Speaking at Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday, Republican commentator Karl Rove said Mitt Romney’s campaign lost the 2012 election to President Barack Obama because of tactical failures.
For all of Romney’s negatives, Rove said Romney may have had a better chance of winning the election if his campaign had anticipated the Obama campaign’s negative onslaught. He said that it was important to humanize the candidate.
“This was a tactical failure,” Rove said, according to the Atlantic.
Others, like Pat Caddell, a Fox News contributor who was a top aide to Jimmy Carter, have also wondered why Romney did not loan his campaign millions of dollars to counter the negative ads as it became evident Romney was going to win the Republican nomination in the spring of 2012.
As the Atlantic rightfully noted, Obama did to Romney what George W. Bush, for whom Rove was a top strategist, did to John Kerry in 2004.
When the Romney campaign did not signal they wanted help in combating the negative attacks, Rove said, “We decided wrongly that they were right and so we didn’t proceed. And we should have.”
He also said Romney needed to humanize himself more, “defend Bain Capital,” and turn mocking stories about his wife’s dressage horse into an opportunity to talk about how his wife overcame multiple sclerosis.
He specifically noted that the campaign did not put the moving tributes from families Romney personally helped–without any fanfare–in primetime at the Republican National Convention. As a result, a broader national audience did not see the powerful tribute videos that made people like Bill O’Reilly cry. Viewers who saw the videos on cable TV said they were the most moving moments of the convention.
“We needed to know more about Mitt Romney. We needed to know more about him. There’s a natural reticence among too many candidates on the Republican side to show everybody who they are,” Rove said. “The problem is when you run for president the American people want to know who you are inside and Romney didn’t share who he was inside… Instead we’re left with a guy… who had an elevator in a garage for his cars in his La Jolla home.”