Thursday, November 8, 2012

NYT: Romney aides groaned at Christie's praise for Obama

More pain for Chris Christie in the New York Times' campaign retrospective today.

In Boston, Mr. Romney’s aides broke out in a chorus of groans as they watched on television as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey offered effusive praise of the president’s handling of the disaster.

They viewed it as a self-serving act of disloyalty from a man whom they had expected to deploy that very weekend on Mr. Romney’s behalf. The praise of Mr. Obama from a Republican governor came at the same time Mr. Romney had been portraying Mr. Obama as partisan and polarizing.

There's so much other great stuff in the piece.

Apparently, the Obama campaign thought public polls were wrong in mid-October, as well:

But as concerned as the White House was during the last 30 days of the campaign, its polls never showed Mr. Obama slipping behind Mr. Romney, aides said.

We all know the Obama campaign dominated on GOTV, but they also nailed CTVNOTE -- which is my acronym for "change the very nature of the electorate" (emphasis added).

In Chicago, the campaign recruited a team of behavioral scientists to build an extraordinarily sophisticated database packed with names of millions of undecided voters and potential supporters. The ever-expanding list let the campaign find and register new voters who fit the demographic pattern of Obama backers and methodically track their views through thousands of telephone calls every night.

That allowed the Obama campaign not only to alter the very nature of the electorate, making it younger and less white, but also to create a portrait of shifting voter allegiances. The power of this operation stunned Mr. Romney’s aides on election night, as they saw voters they never even knew existed turn out in places like Osceola County, Fla.

When Romney decided the night was lost...

It was 11:30 p.m., and Romney field teams in Ohio, Virginia and Florida called in, saying the race was too close for the candidate to give up. At least four planes were ready to go, and aides had bags packed for recount battles in narrowly divided states. Bob White, a close Romney friend and adviser, was prepared to tell the waiting crowd that Mr. Romney would not yet concede.

But then, Mr. Romney quietly decided it was over. “It’s not going to happen,” he said.

In prep for the first debate, Rob Portman nailed it when he guessed that Obama would give a wedding anniversary shout-out.

I’ve got to tell you, tonight’s a really special night,” Mr. Portman said, playing Mr. Obama. “I see my sweetie out there, boy, 20 years ago.”

(Mr. Romney’s advisers broke out in laughter when the real Mr. Obama opened with a similar line, and nodded approvingly when a very prepared Mr. Romney countered with a gracious response that even Democrats said put Mr. Obama off balance.)

George W. Bush called Romney before the first debate to encourage him.

Pointing to his own history, he predicted that Mr. Obama would fumble, according to aides.

A supremely confident Obama before his supremely bad first debate....

Mr. Obama displayed little concern. When he went to a resort outside Las Vegas for several days of debate preparation in September, his impatience with the exercise was evident when he escaped for an excursion to the Hoover Dam.

Mr. Klain and David Axelrod, a senior strategist, told Mr. Obama that he seemed distracted, but he shrugged them off. “I’ll be there on game day,” he said. “I’m a game day player.”

Romney'a amaze at how the first debate transformed his rallies...

Mr. Romney soon recognized the scope of his accomplishment. He flew from Denver to Virginia for a rally the next day, and as the motorcade headed toward the event, there was so much traffic that Mr. Romney and his top advisers thought there must have been an accident. In fact, the roads were jammed with people on their way to see him.