Who is Brett O’Donnell, you might ask? And why should anyone care? Well, to a lot of observers, Brett O’Donnell has been responsible for Mitt Romney’s victory in Florida. You see, Brett O’Donnell was hired as the debate advisor for Romney after a series of mishaps in the earlier debates. As we saw recently, Romney’s debating style has evolved; he has become more assertive and spent much more time attacking Newt rather than on defense.

So, who is this Brett O’Donnell fellow? O’Donnell became famous within Republican circles as the Director of Debate for 18 years at Liberty University, where they have been nationally ranked in the top 10 among colleges and universities every year but one since 2005. He joined the Bush team as debate advisor in 2004 and worked with John McCain and Sarah Palin in the same position in 2008. He has also been the debate advisor for many other GOP candidates.

O’Donnell, who previously was on the Bachmann team, was hired by Romney following a series of gaffes by the candidate in his early performances. When he was credited by pundits and political operatives for the turnaround in Romney’s debating style, and given much praise for Mitt’s new presentation, Romney’s campaign team became uneasy. When the NYT did a story crediting O’Donnell, the candidate decided he must be let go.

Romney’s staff, like that of President Obama, is remarkably insular. Most of his staff has been advising him for many years and have much in common with the candidate. O’Donnell has long been regarded as a self-promoter, heading his own successful strategic communications firm, which has had a remarkable record in advising candidates. Another aspect of concern for Romney’s staff has been rumored to be O’Donnell’s association with Liberty University and the Christian conservative community, where he has long been regarded as an icon for the school’s achievements against Ivy League schools and other nationally renowned universities.

Romney himself was said to be offended that O’Donnell received so much praise from observers. His advisors began spreading the message this week that Romney pulled himself from disaster after South Carolina; nobody else should receive any of the credit.

If we observe political campaigns closely enough, we are able to determine how the nominee would serve in the Executive Office. A big part of the problem with the Obama presidency is believed to be his hesitancy to trust individuals outside of his ‘Chicago Mafia’. It’s unclear how the Romney presidency would deviate from the current incumbent in this respect, other than it would be renamed the ‘Utah Mafia’.

Here is a video of Stephen Colbert interviewing Mr. O’Donnell while he was the Liberty University debate team: