Insiders Skewer Top Romney Strategist

Aides call Stevens flighty, say he dumped Mitt's RNC speech
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 17, 2012 7:50 AM CDT
Mitt Romney talks with chief strategist Stuart Stevens on his campaign bus as they drive from Naples, Fla., to Hialeah, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Mitt Romney's top strategist goes under the microscope this morning in a lengthy Politico piece, in which insiders dish on a flighty and unpredictable Stuart Stevens, depicting him as a "tortured artist" who many don't much care for. Case in point: Stevens ditched Romney's original convention speech, penned by a longtime GOP presidential aide, eight days before the candidate took the stage at the RNC. He then contacted a pair of George W. Bush speechwriters to draft a new one in days, and again largely scrapped that one. Instead, Stevens and Romney collaborated on the final version; Romney hardly had time to practice.

What's more, that version contained what Politico calls a "colossal oversight": There was no mention of al-Qaeda or Afghanistan, and no praise for troops. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood was offered a last-minute spot in the convention, and his memorable routine wasn't vetted. Campaign insiders offer unflattering accounts of Stevens: "The campaign is filled with people who spend a lot of their time either avoiding him or resisting him," says one. Others worry about him: The article describes a "mad-professor aura" and phone calls after midnight to fellow staffers. But Stevens doesn't deserve all the blame for signs of disorganization, Politico notes: It is, after all, Romney's campaign. Click through for the full piece. (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)

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