WashPost: Romney’s Inner Circle

The Washington Post has an excellent article today on Romney’s inner circle. They have some quick pot-shots they take but for the most part this is great information.

As we noted last week about Spencer Zwick, Team Romney has a very distinct aura – a good one in our book.

* Beth Myers: The first among equals, Myers is Romney’s campaign manager and closest aide. She was Romney’s chief of staff during much of his term as governor, after having served a stint as a top adviser to Massachusetts Treasurer Joe Malone. Myers — like many top GOP operatives in the ’08 campaigns — is an acolyte of Karl Rove, having served under him in the 1986 campaign of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements (R).

* Peter Flaherty: As director of Romney’s outreach to conservatives, Flaherty may well hold the key to the governor’s chances of winning the nomination. Prior to joining the campaign, Flaherty was Romney’s deputy chief of staff in Boston. His background is in law, but Flaherty also served a stint at the movie production company Walden Media, which is run by his two brothers.

* Alex Castellanos: A well-regarded Republican media consultant, Castellanos has already been hard at work crafting Romney’s image with a series of television ads aimed at introducing the governor to voters in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Castellanos comes to the campaign with a reputation for pointed (and effective) ad-making on behalf of a bevy of candidates, including President George W. Bush, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

* Jan van Lohuizen: If you don’t know who van Lohuizen is, that’s just how he likes it. One of the lowest-profile pollsters in politics, van Lohuizen is also one of the most highly regarded. He was a key member of the Bush polling team in 2004 and has had a hand in any number of major GOP victories, including victories by Govs. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R-Calif.) last November.

* Alex Gage: Microtargeting — the process of collecting vast amounts of information on potential voters and then using the gathered data to tailor messages to them — became all the rage in 2004 after President Bush found thousands of new supporters using it. And Gage, the founder of TargetPoint Consulting, is widely seen as a microtargeting guru. Bush paid $3 million to Gage’s firm in 2004 and reaped huge rewards; Romney hopes to follow that blueprint in ’08.

* Spencer Zwick: No one (besides Romney) deserves more credit for the candidate’s $21 million first-quarter fundraising haul than Zwick. A wunderkind in his late 20s, Zwick is Romney’s national finance director and a past deputy chief of staff in Romney gubernatorial office. Zwick, who met Romney while he was a student at Brigham Young University, enjoys such a close personal relationship with the candidate that he is often referred to as Romney’s sixth son, according to the New York Times. (If you’re a subscriber to National Journal, check out Shira Toeplitz’s recent profile of Zwick.)

* Carl Forti: Forti, the campaign’s political director, is a newcomer to Romney’s universe, having spent the last several cycles as communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Forti also headed up the NRCC’s independent expenditure program — directing tens of millions of dollars in television and radio ads as well as direct mail into districts across the country.

* Matt Rhoades: Rhoades isn’t as well-known to the wider world as some of his counterparts on other campaigns, but he is regarded very highly by political professionals. Rhoades served as research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee in the 2006 cycle and research director for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004. Rhoades also enjoys a friendly relationship with Matt Drudge — founder of the Drudge Report — an indispensable connection in the modern “freak show” world of politics.

* Kevin Madden: The telegenic Madden was a staple of Capitol Hill in recent years as the public face for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Madden has brought his friendly demeanor to Romney’s operation, sending out a daily rundown of key clips and appearances by the former governor. Don’t let the smile fool you though — Madden is a New York native not unfamiliar with the rough and tumble of politics.

* Barbara Comstock: Comstock is a household name inside the Beltway as a former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs and research director at the Republican National Committee. Comstock rose to prominence as a master of the art of opposition research; in a 2001 profile of Comstock, Post reporter John Mintz wrote that Comstock had “done more than any other GOP operative to skewer Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their congressional allies.”

* Eric Fehrnstrom: Fehrnstrom, as Romney’s traveling press secretary, probably spends more time with the candidate than any other member of the Inner Circle. Prior to joining the campaign, Fehrnstrom was Romney’s gubernatorial spokesman and deputy campaign manager for Romney’s 2002 governor’s race. Fehrnstrom, like Myers, has ties to former state Treasurer Joe Malone, for whom he served as a press fla