Mitt Romney’s top campaign aides conducted a conference call with conservative journalists this afternoon, during which they assessed the damage from Tuesday’s electoral loss. The participants included campaign manager Matt Rhoades, political director Rich Beeson, polling director Neil Newhouse and digital director Zac Moffatt. A few notes from the call:
Matt Rhoades, on the overall race: “No campaign is perfect, and we certainly made our share of mistakes.” On Paul Ryan: “He has come away from this race with a very bright future before him.”
Rich Beeson, on the campaign’s strategy: “We won independents and held the base. We thought that would be a winning combination.” Given the heavily Democratic electorate, it was not. On Boston’s computerized ‘ORCA’ ground game tracking system: “This was the first time we’d ever done anything like [ORCA] on that grand a scale. We got data from 91% of precincts across the country,” he said, noting that the program will help Republicans track and predict voting behavior in the future. As for reports that the system crashed on election day, Beeson conceded that there were significant technical issues: “There were glitches in the system, I don’t want to gloss over that. We were able to beta test it, but not at the volume of data we needed.” He said the program thought it had been hacked, which triggered a laborious process of rebooting the whole system with new passwords.
Neil Newhouse, on the outcome: “It didn’t end up like we’d hoped for and expected (more on the “expected” part later). [The Obama campaign] ran a very small campaign in a very big way.” Newhouse said the opposition effectively targeted specific demos in their coalition, using contraceptives, DREAM Act waivers, and student loan policies to entice key elements of their base to show up and vote.