There is accumulating evidence that Mitt Romney's not much of a team player: He mocked advisers for thinking their work is "very, very important"; he has delegated the task of thanking staff and volunteers after primary victories to his wife; and his campaign fired his debate coach last week not because he did a bad job, but because he was getting too much credit for doing a good one.
Just before the Florida primary, talking to Matt Lauer on the Today show, Romney mocked his advisers for thinking they had a lot to do with taking down Newt Gingrich. "I think you can expect advisers to think that the work of advisers is very, very important, but frankly, I think if you're to go back and look at where the sentiment changed, it was with the debates," Romney said, responding to a New York Times story about the campaign's strategy. And even though Romney was widely seen as a changed, more aggressive man in those debates, and even though the major tangible change was a new debate coach, Romney wants sole credit for those performances, according to Politico.
After the primary, there were headlines like "The Coach Who Revamped Romney's Stage Presence," and "Mitt Romney’s new debate coach may have been Florida primary game-changer." They were about Brett O'Donnell, the former Liberty University debate coach and aide to Michelle Bachmann. O'Donnell started getting warnings that he was getting too much credit, Politico's Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report. Then last week, on a campaign conference call, "a clear message was delivered -- Romney pulled himself back from the brink after South Carolina, and no one else did it for him," Politico reports. O'Donnell was let go.
Maybe having zero tolerance for staffers celebrating in the end zone is understandable. But other decisions make it clear Romney doesn't like saying "thanks." Like that at post-election speeches, he has literally outsourced the act of saying "thanks" to his wife. Traditionally candidates thank their staff and volunteers for making their victory (or whatever) possible. (Here's a transcript of Newt Gingrich, an egomaniac in his own right, giving lots of thanks in Florida.) But in Florida and Nevada, Ann Romney did all the thanking. Romney, whose speech was more likely to be carried on cable news channels, merely thanked the states' residents.
Now, maybe Romney's thinking he doesn't need voters, either. He no longer does 55-minute town hall meetings, but instead favors 15-minute speeches with rope lines and Secret Service agents, The Washington Post's Philip Rucker reports. The last time Romney took questions from an audience was January 13. In Florida a week ago, he did manage to say of the crowd, "Thanks, you guys. Wow!"