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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Meet Team Romney -- PICTURES

November 11, 2011

Encircling Mitt Romney is a tight ring of longtime friends, aides, and advisers, some of whom have worked with him since the 1980s. In the gallery below, take a look at some of the men and women working to get the former Massachusetts governor into the White House.

Matt Rhoades, Campaign Manager Rhoades brings the skills of a seasoned national operative to the Romney campaign. A graduate of Syracuse University, he started his career at the Republican National Committee and was a research analyst during the 2000 election. After a stint in the White House, he returned to politics as a research director for George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, spearheading efforts to discredit Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on national-security questions. During the 2006 cycle, Rhoades was the RNC's deputy communications director, then he directed communications for Romney's 2008 White House bid. He was also the executive director of Romney's Free and Strong America PAC before signing onto the 2012 campaign.(ELISE AMENDOLA/AP)

Beth Myers, Senior Adviser Myers is one of the aides closest to Romney, having been campaign manager for his 2008 White House bid and chief of staff when he was Massachusetts governor. Myers cut her teeth in politics during Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign; soon after she graduated from Tufts University. She also worked for Ray Shamie's 1984 Senate race in Massachusetts and Bill Clement's 1986 bid for Texas governor, alongside Karl Rove. After Romney's failed 2008 presidential campaign, Myers cofounded the Shawmut Group with two other consultants with roots in Romney World, Eric Fehrenstrom and Peter Flaherty.(ELISA AMENDOLA/AP)

Eric Fehrnstrom, Senior Adviser A reporter for the Boston Herald before he made the move to government, Fehrnstrom was an assistant state treasurer responsible for media relations in Massachusetts. Like other aides, he worked on Romney's first presidential campaign, advising the candidate on press strategy and messaging in 2008. Regarded as a ruthless tactician and media strategist, he conceived the television ad linking Scott Brown with John F. Kennedy. Fehrnstrom ran into controversy earlier this year when he was revealed to have been sending out unflattering tweets about Brown's Democratic opponents from an account that concealed his identity.(ISSAC BREKKEN/AP)


Russ Schreifer and Stuart Stevens, Strategists and Media ConsultantsBusiness partners for nearly two decades, Schriefer (pictured) and Stevens are the forces behind the effort to recast Romney as a more likable, less buttoned-up candidate. Schriefer has worked on four of the past five Republican presidential campaigns; he most recently advised N.J. Gov Chris Christie on media strategy. Stevens began his career in his native Mississippi, working on campaigns for Sen. Thad Cochran and others, then advised Bob Dole's 1996 campaign and George W. Bush's campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Both consultants started the 2008 election cycle with the McCain campaign but jumped ship to Team Romney in summer 2007.(CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP)

Rich Beeson, Political DirectorBeeson is a familiar face among the GOP establishment: He has served on the RNC's senior political leadership team for all but one election cycle since 1998. For the 2008 campaign, Beeson was the RNC's political director, responsible for grassroots efforts, voter turnout, and mail and phone programs. In addition, he has been a fixture in Colorado politics, working on a number of congressional, gubernatorial, and Senate campaigns.(LIZ LYNCH)

Jim Merrill, New Hampshire Senior Adviser If there is such a thing as a must win for Romney in the early-voting states, it's the first-in-the-nation primary. Merrill is Romney's man in New Hampshire; he's a longtime Granite State political strategist who was George W. Bush's campaign director there and Romney's in 2008.(


Neil Newhouse, Pollster Newhouse cofounded Public Opinion Strategies in 1991 and has made it one of the leading GOP polling firms in the country. Newhouse's client list includes Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, and former Sen. Rick Santorum. In 2008, he was the Republican partner for the NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.(RICK SILVA/AP)

Ron Kaufman, D.C. Influential A longtime adviser to the former governor, Kaufman advocates for Romney regularly on television and in print. As a veteran lobbyist with Dutko Grayling, he is also a master of the inside game, possessing a network of contacts dating back to his days on George H.W. Bush's 1980 presidential campaign.(LM OTERO/AP)

Vin Weber, D.C. Influential The former House member from Minnesota backed home-state Gov. Tim Pawlenty before his longtime friend backed out of the race. The move to Romney was natural for Weber, who had been his campaign policy adviser in 2008. When Romney called, Weber said, "the first words out of his mouth were, 'Vin, I have one question. How come you've missed all those meetings these last two years?'"(RICHARD A. BLOOM)


Norm Coleman, Defense/Foreign-Policy Adviser One of Romney's chief advisers, the former senator from Minnesota served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and helped to uncover the United Nations' oil-for-food scandal. Coleman is among Romney's chief political surrogates—a surprising choice, given his single term in the Senate and limited name recognition. Coleman brings the campaign polished moderate credentials and ties to the GOP establishment.(JIM MONE/AP)

Kerry Healey, Defense/Foreign-Policy Adviser Romney's lieutenant governor in Massachusetts has enjoyed a long professional relationship with him and clearly enjoys the candidate's trust. Like Coleman, she is known for holding strongly pro-Israel positions, which could be a useful asset for Romney as he escalates his criticism of President Obama and tries to position himself as a friend of the Jewish state.(ELISE AMENDOLA/AP)

Meghan O'Sullivan, Special Adviser President George W. Bush's chief Iraq adviser on the National Security Council, O'Sullivan now lectures at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.(CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP)


Dov Zakheim, Special Adviser Now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Zakheim was deputy undersecretary of Defense for planning and resources under President Reagan and undersecretary of Defense under George W. Bush.(ALEX BRANDON/AP)

Jim Talent, Energy Adviser Romney has worked closely with Talent, a former senator and congressman from Missouri who wrote a portion of the candidate's 59-point jobs plan. Talent is a partner in the D.C. lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs and a fellow at the Heritage Foundation. During his tenure in Congress, he was viewed as a reliable conservative vote and an advocate for coal and oil interests.(LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE/AP)

Mike Leavitt, Health Care Adviser Even though health care is one of Romney's signature issues, he has yet to introduce his advisory team in any detail. Leavitt, a former Health and Human Services secretary and Utah governor, runs a health care consulting business. Some Republicans have criticized him because his firm helps states set up insurance exchanges under the federal health care law. In the George W. Bush administration, Leavitt assisted HHS in the rollout of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, but he has long been hawkish on Medicare and Medicaid spending.(LIZ LYNCH)

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