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hardball
updated 12/3/2012 4:16:10 PM ET 2012-12-03T21:16:10

Answer: both. Romney was 'weak,' and the message was 'problematic.'

As the GOP dissects the reasons behind Mitt Romney’s loss, many are asking themselves who’s to blame—the message or the messenger?

Democratic strategist Steve McMahon and GOP strategist Rick Tyler weighed in on Friday’s Hardball. Tyler told host Chris Matthews that the problem seemed to lie with Romney himself.  The GOP, he said, had no clear frontrunner during the primaries and tried everyone including Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. “And then we finally arrived at the inevitable Mitt Romney,” said Tyler. “I think this had more to do with the messenger.”

“You ended up with a weak candidate,” said host Chris Matthews, to which Tyler responded, “In many ways, yes.”

McMahon noted Romney came into the race without a firm ideology, then took extreme ones-–on issues like abortion and immigration–during the primaries. “He used words and created symbols for himself that he regretted later and had people out there like Todd Akin in Missouri who were creating other symbols that were problematic, not just for him but for the Republican brand, which actually are problems that endure today.”

Still, he said, Republicans seem to have a larger problem. Romney, he pointed out, got 27% of this Hispanic vote and lost women’s vote by 14 points.

“When you give big blocs of the electorate away, which Republicans are now doing, you cannot win,” said McMahon.

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