Beth Myers spoke to Right Turn on the day Mitt Romney announced he had picked her to head his VP search process.
Not surprisingly she wouldn’t talk about how the process would unfold and who would be under consideration. She did respond to my question as to why she thinks she was picked. She told me in a brief phone interview: “I think Mitt asked me to do it because I have worked with him for 10 years and he trusts me to bring him all the information and allow him to make a decision.”
In our conversation it’s clear why they get along. Like her boss, she is unflaggingly pleasant but also disciplined and single-minded about the task ahead. She knows Romney, knows how he likes to operate and doesn’t intend to allow either to get sidetracked by the media buzz that is a constant presence for any presidential nominee.
Of all people, as his former chief of staff, she should know how the former Massachusetts governor operates. She recalled, “He had a very strong cabinet. And he was very clear about what he wanted. I remember we had a meeting the day before he took office to be clear about what everyone’s job was. He trusts peoples to get about their business.” Perhaps no candidate in recent memory has stressed his executive skills as much. She echoed what former aides and campaign officials have told me over the years about his decision-making style. “He expects to hear both sides of an argument. He is best able to make decisions in that way.” And after a decision is made, there is little soul-searching, she told me: “He doesn’t second-guess and doesn’t revisit it.”
She headed his 2008 campaign. Obviously the result is different, but what else has changed about Romney? He told her: “The experience of going through a presidential race changes you. It’s a huge advantage to run a second time.” Moreover in Romney’s case, he used the time after the race to write a book “No Apology” that set out his views on a range of topics (many of his current proposals such as block-granting Medicaid and his Social Security plans come straight out of the book). Myers said that time and effort paid off in 2012 when, she said, he was “much more clear about where he wanted to go.”
Myers seems well aware of the need to fend off Obama’s attacks while staying focused on Romney’s own agenda. She said matter-of-factly about Obama’s barrage of hyperpartisan jabs: “He can’t run on his record. He’ll throw out anything he needs to, to distract voters from the things that are most important to them.”
Meanwhile, she doesn’t seem overly concerned about “healing” the divide in the GOP. She resisted the idea that the task is all that daunting. She firmly said: “ He won the primary. He didn’t win by just appealing to one segment of the party. This is no different than any other primary in the past.” In fact, she and other aides make the case that because Romney went to the trouble of putting out a detailed agenda, conservatives can see for themselves how different his presidency would be from Obama’s.
She also resists the notion, as some pundits have surmised, that Romney needs the economy to tank in order to win. “Everyone wants the economy to be better,” she said. But she, like her boss, insisted: “We could be a lot better off. The stimulus, Obamacare, the GM bailout, his energy policies have all slowed down the recovery.”
Myers doesn’t give interviews frequently. Maybe that too is a reason why she was picked. She’s not about to make the VP search about herself. And that, I suspect, suits Romney just fine.