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Why divisions in Romney campaign might matter

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Charles Dharapak/AP

(Read caption) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney boards his campaign charter plane in Kansas City, Mo., after a refueling stop as he travels to Los Angeles on Sunday.

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All happy presidential campaigns are alike; each unhappy presidential campaign is unhappy in its own way. For the Mitt Romney campaign, the problem today is that it appears to be an unhappy effort whose particular divisions are on full display in the media with the election now only a few weeks away.

In this case, a lengthy piece in Politico by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei about unrest among Mr. Romney aides has served as a floodgate-opener. It depicts Romney’s top strategist, Stuart Stevens, as mercurial, skewers Mr. Stevens’s efforts to draft Romney’s convention speech as disorganized, and in general allows unnamed staffers and outside advisers lots of room to complain about one another.

Now, Republicans have long asserted that the mainstream media are biased against them and will do whatever they can to keep President Obama in office. They’ve also complained specifically about Politico, saying it’s full of former Democratic operatives. But for all that, the pushback on Monday’s piece from the right has been half-hearted. Some conservatives are using it as an opening to air their own worries about Romney’s effort.

Thus Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, a vocal Romney partisan, on Sunday outlined things Romney's campaign is doing that drive the right nuts, from using poor surrogates on the stump, to delaying major policy statements, to too little policy explanation and not enough talk about leadership.

Erick Erickson at the conservative RedState blog noted that he’s also heard lots of “angst” about Stevens from Republican donors and people close to the campaign.

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