Former Romney aide to publish book on campaign’s ‘chain of errors’
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. “Unsparing in his criticism of some of his former colleagues, and presenting a candid appraisal of Romney’s strengths and weaknesses, his objective is to launch a far-reaching debate about the way we go about choosing America’s leader.”
The book also makes the 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. “It was a miscalculation that severely hampered the campaign for the rest of the race, and especially during the debates.”
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 with the book is to convince 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 tight-knit nature of the 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 told the Globe this afternoon 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 email, the adviser said that Schoenfeld wasn’t at high-level meetings.
“Never in a strategy session, never in a senior staff meeting,” wrote the former adviser, on the condition of anonymity. “I imagine that’s part of what he was frustrated about but well, you know. That happens. But hey, could he sell a book? An e-book without a big advance or maybe no advance? Sure, whatever.”
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 currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and is also 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, the Republican nominee in the US Senate race in Massachusetts where several other former Romney staffers have been working.
An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the dates of Schoenfeld’s work as a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. The earlier version also reported one $25,000 bonus. Schoenfeld received two.Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.