Romney's Hispanic chairman says candidate made mistakes
November 11th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
1 year ago

Romney's Hispanic chairman says candidate made mistakes

(CNN) – The man who led Mitt Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters said Sunday the candidate "made some mistakes" during his campaign that ultimately led to a precipitous drop in Latino support.

Carlos Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, blamed the Republican primary process, which he said forced Romney to harden his immigration stance in an appeal to the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

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"Mitt Romney made some mistakes," Gutierrez told CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "I think he is an extraordinary man, and I think he made an extraordinary candidate. I think Mitt Romney's comments are a symptom. I think the disease is the fact that the far right of the party controls the primary process."

On immigration, Romney often sought to balance his positions in ways that appealed both to Hispanic voters and the base of the Republican Party.

In December, Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act if he became president, saying instead he would support a path to residency - not citizenship - for undocumented immigrants who served in the military, but not other DREAM Act proposals.

Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida that Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.

At a Republican presidential debate in January, Romney said he favored a system of "self-deportation," a policy that involves making economic conditions so difficult for undocumented workers that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities. That stance was derided both by Democrats and his Republican rivals.

Speaking Sunday, Gutierrez said Latino voters were scared of a Republican Party they regarded as anti-immigrant and downright xenophobic.

"They were scared of the anti-immigration talk. They were scared of xenophobes. It's almost as if we're living in the past," Gutierrez added.

The proof, he said, was in the way Latinos voted: 27% cast ballots for Romney, compared to 31% who voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008 and 44% who supported George W. Bush in 2004.

"I would lay the blame squarely on the far-right wing of the Republican Party," Gutierrez said.

Evangelical leader Gary Bauer said Sunday that the opposite was true, pinning Romney's loss on a party too focused on appealing to moderate voters.

"I think it's due, at least in part, to folks in our party that seem intent on attacking the fact that we're the conservative party in the United States," Bauer said, pointing specifically to the issue of abortion, which he said should have played a larger role in the 2012 campaign.

"There's no yearning by the American people for a second pro-abortion party. I mean, we've already got one of those," he said.


Filed under: 2012 • Latinos • Mitt Romney
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. starks

    You know what? The GOP just wasn't conservative enough. Next time, double-down on everything. That's the ticket.

    November 12, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  2. Evangenital

    Obama got 62% of the young Cuban vote. Rubio would not have helped him one bit.

    November 12, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  3. annie s

    So every Republican analyst says the same thing – that Romney lied throughout the primaries but told the truth when he got to the debates? And they wonder why we didn't vote for the spineless, flip flopping Mr. Etch a Sketch?

    November 12, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  4. Ben

    Just another cop out. George W. Bush,as a candidate and governor,championed the idea of amnesty and so has McCain. Mitt held the stance that we need to make conditions worse for illegals so that they'll leave. The problem isn't illegals (they didn't vote for anyone) the problem is lumping all latinos together. The reason for getting the wrong picture in Florida was a miscalculation of WHO the latinos in Florida were. They had this ten year old demo model that told them well over seventy percent of the latinos in Florida were conservative Cubans. The problem? That describes first generation Cubans but not the ones who were born here. They represent a broader political spectrum. More importantly. Though,is the influx of Mexicans and Newyoricans (Puerto Ricans from NYC). If they made an attempt to speak to the individual groups and didn't try to paint "hispanics" with such a broad brushmaybe Mitt would have done better. Afterall,he was governor of a state with few Cubans,many Dominicans, and a ton of Puerto Ricans. He should have had some experience in communicating his message to those communities.

    November 12, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Seriously

    "Bauer said, pointing specifically to the issue of abortion, which he said should have played a larger role in the 2012 campaign."

    HAHAHHAHAHA, sooooo ridiculously delusional.

    November 12, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  6. Kent

    Gary Bauer has the right idea! Be more conservative, Republicans! You're sure to win that way!

    November 12, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  7. Namejames t kurk

    Republicans are racists

    November 12, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. Namemicmacman

    the problem with mitt is mitt...ultra right wing conservative 1950's bs that this country is tired of plain and simple...he lives in a dreamy whites only world and that is no longer the makeup of america. those days are over except for the gop which is made up of mitt puppets....time for them to go

    November 12, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  9. TommyTT

    Gutierrez is correct but looking through too small a lens. The far-right's domination of GOP primaries pushed Romney to the right on many issues, not just immigration: healthcare, defense, abortion, Christian nation nonsense, gay marriage, immigration, taxes and the deficit. It's the whole package that turned off enough people to make the election outcome clear by 8:30 pm, not just one issue. Now the far right is trying desperately to hold onto power by claiming that Romney wasn't far right enough, but that's delusional. The Romney who was Governor of Massachusetts and instituted workable healthcare reform originally proposed by Ted Kennedy–that Romney might have given Obama a real challenge.

    November 12, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. Joseph Smith

    Romney IS a mistake

    November 12, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. Wake up People!

    Awesome posts everyone. I just want to say thank you to my fellow Americans for not believing in the sickness that is now the republican party.

    @Abby-Thank you for understanding, you touched so many points that have been vital to myself, my family, and friends. And you are so right, as a black female that is the main reason that I could NEVER vote republican.

    @Gurgyl, do you see how many people are seeing the same thing happening over and over? Just because people point out racism and don't try to ignore it, doesn't make them racists. In your way of thinking anyone that points it out is.

    November 12, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  12. NameBeninFl

    I did not vote for mitt and im not hispanic. Does the media care why i voted for Obama?
    It was because i make less than $250,000.00 per year. DUH!

    November 12, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. tfbuckfutter

    So the problem is that the primaries caused him to lie about his stance on things, and then people didn't trust him when he flip flopped back to his "real" stance?

    Sure. That makes sense. How about consistency instead of pandering?

    November 12, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. Nick

    Open the borders. I mean seriously, other than searching for terrorists, criminals and drugs what are we really accomplishing by keeping people out of the country? What I don't agree with is the portrayal that conservatives are against immigration – flatly false. They are against violation of our laws, which is what Obama is doing when he waves deportation, and that is a completely different issue. And if you look at the core values of Latinos? Pure conservative. Liberals beware: if conservatives get smart they will go after reform and from that point forward it's not a given how they vote.

    November 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  15. Jesus of Kristos

    Does this mean he's going to Self-Deport to the Cayman Islands? Can he take Peter "Traitor" King with him?

    November 12, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. a_writer

    Looks like the 'etch a sketch' didn't quite do the job. Mr.Bauer's statement that 'there is no need for a 2nd pro-abortion party' is so prescient of the outcome of the next election. Women voters have shown clearly in this election that they get to decide what is good or bad for them. They have shown by their votes that there is no need for a Talibanised party telling them what they can and cannot do with their bodies and what is inside it.

    November 12, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. Larry L

    Changing a political

    November 12, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  18. Thomas E. Shafovaloff

    JUST WAIT UNTIL THE MID-TERM CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS. Just wait until the mid-term Congressional Election comes around – these Republican traitors – who have held this country back from economic recovery are going to be shown how fast they can pack their bags for a permanent trip out of the Capitol. The idea – the political party before the citizens and the country – Americans have had enough of them including the present Speaker, Boehnor.

    November 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. cashmeremafia

    Romney went to Prince William County in VA for a campaign stop, the county is half minority now – where did he go? The lily white part – he completely ignored the minority areas. Is anyone surprised he lost the minorty vote? Sorry Republicans, you should have seen that one coming....

    November 12, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. Scooter

    As an Independent, I look at all parties, instead of just blindly picking one because of the party I am in. I voted for Mr. Obama, but had Mr. Romney won, I wouldn't have been terribly upset. He's a good and decent man, just like his father was. It's his own party's philosophies that stung him. We still need a multi-party system, folks. No one party has all the answers. Originally, I was planning on voting for Mr. Romney, until I read the despicable things said about "rape" by other Republican candidates, and I felt Mr. Romney should have spoken out against them.

    November 12, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Republicans lost because Mitt Romney chose to run a campaign based on nothing but hate and division. He sent his "troops" out early in Obama's first term and never let up on the hate. He feed the media one anti-Obama talking point after another. His supporters helped fuel the flames in social and news media blogs. And all the while Romney was himself smirking his way to the White House. Or so he thought.

    The GOP has 4 years to remake it's image. I doubt it will succeed. Mitt Romney caused much more internal damage to the GOP than ever did Palin and Bachmann; Limbaugh or Beck; Ingram or Coulter. Most Americans understand the Palin's and Limbaugh's of our American underbelly. Romney was a different character altogether. The media bought his "act" lock, stock, and barrel. Never once did Romney speak out against the division, the hate, the anger. And Americans reacted ... against the man who created his own ego bubble and the party that gave him free reign.

    November 12, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. ClarasBeau

    What happened in this Presidential election, and how quickly the results unfolded, to me is clearly a reflection not so much of what Romney said and did, but rather, of things done by ANY organization that thinks it can bamboozle the American voter simply by promoting fear and discouragement. Apparently enough voters refused to be bulldozed by such humbug. Because of the constant barrage of political ads that were aired over and over again, one could, after the umpteenth airing, begin to recognize the manipulative lies and half-truths in so many of those ads. So in that regard, those disappointed CPACs have no one but themselves to blame.

    November 12, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. Larry L

    Changing a political platform to get votes isn't the samexthing as changing your core values. Republicans must learn to reject bigotry and embrace diversity. As long as they allow hate mongers from Fox News to manipulate their fears and create an alternate reality they will never experience the freedom of tolerance and humanity.

    November 12, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  24. Me IN HOUSTON

    "Carlos Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, blamed the Republican primary process, which he said forced Romney to harden his immigration stance in an appeal to the far-right wing of the Republican Party."

    yeah! that was the problem. Romney doesn't actually hate Mexicans, but in the process of trying to get the Republican nomination, he told everybody that he REALLY hates Mexicans and how he would get rid of them and when the Mexicans heard that, they decided to vote for the other guy.
    NOW they have figured out that was a mistake.
    Maybe the real mistake was running for the nomination of a party that hates Mexicans
    I'm jus sayin

    November 12, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. UDidntBuildThat

    Oh I cannot wait for Amnesty for all 20 million illegals. When they flood the job markets and take the jobs of the very poor Dems love to 'help". I am going to LMAO!!! Please Obama, give them all Amesty!! please I beg you. Watch this country drop to a 3rd world nation. You all love the rhetoric fr Obama about protectionism when it comes to shipping jobs overseas but what about protectionism of the jobs that are here for our own citizens and legal residents who have been out of work and are suffering? Ha!! No one thought of that right? LOL!!! Amesty please!!! LMAO! What the poverty rate climb even more than it already has since 2008 among blacks.

    November 12, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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