Barack Obama’s campaign schooled Mitt Romney’s in November, something of which the Republicans who gathered at the quadrennial, off-the-record Harvard Institute of Politics Campaign Managers Conference were intensely aware. And while the proceedings of the event are under embargo until the institute releases audio transcripts of the proceedings, some participants shared their reactions.

“We got our butts kicked, so I’m going to school,” said the manager of one 2012 Republican presidential campaign on his way into the sessions on Thursday morning, held in a cozy university conference space. …

The evening-and-a-day conference is the tenth in a 40-year tradition of analyzing winning and losing campaigns. It is, the Institute says, convened “in an effort to allow future candidates, managers, journalists and scholars to better understand the nature of modern presidential campaigns. This year, the line between students and teachers is clear. The Obama team spent much of the morning at the Charles Hotel, and skipped the session at which Romney aides and their Republican primary opponents discussed the bitter nominating process, trading strategies and regrets.