Given how much Republicans hate Hollywood in general, and George Clooney in particular because of his Obama fundraising and Democratic Party activism, you’d think any associations would be radioactive to the GOP. Nope. Stuart Stevens is currently Mitt Romney‘s chief campaign strategist, chief campaign ad maker, and chief campaign speechwriter. And yet Stevens was the political consultant for Clooney’s 2011 political movie The Ides Of March and 2003 political TV show K Street. In fact, Stevens has many Hollywood connections: he was a UCLA Film School grad student, a one-time fellow with the American Film Institute, and a credited TV writer on Northern Exposure, I’ll Fly Away, and Commander In Chief (also a consultant producer — see below.)
Stevens now has a bullseye on his back because of a new Politico article which is creating big buzz over the last 24 hours. It says Republicans are blaming Stevens for all the recent stumbles in Romney’s presidential campaign. It claims Stevens was responsible for the many rewrites to Romney’s RNC speech that left out mentions of Afghanistan or Al-Queda or troops serving in war zones. It also claims that Stevens arranged for Clint Eastwood’s rambling RNC speech with that chair. (Stevens “loved the idea of the tough-talking American icon greeting the millions of viewers tuning in.”)
Stevens’ official bio stresses his Hollywood ties. It says he was “educated at the UCLA Film School and is also a former Fellow of the American Film Institute”. And that he’s “written extensively for network television including the Emmy Award winning CBS series, Northern Exposure, the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award winning NBC/PBS series, I’ll Fly Away, the NBC series Mr. Sterling about a U.S. Senator, and serving as Co-Producer on HBO’s original series K. Street, working with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, as well as Consulting Producer on ABC’s Emmy Award winning series, Commander in Chief about the first female President of the United States.”
Most recently Stevens consulted on Clooney’s 2011 political film The Ides Of March whose Sony Pictures’ Blu-ray even contains a 7+ minute sit-down with Stevens about ‘What Does A Political Consultant Do?’ Clooney met Stevens while working with Soderbergh on the HBO political series K-Street. Clooney directed, produced, co-wrote, and stars in The Ides Of March and is quoted as saying that “Stuart was a really valuable voice. We would send him things and say, ‘Tell us where we’re going wrong. Tell us what you would do in this situation.’”
Stevens has been working on GOP presidential campaigns since 1996 (Bob Dole’s) and did both Dubya’s, and then switched from McCain’s to Romney’s. The DC-based media consultant is one-half of the Stevens & Schriefer Group as well as author of a book, The Big Enchilada, about the 2000 Gore-Bush campaign. Stevens helped put together that year’s GOP convention bio film introducing George W Bush to the nation. Stevens has said in interviews he’s a big fan of Charles Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning biopic on Bobby Kennedy shown during the 1968 convention, as well as Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s The Man From Hope about Bill Clinton shown at the Democratic Convention in 1992. Very interesting, indeed.