The most contentious aspect of the GOP calendar, adopted by the Republican National Committee at a 2010 meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, is the rule requiring primary and caucus states voting in March to allocate their delegates proportionally, instead of on a winner-take-all basis.
"It was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea now," said former Arizona GOP Chairman Randy Pullen, a Romney supporter who opposed the new nominating rules when he served on the RNC. "It's been a long drawn-out affair, and that's not a positive thing."
"I saw right away that we were going to have a lot of proportional states, and that was going to drag things out," Pullen said. "I didn't feel that made much sense given that we have a sitting Democratic president."
At the time the calendar proposal was under consideration, manyRNC members were enviously looking back on the 2008 Democratic nomination fight, a prolonged and dramatic battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton that honed each candidate's political skills and energized millions of Democrats nationwide.
Conservatives on the committee, meanwhile, groused that a handful of early voting states handed them a nominee, John McCain, who failed to inspire the Republican base.
But critics of the new process argue that 2008 was a flawed model for the 2012 calendar because neither party faced the monumental task of unseating a sitting president.
"I think these RNC rules that turned to proportional awarding of delegates, I mean, this was the dumbest idea anybody ever had," Christie, another Romney supporter, recently told Fox News. "We voted against it at the RNC. The reason we did is you're running against an incumbent president who will not have a primary. So your idea? Make ours longer so we can beat each other up longer."