Ron Paul and Mitt Romney Really Didn’t Have a Primary Alliance

The two Republican candidates said they weren't competing for the same voters.

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Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul at the American's for Prosperity Foundation event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—Really, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney did not have an alliance during the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. That was the word from both camps last week at a campaign 2012 postmortem at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

"Strategically we were never in a place where we were competing with Mitt Romney for essentially establishment votes," explained Paul senior adviser Trygve Olson. He noted that while Paul rarely attacked Romney in debates or in paid media, they fundraised off of Romney's entrance into the race (targeting him as the establishment candidate), and "we had lots of pieces of mail that drew contrasts" with Romney. In the end, though, Paul and Romney were rarely competing for the same slices of the Republican electorate. "Strategically it was more important to draw contrasts with Rick Perry when he got in the race because he was taking Tea Party voters from him in Iowa," Olson said.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

He added that the fact that Romney and Paul had each run in 2008 also made a difference in how cordially they interacted, especially because their wives had become friends.

Olson also displayed some humor in regard to the topic. When the question was asked he turned to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, next to whom he was sitting, and said, "Matt, do you want to tell me what I should say?"

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