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Keller @ Large: Changes In GOP Nomination Process Overdue

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Mitt Romney delivers remarks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 15, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney delivers remarks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 15, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – It came and went so fast that if you blinked, you may have missed it, but last week Mitt Romney gave his first public speech since losing the presidential election last fall.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

He apologized to the Republican activist audience for his failures and urged them to learn from his mistakes, but I believe the outcome had less to do with any of Romney’s shortcomings than with the expert messaging and organization of the Obama campaign.

In both of those crucial areas, the president had a huge edge by virtue of being the incumbent without a challenge from within his own party. The GOP nomination battle and campaign finance rules kept Romney from sharpening his message and image the way he wanted to until it was too late.

As Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus put it in an interview with Bob Schieffer Sunday: “While we were playing footsie and debating each other 23 times, what was the other side doing? They were spending…hundreds of millions of dollars on data, technology, voter outreach…actually getting the job done.”

That description could have applied to past elections where Democrats got waxed.

So it’s good that the Republicans are pursuing serious changes in their nomination process – no more marathon of gong-show debates, and a revised primary system that would wipe out the disproportionate influence of early states like Iowa, where arch-conservatives elevate the stature of unelectable candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

These sound like overdue ideas. A national decision should be made nationally, not by narrow groups in small states.

Unless we want money, organization, and incumbency to permanently trump merit.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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