Republican heavyweight Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday that 2012 “is an election Republicans could have won. This is an election Republicans should have won.”
And now the party wants to know why they didn’t.
Barbour is part of a party-wide effort to analyze the last election. His nephew, Henry Barbour, will head up the RNC committee charged with reviewing the election. Barbour sat in on an a meeting last week with the powerful GOP super PAC American Crossroads to review the election, Politico reported.
Speaking on Morning Joe, the former Governor of Mississippi explained that the GOP lost because Mitt Romney’s campaign wasn’t negative enough.
“The lessons of the 2012 campaign are, first off all, that negative campaigns still work,” Barbour said from DC. “One of the first rule of politics still holds: Any attack unanswered is an attack admitted.”
Barbour pointed out that President Obama’s attack-ad push in the early spring and summer aimed to “disqualify [Romney] so that he’d never recover. They turned out to be right.”
Indeed, the Obama campaign’s early spring and summer attack ads proved particularly successful—the campaign was able to purchase more ad spots than the Romney campaign, likely because the bulk of Romney’s funds came from outside groups that paid market rate for advertising spots, while Obama’s funds were concentrated within his campaign, which could buy spots at a discount.
But while there may have been fewer, Gov. Romney’s ads had a more negative tone than his opponent’s spots.
Still, Barbour continued that Obama’s attack campaign was key to his successful strategy.
“Obama didn’t run on his record, he couldn’t run on his record, he ran on ‘Romney’s a bad candidate,” he said.
“The disqualification of Romney was not about his policies as governor. It was ‘he’s a vulture capitalist, he doesn’t care about people like you, he doesn’t pay his income tax, he has Cayman Island bank accounts, he’s a quintessential plutocrat married to a known equestrian,” Barbour finished to laughter.