to Mother Jones magazine’s David Corn, who posted it in September.  It was a move, Prouty said, intended to capture the most attention possible.

Until now, Prouty’s identity has been hidden.  It’s been known that president Jimmy Carter’s grandson, James, facilitated the story, putting the unidentified, surreptitious filmer in contact with Corn.  It’s now known that Prouty contacted Carter after seeing Carter’s contributing byline on a Corn story about GlobalTech, the Chinese appliance manufacturer Romney mentioned at the fundraiser.

Prouty explained why he leaked the video.

“The people that were there [at the fundraiser], they paid $50,000 per person for dinner,” he told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz in an exclusive interview.

“You know, I grew up in a blue-collar area in Boston, and nobody I know can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner,” Prouty said.  “I just don’t know anybody that can do that and, in a way, I just felt like, if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, there’s a lot of people that can’t afford to pay $50,000 for one night, one dinner, and I felt an obligation for all the people who can’t afford to be there.”

Prouty, who worked on the catering staff at the Romney fundraiser, said he didn’t originally intend to leak the video when he began recording it.

“I had brought the camera, and a lot of other people brought cameras thinking that people would take pictures, like he did in the past, coming back with the staff and taking pictures,” he said.  “I was interested to hear what he had to say, but I didn’t go there with a grudge against Romney.”

But when Romney made his now-infamous “47 percent” remark, Prouty said, that’s when he made sure his camera was capturing it because he wanted everyone to hear Romney’s words, unvarnished.

Romney told donors that 47 percent of voters would chose Obama “no matter what” because they are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.  That that’s an entitlement.  And the government should give it to them.  And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax."

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said.  “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Prouty, who described himself as a bartender who lives a comfortable life but struggles like everyone else, said the decision to leak the recording was daunting.

“Why am I gonna do this, why am I gonna risk everything?  Should I risk everything, should I put myself in jeopardy, should I put myself in legal jeopardy?” Prouty said he asked himself before handing the video over to Corn.

But he wanted voters -- particularly middle-class voters like himself -- to hear Romney’s private words and judge for themselves, Prouty told Schultz.

“Everybody needed to hear that,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar032013

In First Interview, Romney Says it ‘Kills’ Him Not to Be in Washington

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A reflective Mitt Romney Sunday blamed his loss in the presidential election last November to his inability to connect with minorities, and the former Republican nominee admitted to Fox News’ Chris Wallace that it still “kills him” not to be in Washington.

“We did very well with the majority population but not with the minority populations and that was a real failing, that was a mistake,” said Romney, when asked why he believes he lost the White House last fall.

“We didn’t do as good a job as connecting with that audience as we should have,” he added.

Romney, joined by his wife Ann for portions of the wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday, has spent most of the four months since Election Day out of the public eye, tucked away in his California home.

In this interview, his first since losing to President Obama, the former Massachusetts governor who received just 47 percent to the president’s 51 percent of the vote, spoke candidly about his disappointment on election night.

Romney said it was a “slow recognition” that he’d lost the campaign, but when Florida was reported to be a close race — a state his campaign thought they’d win easily — he began to realize his odds of winning were waning.

“We were convinced we would win,” Romney said. “My heart said we were going to win.

“It’s hard, it’s emotional,” he said. “There was such passion in the people who were helping us, I just felt we’d really let them down.”

Ann Romney added that she cried on election night, and though she described herself as being “mostly over” the loss, she confessed that she still cries.

“I mourn the fact that he’s not [in the White House],” she said. “I totally believe if Mitt were there in the office we would not be facing sequestration.”

Romney, who taped the interview in the San Diego home of his youngest son Craig earlier in the week, said bluntly, “I still care,” when asked what life is like watching business in Washington go on without him.

“I wish I were there,” he said. “It kills me to not be there, to not be in the White House doing what needs to be done.”

Romney said he does not see the “kind of leadership” that he believes the country needs and he thinks the current financial crisis is a “huge opportunity.”

“The hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment, just slip away with politics,” he said, referring to the debate over sequestration.

“Come on guys,” Romney said, directing his remarks to those in office. “Focus on getting America through a difficult time and on the track to remain the most powerful and strong nation in the history of the earth and put people back to work.”

As for Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, in which the presidential candidate was surreptitiously filmed at a fundraiser essentially writing off a large portion of Americans as “completely wrong,” the former nominee said his remarks undoubtedly contributed to the failure of his campaign.

“It’s not what I meant. I didn’t express myself as I wished I would have,” he said. “You know when you speak in private you don’t spend as much time thinking about how something could be twisted and distorted and could come out wrong and be used.

“It was very harmful,” he said. “There’s no question that it hurt and did damage to my campaign.”

And about that embrace between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — considered to be one of Romney’s most powerful backers during the election — and Obama just a week before Election Day during a tour of Hurricane Sandy damage?

“I don’t think that’s why the president won the election,” Romney said, explaining that he does not blame Christie for his loss.

“I’m not going to blame Chris,” he said. “I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anybody else did.”

As for what’s next for the Romneys, both told Wallace that they’re enjoying spending time with at least one of their 20 grandchildren every day. They’ve started a foundation, The Romney Foundation for Children, that will serve to help poor children, and Romney said he hopes to still have some role in the Republican party, but notes that nobody wants to — or should want to — listen to a losing candidate.

“As the guy who lost the election, I’m not in a position to tell everyone else how to win,” he said. “I don’t have the credibility to do that anyway, but I still care.”

Romney is slated to deliver his first public address March 15 in Washington D.C. during the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I’m not going to disappear,” Romney said. “But I care about America. I care about people who can’t find jobs.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

Mitt Romney Ends Self-Imposed Media Exile

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt and Ann Romney will appear in a pre-taped interview on Fox News Sunday airing March 3, marking the first TV appearance by Mitt since the 2012 Republican presidential nominee conceded the election in the early morning hours of Nov. 7.

Among other things, anchor Chris Wallace asked the couple about their lives over the past four months after having been in the media spotlight since Mitt announced his intention to seek the GOP nod in June 2011.

Mitt tells Wallace, “We were on a roller coaster, exciting and thrilling, ups and downs.  But the ride ends, and then you get off.  And it’s not like, ‘Oh, can’t we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life?’  It’s like, 'no, the ride’s over.'”

Ann equated the experience to the couple’s work for the Mormon Church, having been in high positions of power and then “you’re released and you’re nobody…it was an amazing thing, and it was really quite a lot of energy and a lot of passion and a lot of -- a lot of people around us and all of a sudden, it was nothing.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan282013

Paul Ryan Says Mitt Romney Would Have Been 'Heck of a President'

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Making his first live TV interview since the election, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan told NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that GOP standard bearer Mitt Romney would have made "one heck of a president.

Ryan, Romney's running mate, said the experience of running for vice president was a great experience from which he learned a lot.  Many political pundits expect that Ryan will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

The Romney-Ryan ticket ultimately lost to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, and the congressman acknowledged it showed weakness in the Republican Party as a whole.

Ryan told Meet the Press, "We obviously have to expand our appeal, we have to expand our appeal to more people and show how we'll take the country's founding principles and apply them to the problems of the day to offer solutions to fix our problems."

As for immediate goals, Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, says the GOP and White House must settle differences to pass a budget, which he complained the Democratic-led Senate has failed to do since 2009.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

Obama, Romney Insiders Look Back on 2012 Campaign

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(BOSTON) -- The 2012 election cycle came full circle last week when representatives from the Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as top advisors to many of the GOP primary candidates and several influential outside groups, gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a 2012 debrief -- finally answering some of the lingering questions about the race.

On neutral ground in Cambridge, Mass., fierce rivals (think Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades and strategist Stuart Stevens and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and strategist David Axelrod) met for the first time since the election -- and many for the first time ever.

The conference, organized by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, featured a who’s who of political bold-faced names from campaign 2012, including senior campaign aides like Romney political director Rich Beeson and pollster Neil Newhouse, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and digital director Teddy Goff, Rick Santorum adviser John Brabender, former Rick Perry campaign operatives Rob Johnson and Dave Carney and even Mark Block, who ran Herman Cain’s short-lived but much-talked-about presidential bid.

Representatives from the outside groups that had so much influence -- and spent so much money -- on the election were also on hand, including Bill Burton, senior strategist for the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action; Steven Law, head of the pro-Republican group American Crossroads; and Tim Phillips, president of the conservative Americans for Prosperity.

Dozens of campaign 2012 veterans and journalists were on hand for the sessions, which covered the GOP primary, the general election, campaign strategy, the debates, conventions and the emerging power of the super PACS.

Here are some of the highlights from the conference:

Romney’s Campaign Concedes Immigration Position in Primary Was a Mistake


Mitt Romney’s decision to take a hard-line stance on immigration during the GOP primary was considered a big reason for his paltry 27 percent showing among Latino voters. But, the conventional wisdom has suggested that Romney couldn’t have won the primary without drawing a strong contrast with Texas Gov. Rick Perry on this hot-button issue.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhodes, however, says that his candidate could have won the primary without attacking Perry’s support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.  When asked by panel moderator Jonathan Martin of Politico whether he “regret[s] trying to outflank Perry on the right on immigration,” Rhoades took a long pause, and then shifted the conversation to Perry’s controversial statements about Social Security. Romney had attacked the Texas governor for calling the popular entitlement program a “Ponzi scheme” and a “failure.”

“In retrospect,” Rhoades said. “I believe we probably could have just beaten Perry with the Social Security hit.”

So while Rhoades never said he wished that Romney had never uttered the words, “self-deportation” he essentially conceded that he regrets the immigration position the governor took in the primary.

The Obama Campaign Only Fully Committed to Florida in Mid-September

If there was one state that the Romney campaign felt confident they were going to win it was Florida. And, until mid-September, the Obama campaign wasn’t convinced that they were going to contest the state. That changed in the aftermath of the strong convention in Charlotte, however, and the Obama campaign decided that they were going to go “full out” to win there.

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod:

“One of the things that we had discussed internally was the state of Florida and how we were going to treat Florida. We had made a decision that we were going to wait until mid September and after the conventions to see where we were in Florida before we fully committed. We were in, we had invested a lot, but we hadn’t been in the Miami media market. When we emerged from conventions not only had we gotten a little bump, but we saw Florida remained very competitive and made the decision to go full out in Florida.”

Team Romney Never Read Clint Eastwood Speech


Romney strategist and convention director Russ Schrieffer was asked by panel moderator Ron Brownstein of National Journal if anyone actually read a copy of Eastwood’s speech. The answer: not so much.

Russ Schrieffer: “I said [to Eastwood] are you going to do what we talked about, are you going to talk about what you talked about at these fundraisers. And he looked at me and said ... ‘Yep.’”

Laughter followed Schrieffer’s comments to which he replied:

“It’s Clint Eastwood, you [can't] argue with him.”

Republicans Are Worried About the Technology Gap With Democrats


Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager Matt David noted that, "one area we should freak out about is technology. The GOP is far behind there."

The Obama campaign used social media as a means to an end: using technology as a way to recruit, persuade, target and turn out voters.  Obama’s digital campaign guru Teddy Goff pointed to the power of Facebook in helping to find a previously unreachable group of potential voters: the friends of those who were already voting for the President.

In 2008, said Goff, they found that “99 percent of our email list voted.” As such, Goff said, “We entered into this election, with an understanding that anyone we were talking to directly, the vast majority were voting for us. So the question was … how can we serve them with stuff that will make them go out and get their friends.” And, Obama’s Facebook fans were a great place to start. Obama’s 33 million Facebook fans globally are friends with 98 percent of the U.S. Facebook population, Goff said.

Facebook also helped the campaign track down their coveted 18-to-29-year-old cohort. Goff explained that they were unable to reach half of their 18-to-29 GOTV targets by phone because they didn’t have a phone number for them. But, he said, they could reach 85 percent of that group via a Friend of Barack Obama on Facebook. “We had an ability to reach those people who simply otherwise couldn’t be reached,” Goff said.

Was the Romney High Command Really and Truly Shocked on Election Night?


Neil Newhouse, Romney pollster:

“Here’s what we saw in the data: you have to give credit to the Obama campaign for undercutting it. We saw in the last two weeks, an intensity advantage, a campaign interest advantage, an enthusiasm advantage for Republicans and Mitt Romney. … Just the same as we saw four years ago on behalf of Barack Obama. We thought it would tilt the partisan make-up of the electorate a couple points in our direction.

“We weren’t surprised by racial composition; we were surprised by the partisan composition. … The real hidden story here on our side, the number of white men who didn’t vote in this election compared to four years ago was extraordinary. And these white men were replaced by white women. We were taking a group we won by 27 points and replacing them with a group we won by 12-14 points.”

Perry Should Have Waited Until Late Fall, Not Summer, to Jump In


Perry strategist Dave Carney said the biggest tactical mistake made by Perry was that “we should have started years ago.” Perry, as governor in a state with a part-time legislature, “had a lot of time on his hands” — he should have used that time, and his role as RGA chair, to meet donors and travel the country before 2011. Once Perry decided to get in, however, Carney argues the Perry should have waited until mid-October or November to get into the race. That extra few months, said Carney, “would have given us more time to be prepared and do the groundwork that was necessary on the issues.”

What Role Did Karl Rove Play With Republican Outside Groups Like American Crossroads, Which He Co-founded?


Steven Law, president and CEO of American Crossroads and president CrossroadsGPS:

“Karl … recognized it was really important to not simply have an organization exist in a particular cycle for a tactical use but to … start to build enduring institutional strength on the right the way that we saw the unions providing that for the Democrats. … And then there were certain other parts that I think Karl really gets credit for. The first is encouraging us to reach out to other center-right groups and to try to start to collaborate where we were legally permitted to do so to share information and encourage people to pull the oars in the same direction. On the fundraising side both he and Ed [Gillespie] and then later on Haley Barbour were all tremendously instrumental in harvesting their Rolodexes and relationships. Karl is a guy that’s got tremendously good ideas, and again, not so much on the tactical side but more kind of broad strategic moments and was a tremendously useful and valuable source of ideas along the way.”

Bill Burton, senior adviser, Priorities USA Action:

“He also helped us raise money. I probably e-mailed out every one of his columns to our donors -- our high-dollar list -- to point out what they were saying on the Republican side and how confident Rove was. … When he would go on TV bursting with confidence about Romney winning, that little click went around every single time. Karl Rove is an enduring figure for both sides.”

After Rove’s Appearance on Fox News on Election Night, Is He Discredited Within the Republican Party?


Steven Law:

“Absolutely not. We all get our turn in the barrel.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Romney to Meet Obama for First Time Since Election

William Thomas Cain/Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney will emerge again into the public eye on Thursday.

The Republican presidential nominee is scheduled to meet President Obama at the White House for the first time since America headed into voting booths on Nov. 6.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the traditional meet-and-greet between presidential rivals “one of the often overlooked but remarkable things about this democracy.”

Since conceding the election to Obama, Romney and his family have largely kept a low profile, popping up only on rare occasions.

His son Josh tweeted a photo of himself inside a mud-covered off-roader almost two weeks after election night, saying he’d “just got back from the Baja 1000.”

During the week of Thanksgiving, America saw a harried-looking Romney pumping gas.  He appeared with his family at Disneyland less than 24 hours later.

And on Tuesday night, his wife Ann and son Matt were spotted in the audience as the winners of Dancing with the Stars: All Stars were announced.

Thursday's private lunch between Romey and Obama is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov282012

Romney to Meet Obama at White House Thursday

Joe Raedle/Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will meet privately with former Republican rival Mitt Romney at the White House on Thursday, their first meeting since the election, the White House announced Tuesday.

The president and the former GOP nominee will meet for lunch in the private dining room, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement.

The meeting fulfills a promise the president made on election night to work with Romney going forward.  

"We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply, and we care so strongly about its future,” the president said at the time.  “In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.”

Their encounter comes as the president is negotiating with congressional Republicans to prevent the economy from going over the “fiscal cliff” of mandatory spending cuts and tax increases set for Jan 1.

There will be no press coverage of the meeting, according to the White House.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov202012

Romney's Economic Advisor: Compromise Needed to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- How would Mitt Romney have dealt with the fiscal cliff if he had won the White House?

A possible answer came from his top economic advisor, who seems to think that compromise between Republicans and Democrats is the only answer to avoiding another recession.

In fact, Glenn Hubbard, the dean of Columbia’s business school, did not rule out getting the rich to contribute more while interviewed Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, although he still advocates generating most of the needed revenue from spending cuts.

According to Hubbard, “If you raise every tax on the rich that the president has proposed, it’s about one percent of GDP (gross domestic product).  But our long-term problems are more like ten percent of GDP.  And we know from people who have studied fiscal consolidations are really all about spending cuts."

Yet, Hubbard doesn't flat out oppose eliminating deductions from the wealthiest Americans because "we're going to have to have some compromise.  And I think step one is figure out how to raise some revenue without killing the economy."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

As Obama Offers Olive Branch, Romney Dings President for ‘Gifts’ to Minority Voters

Melina Mara/The Washington Post(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Wednesday heaped praise on his defeated rival, GOP nominee Mitt Romney, saying the former governor’s record and ideas “could be very helpful” in shaping policy over the next four years.

“My hope is, before the end of the year… that we have a chance to sit down and talk,” Obama told reporters in his first post-election press conference.

But even as Obama extended something of an olive branch, Romney was reportedly accusing the president of doling out “gifts” to minority voters to curry their support for a second term.

“The President’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift—so he made a big effort on small things,” Romney told donors on a conference call, first reported by Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times.  “Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

Romney claimed Obama had been “very generous” to blacks, Hispanics and younger voters, according to the Times, insisting that the policy decisions had been a decisive factor in high turnout that tipped the scale against him.

“I am very sorry that we didn’t win. I know that you expected to win,” Romney reportedly said. “We expected to win…. It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”

 

Several participants on the call confirmed to ABC News the account and quotes presented by the L.A. Times.

On election night after both men spoke briefly by phone, Obama told his supporters that he extended an invitation to meet with Romney to demonstrate a spirit of bipartisanship after a bruising campaign.

On Wednesday the president reiterated his interest in a meeting but conceded he does not know whether Romney is willing to play along.

“He presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And so it’d be interesting to talk to him about something like that,” Obama said.  "There may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth that can help middle-class families that I want to hear.”

But Obama added, “I’m not either prejudging what he’s interested in doing, nor am I suggesting I’ve got some specific assignment. But what I want to do is to is to get ideas from him and see if there are some ways that we can potentially work together.”

Read more about Romney’s donor call HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio