Romney's Hispanic chairman says candidate made mistakes
November 11th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
2 years 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. joey

    serve in the military, but not a citizen, lost election, makes sense

    November 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Mike

    As long as Grover Norquist forces canidates to sign anti-Tax pacts or face retribution from within their own party, as long as the KOCH brothers are in the business of buying poliical power to increase their profits the republican party will falter and fail. the Republican party left me... i did not leave them. I am sad over what the GOP has turned into the last few years, if you just folllow the money you will see that the Teaparty is not the "grassroots" common man movement it is a well orchestrated, scripted product veiled in a populist movement... please bring back the GOP i can support.

    November 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Bob58

    The GOP isn't even listening to their own Voters ..... In the last 2 Primaries GOP voters have chosen their most Moderate Candidate ...... yet they get persuaded to pick a far Right Running Mate and to push far Right Issues.... They're listening to the "LOUD Minority" and NOT their own Majority of voters.

    November 12, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Dallas

    Sounds like many of you are saying, let's lie to them and make them think we care to win them over and once we're in, we'll kick them to the curb. Do you think we are stupid? The rhetoric for this last presidential race, was race, race, race. "You don't look like me, therefore, you are not as American as I am." Do you think we will suddenly believe you care about immigration or respect a woman's right to privacy in regards to choices she makes about her future? As a Hispanic-American woman, the Republicans are flat out wrong, if they think I'll follow them if they change their stance on immigration but ramp up their sick need to control my body.

    November 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. ALL NORMAL CITIZENS OF AMERICA

    Republicans just don't get it .....no one is buiying that conservative crap anymore ......In our society here in America , conservative means ( white people who assume they are superior to everyone else ) . We ( liberals & progressives ) will continue to win the next few presidential elections . Liberals and democrats seem to do what;'s right for the country & it's people and not for party . Conservatives seem to want to relive that " good old boy " mantra by iinsulting every demographic as possibel. We , the ever increasing NEW majority of different races will do everyhting in our power to eliminate consevatism ( white rule ) by any means .

    November 12, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. I Could Have Been A Contendah

    I love how conservative after conservative blames "the process," the "message," or the "spin." Nothing about the legislation, the platform, the bigotry, the ignorance, etc.

    I love it because it ensures continued victories for the Democrats.

    November 12, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Contantine

    During WWII, my father enlisted in the Army to serve the only country he ever knew, and was immediately made a citizen of the USA, as were his friends from Italy, Ireland, England – yes, England, Greece, etc. who were also first generation Americans, whose families moved here when they were babies and small children. Just like Romney's father. I personally think Romney is so embarrassed by his Mexican roots, he actually hates himself, for never embracing his people and instead ran willingly into the arms of people he believes are his friends, but are actually a bunch of tea bagging kooks, just to prove how "American" he is.

    November 12, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Realityblowz

    Once the GOP slammed the Ron Paul supporters at the convention, they lost their youth base, and a huge amount of voters. What you did was very wrong. Did you actually think that you would carry the election without the Tea Party?

    November 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    The post-election (excessive) whining and soul-searching from the chicken-little-sky-is-falling right wing the-fiscal-cliff-is-coming fear-mongering lemmings is really getting old. GET OVER IT people!
    There's four more years of President Obama. Your GOP candidate lost for ONE simple reason. No-one with half a brain TRUSTED him !!!!!!! He told whomever was listening to him what they wanted to hear. He flip-flopped on EVERY issue and we all saw it during the debates.

    REALITY is that it's time for the GOP to roll up their sleeves and get thing done in DC. We've seen the stagnation, blocking and filibustering of jobs bill and other such legislation for the last four years being passed off as Obama's failed policies. IT WON'T WORK this go-round. We, THE PEOPLE have spoken and WE ARE WATCHING !!

    November 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Jerry

    I don't believe the GOP made any significant "tactical errors". The country has clearly moved to the left. The bad thing is we have just successfully rearranged the deck chairs on the titanic. This would have been true no matter who won. There simply is no political will from either party to fix the real problems. It is all about perception, the election and staying in power. It seems that few people are willing to question politicians. They just seem to take them at their word when there is no real evidence that they are trustworthy. The word "political" is considered to be a pejorative for a good reason.

    November 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Michael

    As long as the GOP is controled by the Extreme Right Wing of the party, and constantly listen to Fox (Fake) News, and Limbaugh lies they will become extinct!! Another 4 years they will lose many more old angry white men and have no other new groups of people to rely on. The younger generation of all people are becoming more accepting more progressive and as our country becomes more multi-cultural I don't see how this party can decide. If I was the GOP just looking at the once always RED battleground states turning purple. They should be very scared.

    November 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. ghostriter

    Did we really need someone to point this out?

    Romney ran on.....scratch that...republicans ran on some of the most ridiculous platforms out there. He was supposed to stick to the economy, but that tanked once things actually started getting better. Oh, and not being able to articulate a better economic plan than removing some loopholes that I can't tell you about right now doesn't count.

    Republicans brought up things like abortion on their own. Democrats would have been happy to talk about things like the wildly popular in the midwest auto bailout. Or the stimulus (especially since Paul Ryan took some). Or the unemployment numbers. But republicans couldn't. Things were getting better and state and local republicans like John Kasich constantly had to back peddle from sending good tidding to their constituents to cater to the Romney talking point of "things are worse now than 4 years ago".

    And that was Romney and republicans real issue. That they had no issues to run on. Once things picked up, they had no narrative. So they tried to create one on the fly. That is why they stuck with the Benghazi story as long as they did. They needed something....anything.

    Once their talking points were taken away, they just became desparate. Never a way to run a campaign.

    November 12, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. dave

    Ron Paul - the guy with the racist newsletter? Maybe???? Romney sould have made up his mind on at least one issue and stuck with it - One issue besides making the rich richer

    November 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Barbara

    I am a registered Republican, but the party no longer represents me. I agree wholeheartedly with Mike and Bob58. I would have supported a more moderate candidate like Jon Huntsman, but the right wing fanatics chased him right out of the race. The fact that Reince Priebus will be re-elected as chairman tells me that the Republican party is the one who is out of touch with reality. Until they bid farewell to Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, the fundamentalist leaders they will not be getting my support.

    November 12, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. TickTockMan

    So, Romney made some mistakes. Gee, no kidding. This from a man who says that Romney was "an extraordinary candidate." Thus the bar is lowered for what makes one extraordinary. The fact of the matter is, the GOP is now run by the social conservatives who were just the foot soldiers that Reagan needed to get elected, and that was reflected in the rhetoric and Romney's rightward shift that scared off the moderates. Combine that with the shifting national voter demographics away from white males, and Romney's own inconsistent stands and contempt for commoners, and you get exactly what happened.

    November 12, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Mike

    All this talk from far right wingers of the mistakes the party made to appeal to moderat voters (as per Evangelical leader Gary Bauers comments above) really makes me happy as a Democrat. The democratic party will rule for many, many years with the huge divide that exists in the Republican party. And boy does that bode well for the future of our country and our children.

    November 12, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. God Bless America

    The GOP is fractured no matter how much they try to change (yes the hopey and changey stuff, lol). Their moderates are welcome to join the Democratic party, the Inclusive party! FORWARD!!
    HaHaHaHa to Karl Rove
    Karl Rove = lame and lame= FAIL.

    November 12, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. noteasilyswayed

    I have been watching Republican talking heads on Fox News and they continue to think that the Congress can continue to obstruct and fight the President on every policy that he or the Democrats come up with..... as long as this continues to take place, the Republicans will continue to lose elections and people will leave their party by the thousands. The party of the angry, white, Protestant males will self destruct.

    November 12, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Sunny

    The bottomline is that the demographic is constantly changing and it is not in favor of GOP! The party has clearly demonstrated lack of concerns for other folks. A party that failed to embrace inclusiveness will continue to loose an election.

    November 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Iowa Mary

    Romney was a hollow man who had everything handed to him his whole life. I bet he is still just sitting there in a daze while the servants take care of all of his needs. He had no idea what real life is. Queen Ann 'chose' to stay home and raise the boys, oh really. How much help did she have with the cooking, cleaning, chaffeuring, gardening, shopping, etc. I would have loved to choose to stay home to raise my kids, but lower middle class didnt'have that option when i was in my 20s. Instead i worked full time, did all my own cooking, cleaning, child rearing and actually now that I am retired, feel pretty darn good about myself.

    November 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. rtr

    Mitt lost for one reason, he couldn't tell the truth if it slapped him in the face.

    November 12, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Laurie in Spokane

    I'm sure many people feel the same was as I: As long as the Republican party is controlled by, an kowtows to the far fundamentalist religious far right and tea partiers, they lose the moderate voters. In Romney's case, he was trying to please both ends of the spectrum and "chose poorly". Republican party: wise up, come up with some new ideas without tryng to run peoples lives.

    November 12, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. ohgran

    Those who have the wealth think that their wealth can buy them anything they want. The American people proved that not to be the case with the office of President of the United States. As they eat crow they are resorting to pointing fingers at each other. We watched as they worked to defeat the President and not work for the American people since inauguration day 2009. They want more tax cuts for the wealhy but we saw just how much "spare change" the wealthy had to support the PACs. Don't back down, Mr. President!

    November 12, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Name

    Republican should learn how to treat hispanic people otherwise they will never win the election.

    November 12, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. roadrunner2

    one thing I am sure Herman Cain is saying to the Republican party – – – "blame yourself !!"

    November 12, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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