Friday afternoon, I took part in a conference call with conservative journalists and senior members of the Romney campaign. Given the epic disappointment we all felt on Tuesday night, I initially gave the staff some credit for going through with the call. It is very hard to face head-on your defeats. But, in the middle of the call I realized they were still in denial.
The call began with mature and somber reflects from Matt Rhodes, campaign manager, and Neil Newhouse, the campaign's primary pollster. Newhouse noted what we now know; the Obama campaign was able to use very narrowly targeted messages to turn out a vote that was very similar to 2008. Young voters, Hispanics and African-Americans all made up a larger share of the electorate than they did four years ago. Obama's ability to replicate the 2008 electorate is why I was wrong about this election. Still, Rhodes and Newhouse showed that there were adults involved in the campaign.
The disturbing pivot on the call was when it was turned over to Rick Beeson, political director, and Zach Moffatt, the campaign's digital director. They were totally unlike the assessment given by Rhodes and Newhouse. It was at this point the call turned into a furious spin-cycle. We were assaulted with a litany of "metrics":