Political Notebook

Ex-Romney aide details campaign ‘miscalculations’

Michael J. Sullivan (left) called GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez “a good, decent person.”
Steven Senne/Associated Press
Michael J. Sullivan (left) called GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez “a good, decent person.”

WASHINGTON – One of Mitt Romney’s former campaign aides is planning to ­release a new book next week that is being pitched as an insider’s account that provides “an unblinking look at the tactical and strategic miscalculations” made by the former presidential candidate.

The book – “A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign: An ­Insider’s Account” – is written by Gabriel Schoenfeld, who says he started working for Romney in January 2011 as a consultant and was a senior ­adviser from August 2011 through the rest of the campaign.

“The book illuminates the chain of errors that ultimately contributed to Romney’s ­defeat,” reads a summary of the 66-page book, which is being published next Tuesday as a $2.99 e-book by the Penguin Group.


“Schoenfeld does not shrink from pointing fingers and naming names,” the summary reads.

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The book makes a case that Romney downplayed foreign policy too much — and made too many blunders — in a way that put the campaign at a disadvantage when responding to international events. Schoenfeld highlights Romney’s ­response to the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi.

“The Romney campaign’s ­response to the Middle East crisis left Romney and his team looking ill-informed and opportunistic,” reads a press release on the book.

Schoenfeld also outlines several other foreign policy problems, according to the press ­release. Those include “poor vetting” of Richard Grenell, a foreign policy spokesman who later resigned; Romney’s failure to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the troops, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention; and what Schoenfeld calls “a mistake-riddled European tour.”

Schoenfeld’s goal is to persuade the Republican Party to jettison “the ­mechanical poll- and focus-group-driven ­approach embraced by the Romney campaign.”


Romney’s campaign was marked by its discipline and the tightknit nature of top advisers. They have remained relatively loyal even in the aftermath of a stinging defeat, so a tell-all book from a former adviser could provide a provocative ­account of what went on ­behind the scenes.

Although Schoenfeld never appeared to be among the core group of Boston-based advisers, he was valued enough to receive two $25,000 bonuses in the final months of the campaign, something that only some of the top staffers ­received. “Gabe is a writer for us, every­thing from Web content, to press releases, to surrogate op-eds,” senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told Politico in November 2011.

Another former Romney ­adviser said Tuesday that Schoenfeld was initially brought in to help with writing op-eds, “with the hopes he could develop into a speech writer. . . . Didn’t work out.” In an e-mail, the adviser said that Schoenfeld was not at high-
level meetings.

“Never in a strategy session, never in a senior staff meeting,” the former adviser wrote, on the condition of anonymity.

In an interview, Schoenfeld said he was hired as a writer for the campaign, doing speeches, op-eds, and statements.


“I wasn’t in the upper echelon of the campaign in that sense,” he said. “However, the book is based on reporting. I inter­viewed people who were in senior meetings and took part in conference calls. They can try to downplay my role, but it was not insignificant.”

“I was there for nearly two years. I was there when we were very small,” he added. “I knew the senior people from the beginning. As the organization grew, it’s fair to say there were a lot more hands on deck. I wasn’t in the senior meeting that took place every day. But I had a very good vantage point to look at everything that was happening.”

Schoenfeld is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and is the author of “Necessary ­Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law.”

He has also been paid for “communications consulting” by Gabriel E. Gomez, Republican nominee in the US Senate race in Massachusetts, where several other former Romney staff have been working.

Matt Viser


Gomez wins endorsement of former GOP rival Sullivan Republican Senate nominee Gabriel E. Gomez received the endorsement Tuesday of his former GOP rival, Michael J. Sullivan.

“I’m excited about offering my support to Gabriel Gomez,” said Sullivan, a former US attorney. “This is a good and decent person who wants to serve for all the right reasons.”

At the endorsement event, held at a Boston park, Sullivan went on the attack against the Democratic nominee, US Representative Edward J. Markey. He hammered the Markey campaign for releasing a Web video that included a split screen of Gomez and Osama bin Laden. The Markey video criticizes Gomez for his association with a group that knocked President Obama for how he handled the aftermath of the killing of bin Laden.

During the primary race, Sullivan was strongly critical of Gomez for sending a letter to Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, offering himself as a candidate for an interim appointment to the Senate. Patrick named William “Mo” Cowan, his former chief of staff, to serve in the Senate until the special election victor is sworn in.

Asked about the those criticisms at the event, Sullivan said, “In retrospect, I wish that Deval Patrick had appointed him to the job and I think on June 25, Governor Patrick is going to wish he had appointed him to the job!”

Markey has focused his campaign over the last week on pressuring Gomez to sign a so-called People’s Pledge, a pact that would work to limit outside spending in the race.

At the event, Sullivan also said the “People’s Pledge is a ploy to distract voters from his record of tax hikes and deficit spending in his 37 years in ­Congress.”

Markey has argued the pledge would increase awareness of who was putting money behind candidates, which he said would be good for voters.

Gomez and Markey will face off in a June 25 special election for the seat formerly held by John F. Kerry.

Joshua Miller

Matt Viser