The explanation was fairly straightforward: "Twitter users are not representative of the public."
Only a "narrow sliver" of Americans --- just 13% --- were using Twitter during the fall campaign. Twitter users are younger and skew liberal. And only 3% of Twitter users "regularly or sometimes tweet or re-tweet news or news headlines on Twitter."
In other words, what political junkies were talking about on Twitter --- the news wire that directly informed what influential reporters, editors and show producers decided to write and talk about on a minute-by-minute basis --- was mostly irrelevant to the public.
7. "A link is a link, dude"
Ben LaBolt, Obama's national press secretary, said that during the 2008 campaign, his press shop could safely assume that the producers of the network television morning shows would read, or at least scan, the front page of The New York Times before going to air each day.
That was no longer the case in 2012.
The campaign correctly figured out that the political class -- reporters, producers, pundits, strategists -- was gathering information from an ever-expanding, complex patchwork of news and opinion sources beyond the dead-tree front pages of the legacy newspapers. Twitter became the clearinghouse for that news.
"That's one of the reasons why any time we got a story placed, either a proactive push on the president or a contrast on Romney, we'd create a digital package to push out with that story to make sure that people actually saw it, because we couldn't assume that getting it in the paper was enough to get it on TV nationally, and certainly not regionally," Labolt said.
In terms of reaching reporters and other people of influence, print newspapers and television news were mostly irrelevant. The content that mattered most to the press operatives working inside the campaigns was the digital product---the stories seen by political insiders who woke up in the morning and immediately starting scanning the headlines on e-mail and Twitter using their BlackBerrys or iPhones.
"A link is a link," said Matt Rhoades, Romney's campaign manager. "I've said this a million times. I used to say it going back to, like, 2004. A link is a link, dude."
It might be a link to The New York Times or Politico or RedState or ThinkProgress---an online story, no matter how biased or thinly reported, had a URL that could be peddled to other news outlets, linked to the Drudge Report and, most importantly, pumped directly into the Twitter feeding frenzy where the conventional wisdom was formed.
8. Beware the orchestra pit
In the course of researching the paper, I was often guided by Thomas Patterson, the press critic and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard. Patterson's book about the problematic role of the media in the American political process, "Out Of Order," was published 20 years ago but remains amazingly salient today. It should be required reading for any reporter or campaign professional.
In it, I came across a perfectly phrased theory that explains the political media's inclination to cover gaffes, conflict and controversies.
After the 1988 presidential race, Roger Ailes, a Republican campaign consultant who would later become the president of another television network that shall remain nameless, came up with a simple explanation for the media's approach to presidential races.
"If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, 'I have a solution to the Middle East problem,' and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?" Ailes asked.
The question, with its obvious answer, came to be known among media critics as the Orchestra Pit Theory of News.
It's not a particularly revealing or groundbreaking observation for any close watcher of politics. But it's a truism that campaigns still live by when it comes to dealing with reporters.
9. Campaigns should play nice
If there's one big takeaway from the Romney campaign's press strategy, it's that being combative with reporters is just not workable in the Twitter era.
A campaign that treats reporters with hostility and indifference is usually rewarded with negative coverage.
That may seem obvious or intuitive, but the Romney media strategy often seemed like it was specifically concocted in some Cambridge laboratory to anger reporters.
With the filter-free nature of modern journalism, any perceived slight can zoom onto Twitter and become a larger story in a matter of minutes.
It used to be that campaigns could browbeat reporters into not writing a story. It still works sometimes. But for many reporters these days, intimidation tactics aren't really viewed as a threat -- they're viewed as story.
Witness Buzzfeed's decision last year to just publish a flagrantly combative e-mail exchange between its reporter, the late Michael Hastings, and Hillary Clinton adviser Philippe Reines.