October 9, 2012

Focus on Tagg.

The Politico story:
But the biggest change in the [Romney campaign] ecology, according to the [unnamed] insiders, is the more assertive role of Tagg Romney, who has been “making sure that his father’s environment is such that he’s relaxed when he goes up to do things, and making sure that he’s not over-programmed, and is protected from the cacophony of advice,” a family friend said.

“Romney gets buffeted by all this advice because Romney takes everybody seriously,” the family friend said. “He thinks, ‘Well, gee, I’m talking to businessman X or C or Y. They’re really smart. That’s something I need to factor into my thinking.’ Tagg has been aggressive in saying: ‘There’s no more factoring stuff in. Your thinking is yours. Be who you are! And you’ve got to communicate that to people, and don’t be embarrassed by it.’”

The eldest son has been around the campaign’s Boston headquarters more often and keeps his own heavy schedule of media and campaign appearances. His involvement increased gradually in the two weeks before the debate, according to the insiders, after focusing on fundraising for much of the 2012 campaign.

“Unlike anybody else,” the friend said, “Tagg will basically call people out when they have something stupid to say. Because he’s the son, he’s in a different position to be able to really question people’s advice and question the decisions, but — more importantly — to drive them to make decisions, which is one of the problems in Romneyworld. They’re slow to react, in part because of the campaign’s organizational ambiguity. Tagg has helped resolve some of that.”
The Daily News story:
A recent POLITICO story quoted an unnamed family friend as saying Tagg Romney would be working behind the scenes at being “more assertive in making the organization work better, cleaning up some of the organizational dysfunction.”

But Tagg Romney said that’s simply not the case. In fact, he said he hasn't been to a strategy meeting in more than a year, and the last time his father specifically solicited his advice on a campaign issue was in considering his selection of a running mate.

“It sounds like a great story, but it's not based in reality at all,” he said of the suggestion that he’d be the one to broker peace between warring factions inside Romneyland.

“I’ve never approached anyone about wanting to play that role. No one has approached me,” he said. “This is not spin, the team really gets along well. There's no internal squabbling or fighting for territory or turf.”

28 comments:

John Lynch said...

He's got to be better than Valerie Jarrett.

David said...

The source, if he or she exists at all, is not Tagg's "friend."

Matthew Sablan said...

"There's no internal squabbling or fighting for territory or turf.”

-- I believe that as much as I believe in No Drama Obama.

ricpic said...

I stopped reading at the maddening "organizational ambiguity."

rehajm said...

I can see truth in the two perspectives. You're processing a fire hose worth of information and guidance from high level sources you trust, and it's difficult to prioritize what's coming at you in the short time you have. You are fortunate to have a smart family member who has some distance from the fray to offer perspective, so you consult. To someone close, if it's someone in the campaign or a reporter on the press plane, it would be easy to interpret that as more formal than it is.

David said...

Rehajm, the point here is that Politico is running a supposedly insider sourced story that is actually a slam against Romney. It's bullshit.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Tagg"? I thought his mother was Ann Romney, not Sarah Palin.

Mark Larson said...

Begging email this morning from creepy Messina that ends with a pic of the O rally at your campus and the line:

"P.S. -- Here's what 30,000 people in Madison did today. Check out this photo from President Obama's rally"

So, was that a real number?

Paul Kersey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

David said...

Rehajm, the point here is that Politico is running a supposedly insider sourced story that is actually a slam against Romney. It's bullshit.

Ya, I read the story. Excuse me for not feeding the beast...

Those fuckers!

MikeDC said...

Shorthand version: Romney runs a sensible enterprise in which lots of people have different opinions, and it's kind of chaotic.

Alternative: Obama runs an enterprise in which all is cohesive because he doesn't like to be challenged, surrounds himself with yes-men, and is never wrong.

Econophile said...

Tagg Romney was in Madison last Friday.

Nonapod said...

What is the etymology of the name Tagg. Is it short for Taggart?

LordSomber said...

Even though some people are their own worst critic, they have a good head on their shoulders if they welcome blunt truths and aren't afraid of being called out, while eyeing sycophants with suspicion. The contrast of the two candidates regarding this cannot be more clear.

Methadras said...

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Tagg"? I thought his mother was Ann Romney, not Sarah Palin.


It's probably short for Taggart. Which would probably make it even weirder. :D

Roy Lofquist said...

Everybody wants to be Bob Woodward, the rich and famous serial fabulist.

Paddy O said...

Tugg is the one to pay attention to.

Richard Dolan said...

This is another story (like the 'Ryan freaked out at the local reporter' story discussed in another blogpost) where the preferred narrative is front and center, facts be damned. In Sept, that narrative was that Romney was a lousy candidate, basically the caricature that Team O was portraying, while his campaign reflected both his weaknesses and the desire by the professionals to distance themselves from the coming disaster. Disaster is always an orphan, and so the 'discord within Romneyland' stories were a central theme of the 'disaster' narrative.

It was all (IMO) an exercise in fact-free journalism. It's not that the Romney campaign was free of disagreement, tension, and occasional personality conflicts -- no large organization ever is, especially one working under tight time constraints for very high stakes. But it's hard to get much spin out of 'everything normal'.

You're seeing the same silliness with the hyperventilating about the need to 'reset' the Obama campaign. No. Just the ever-present need to respond to what's happening, both the good and the bad.

edutcher said...

Since his mother is in ill health, he's doing the job a campaign wife would be doing.

Think Laura Bush or Nancy Reagan.

Nonapod said...

What is the etymology of the name Tagg. Is it short for Taggart?

One of my classmates in grade school had a brother nicknamed Tagg.

Real name was Ralph. The other brother, Irving, was nicknamed Chip.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I was briefly involved in a campaign for a friend who is running for the House of Representatives as a Dem. I had to back out for personal reasons. (I couldn't stand talking to liberals and democrats for one more moment. It was making me sick to my stomach.)

However, what I observed was that the guy was being bombarded with advice, much of which was completely counter to what his personality and values were.

In other words, the professional campaign manager from DC was telling him...."Don't be who you are....be this other person. Fake it." and advice like Don't discuss this issue (which was important to him) and take THIS position (which was completely false) I could see the stress that this was causing my friend. I never thought of him as a puppet or a trained monkey before. It was sickening to watch him trying to dance to the tune being played by the puppet master.

I imagine that Ann Romney and the rest of Mitt's family felt the same way. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for Mitt, they can't just decide to do something else, like I could.

I still hope my friend wins his seat, because I think he is intrinsically an honest man who does care about the people he would be representing. And as a "blue dog" would represent the entire area fairly.

On the other hand, I hope he doesn't win, because then he will be even more immersed in the meat grinder and may come out of the process a totally unrecognizable man.

Michael K said...

The Romney campaign has surprised even me with its fast and well organized response to events and Obama attacks. Politico is no friend of Romney and cannot be considered neutral. It is an arm of the Obama campaign and disingenuous.

Greg said...

Tagg is named after Tag Taggart (one 'g' on that first name).

Nathan Alexander said...

If Willard becomes Mitt, then maybe Robert becomes Tagg?

Is there a baseball theme for the male names in the Romney family?

Mitt, Tagg, Batt, Capp, Balll, Bass (visual pun)...

Lem said...

"Tagg"? I thought his mother was Ann Romney, not Sarah Palin.

After president Barack Obama... president Tagg is just Math.

2012+8+4 = a Romney dynasty.

MadisonMan said...

Kudos to Tagg for watching out for his Dad, if that's what he's doing.

Glad to see there's a Tagg Tag. Ta.

Paddy O said...

In other words, the professional campaign manager from DC was telling him...."Don't be who you are....be this other person. Fake it." and advice like Don't discuss this issue (which was important to him) and take THIS position (which was completely false)

This is pretty much what crippled the McCain campaign. Especially Palin's contribution to it. It undermined her strengths and emphasized her weaknesses.

Carol said...

It was sickening to watch him trying to dance to the tune being played by the puppet master.

And if he doesn't dance, the moneybags in the party think you're not trying to win.

I'm glad Romney has someone like Tagg.

William said...

Tagg has extremely bushy eyebrows. Everyone says the Romney family is so damned perfect, but Tagg has bushy eyebrows. Somehow that gets overlooked. If Tagg is going to put himself out for his father, then SNL should have a skit satirizing his bushy eyebrows.