Mitt Romney insider details what went wrong during 2012 presidential campaign
“There’s always going to be some percentage — I’m not going to say how many, I’m not going to give a number — but there’s some percentage who want to know what’s in it for me,” Zwick said.
When it came to Romney’s campaign, he said “there were no gifts. There were no handouts.” Instead, what Romney promised voters was a better economy and a more efficient government.
“Mitt was the one that was offering hope for the future, in my opinion,” Zwick said. “Obama was offering programs. And programs won.”
Just hours before Election Day, Zwick shot a video on his cellphone of a rally in New Hampshire at an arena filled with cheering Romney supporters.
The next photo on his phone was of a subdued Mitt and Ann Romney, seated in their hotel room in front of a television set, taken, Zwick said, as they saw it was time to concede the race.
“It was a very surreal moment,” Zwick said of witnessing their reaction to defeat. But he said Romney took it in stride.
“That night was very straightforward,” Zwick said, with Romney heading downstairs to make his concession speech. “he wasn’t trying to hold onto something that was over. But I think he genuinely hoped and believed he was going to win.”
Romney has largely stayed away from politics since the election, becoming chairman of Solamere's executive partner group, planning a new house in Salt Lake County's exclusive Walker Lane neighborhood and spending time with family at his lakeside vacation home in New Hampshire.
He made news last week as the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire GOP, warning Republicans in Congress not to fight the president's new health care law by threatening a government shutdown.
Earlier this summer, Romney attracted national attention by hosting a trio of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates at a Deer Valley retreat organized by Zwick for the campaign's top donors, many of whom are investors in Solamere.
"I think there's a big role for Mitt to be a voice of the party," Zwick said. "He has a unique set of donors who are very loyal to him. He's not looking to run himself. So he in a way can be the statesman of the party — if he wants to be."
While Zwick said he had "no idea" whether Romney intends to play a more prominent role in the Republican Party's efforts to reshape itself to become more appealing to voters, it may be a challenge that's hard to resist.
"He's going to be careful not to overdo it. But I think when there are candidates or there is an important issue, he has too big a following and he cares too much to sit on the sidelines in my opinion," Zwick said. "Sitting on the sidelines is not in his DNA."
The same might be said for Zwick, who lives with his wife and their three young children in Massachusetts but still keeps a close eye on Utah politics and has purchased property in Park City. He sees a bright future in Utah politics for Romney's middle son, Josh, and, possibly, himself someday.
"This is a great state. If I were ever going to get involved politically, I would love to do it from the state of Utah," Zwick said, quickly adding, "I don't plan on running for office, anytime soon at least. I have a business that I love and it's growing, and that's where I am completely devoted."
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