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Debate coach Brett O'Donnell blocked from Mitt World after turning Romney from debate dud to stud.

Something happened to Mitt Romney the Monday before last. He didn't just hold his own with Newt Gingrich at a Tampa debate. He owned him. Romney edged Gingrich a second time a few days later in Jacksonville.

What changed? Some say Brett O'Donnell.

A former Michele Bachmann adviser and adviser to John McCain before that, O'Donnell had just been hired as debate adviser or coach. It's not clear. But, if he did anything with Romney before the debates, he was clearly what they call in sports "a difference maker." He's also humble and blushes in a true evangelical way at four-letter words.

Right after the Tampa debate, when we asked him what he had done, he was quick to downplay his involvement and issue a correction.

"I'm just helping out," he said.

Are you getting paid?

"Well...." he hedged. "Let's say I'm just helping out."

What did he do with Romney?

"He needed to hone his attacks, go right at him (Gingrich)," O'Donnell said. "He needed to focus his arguments."

Don't expect any more help like that from O'Donnell, at least in the short term. Politico just dropped the bomb that O'Donnell ultimately wasn't hired and what transpired behind the scenes. It plays off a New York Times profile of the campaign that seemed to credit every consultant at the Romney campaign for Romney's successes.

Then on Saturday, when the New York Times posted a Sunday story online detailing how Romney’s campaign targeted Newt Gingrich in Florida that again mentioned O’Donnell’s role with the debates, chief Romney strategist Stuart Stevens called O’Donnell. Stevens asked the adviser to contact Jim Rutenberg, one of the Times reporters who wrote the piece, and request that the reporter change the depiction of O’Donnell’s role in what would become a front-page article, according to Republican sources.

The Times altered some of the language relating to O’Donnell in the final story — he was mentioned briefly as only a “debate adviser” — but O’Donnell’s name was not removed. O’Donnell was not quoted in the story.

Reached on the phone by POLITICO Friday, O’Donnell declined to comment.

Stevens would only say: “I have a great deal of respect for Brett and would welcome the opportunity to work together again down on the road.”

The whole Politico story is here.

Before it broke, Republican consultan and O'Donnell pal Ana Navarro this afternoon attended a pre-taping of Sunday's CBS4 News & Views where she noted hat Romney needs a word adviser all the time because of his penchant for gaffes. She said O'Donnell turned Romney from a debate dud into a stud.

O'Donnell's backers include none other than Sen. McCain, who started hearing whispers of the envy O'Donnell was engendering on the campaign trail in Florida. A dismayed McCain expressed his support of O'Donnell. In the end, true to form, O'Donnell didnd't want to get involved. He didn't want to cause a problem or be the center of attention.

Too late.

Comments

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huh

Spell check ?

Jed

Many thanks to Mr. O'Donnell for his help in Florida. I believe he may have saved the country from four years of Newt Gingrich/Barack Obama vitriol and big government debt. Mitt is the only candidate who is credible on the economy. I hope Mitt does work with Mr. O'Donnell more, especially during the general election! God bless!

Haitiana4Obama

Another example of Mittens taking advantage of someone....coldly using O'Donnell to his advantage and quickly discarding him as Bain would a company they'd raided. And to not even have the courtesy to call the man who ultimately defused Gingrich? Mr. "I live firing people" had a surrogate do his dirty work for him. Class act.

Mormon Minus the Second "M"

Petty infighting from the prima donnas in the Romney inner circle. Expect more of same if he is elected President. Makes Obama look like the adult in the room, and reveals Mitt's dirty little secret: He sucks as a manager.

majii

Romney credible on the economy? Give America a break! He first said President Obama made the economy worse. Then, he told Laura Ingraham that even though President Obama didn't cause the recession, he made the economy worse. When the new unemployment figures came out showing the recovery is heading in the right direction, Romney claimed that President Obama still hasn't done enough. Any truthful person who calls himself a Christian would have the integrity to not pretend that the recovery could be much better in light of the fact that the republicans in Congress chose as their first goal making President Obama a one term president and have been obstructing everything President Obama has proposed that has the potential to speed up the recovery. He may not admit this in public, and I can understand why, but his words and actions when speaking about the economy should reflect this knowledge. If he can't be honest with himself because his desire to be POTUS outweighs his integrity, imo, this should be a cause for concern about whether his decisions as POTUS will favor the people or himself and his friends/associates.

auto accident attorney sarasota

Every politician needs a good speech writer/coach to get very far up the ladder. O'Donnell wasn't used. He knew exactly what he was doing...helping out.

Marcela

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Jonatan

Judge Napolitano Letter to those on Occupy Wall Street and the American Peopleawesome look at recent tiohsry, Tea Party, government intervention, and both sides of the political spectrum today:He suggested common goals:End the FedEnd the warsEnd the income tax/watch?v=nF30eMuWFHI -Nader, Ron Paul, Kucinich Speak to Occupy Wall Street and all Americans /watch?v=8GaRA-Expi0

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