II actually had not seen this Politico piece until this morning when people were sending me links. I’ve been on a mini-vacation.
Let me just note a few points.
First, yes I know Stevens did not participate in the New Republic profile, but those things do not happen by accident.
Second, when the Politico is running stories like this followed by Stevens says he will shift strategy but all is hunky-dory, what you have going on is a campaign sensing disaster and the rats fleeing the ship. The charlatans are trying their best to get their reputations cemented now to cover their butts before the butt of the ship points up prior to sinking.
Things like this do not happen when staff are focused on getting the candidate elected. Things like this happen when staff is focused on themselves.
Look, let me give you the best example I can. I am no big Eric Fehrnstrom fan, given his repeated missteps on television, etc. But I have no doubt he is deeply loyal and committed to Mitt Romney and I don’t see any major pieces on him (yet) painting him as some glowing savior of the campaign. Nor do I see any pieces by anyone throwing him under the bus (yet). When a guy is that committed to a candidate as Fehrnstrom has been to Romney for years, it is harder to question them, even if you disagree with them.
But I hear, behind the scenes, lots and lots and lots of angst about Stuart Stevens from Republican donors and people close to the campaign. They don’t trust his loyalty, they think he is in over his head, and they think he is more about himself than he is Romney. That a Politico piece came out about him this weekend echoing that and today there is one of Stevens basically saying he’s in charge and everything is okay affirms in my mind that the critics are right. Frankly, he is the senior strategy guy and the strategy clearly is not working. All you need to know is that the GOP had three nights of prime time television coverage and the people whose kids Mitt Romney helped before they died got speaking slots outside of prime time in a convention designed to make people like Mitt Romney. If I could have hacked the video screen behind the podium at the RNC, I’d have put up the Twitter Fail Whale just for that.
Oh, and early voting starts in two weeks.