John Feehery: Speaking Engagements



Posted on November 8, 2012

Barack Obama had 9 million less votes in this election than last.

Had Mitt Romney  the same number of votes as John McCain in Ohio, he would have won.

You think that maybe the constant barrage of negative commercials had something to do with the Republican loss on Tuesday?

I would go on conference calls with the Romney campaign and they would tout their voter contacts.  34 million people were touched with robocalls and emails.

Does anybody seriously think that voters are motivated to come out to vote by robocalls?

Maybe I am being unfair to the Romney campaign, and I am sorry if I am.  But you couldn't beat John McCain?  Really?

I thought we were going to win in a landslide because I thought we were going to get more votes than the John McCain campaign.

Keep in mind that McCain had to wade through an unpopular war, an unpopular Bush Administration, an unpopular Republican Congress, an unprecedented financial crisis, and an inept campaign.

Yet, he still was able to get more votes than Mitt Romney.

That is unbelievable.

We keep hearing about the Obama campaign’s vaunted strategy to turn out the vote.

And yes, black voters turned out more this election than last.

(Note to those brilliant conservative strategists who designed the various laws to suppress the black vote:  Knock it off.  The more you try to put roadblocks up for voting, the more pissed off the voters you are trying to stop get and the more likely they are going to vote.  So, instead of disenfranchising these voters, why don’t we try to convert them.  Might be better for democracy and might make you feel better about yourself.)

The Romney campaign, in retrospect, was a complete mess.

Romney wouldn’t release his tax returns, despite the fact that his father, when he was running for President, released ten years of his tax returns.

Romney wrote an op-ed about the auto bailout that contained the phrase “managed bankruptcy.”   That gave the headline writers all they needed to say that Romney wanted to let the car companies go bankrupt.

Romney couldn’t defend his tax reform ideas, despite the fact that they were largely the same as the tax reform ideas put forth by the Simpson-Bowles Commission.  He let the Democrats call it a tax increase on middle-class people.  That attack was non-sense but it went unanswered for about 4 weeks on the campaign trail.

The Bain Capital attacks were completely predictable, and while the Romney campaign did a pretty good job of fighting back in the earned media, they didn’t put the resources into fighting back on the air.

Romney’s economic plan had more than 50 different ideas.  The American people don’t do 50 ideas.  They do three.

Romney tried to reinvent himself from a moderate to a severe conservative back to a moderate.  That doesn’t work very well.

He said he wanted to get rid of Planned Parenthood?  Why did he have to say that?

Ultimately, Romney lacked a clear reform message.  He couldn’t come up with a quick answer on Romney-care vs. Obama-care.  He couldn’t explain why his tax reform plan would help Middle Class voters by helping create jobs.  He never explained why preserving the social safety net is more important now than ever and why his reforms would make it sturdier.

He couldn’t explain how he planned to take the Medicare Part D model and use it to reform Medicare Parts A and B.  He couldn’t come up with a better slogan than “Believe in America,” which might have been the hokiest slogan in history.

He didn’t really highlight his wonderful family as much as he should have.   His foreign policy ideas were shallow, at best.  He never clearly distanced himself from the Bush legacy.

All of these things add up.  Yes, the Obama campaign did a nice job of sliming Mr. Romney, but the Romney campaign did little to fight back, until it was too late.

All the Romney campaign had to do to beat Barack Obama was to beat John McCain’s effort in 2008.  He couldn’t, so he didn’t.

There are a lot of theories about why he couldn’t.  The primary process was too brutal.  The Democrats used dirty tricks.  Hurricane Sandy.  Chris Christie.

But at the end of the day, Team Romney didn’t do the job of defining the real Mitt Romney before Team Obama did.  And that is why he couldn’t beat John McCain.  And why he couldn't win the election.

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