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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. just sayin

    obama broke the laws of this nation to pander to hispanics and get their votes. obama and his lackey eric holder have attacked every state and person that actually enforce the immigration laws of this nation. and for this we should be proud??? wake up american people. you have criminals running this country. i guess you won't care until their lawlessness takes your right away. guess what? it already has.

    November 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. allenwoll

    "Fiscal Responsibility" in the operation of a business does NOT include throwing your customers out of work so that they can not buy your product, regardless of how cheaply it is offered ! ! !

    HOW did the GoPers ever come to thinking OTHERWISE ! ! ! . To me, THAT is a mystery - Outside of GREED !

    November 11, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Whatever......

    Kudos to Another Real American and Randy, San Francisco: the simple answer to what happened in this election: Romney didn't get enough votes to win! Romney's message was flawed! We didn't buy the line that if Obama won, that would be the end to life as we know it but most off all, we the people are not nearly as stupid as the tv pundits believe we are! Stop ingesting the poison from the right wing and you'll start feeling better.

    November 11, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. A Sneeky Drone

    Only a republican could see that he lost and then blame it on the fact that his values weren't emphasized enough. Its the fact that the majority of people don't like your values, you dope.

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. amazed2

    Gary Bauer no one is pro-obortion. That is the part of the equation that you people just don't seem to get in that debate.

    November 11, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. TR808

    Romney tried to be all things to all people and ended up as a person without conviction. Interesting that it should have been fairly easy to win this one and sure he got close, but maybe he was just the wrong guy. And yeah the GOP needs to focus in the fiscal message and drop their draconian old world social conservatism. Nobody cares about gay marriage. We all like women to control their bodies and choice. We do think there is value and validity in science and math. Faith-based anything is no better than the Taliban. Seriously time to wake up. You should've crushed it but instead are going out in flames.

    November 11, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. retief1954

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

    More evidence that Republicans just don't get it. They LOVE to portray the pro-CHOICE opposition as pro-ABORTION. Once again, they CHOOSE to NOT acknowledge reality. NOBODY wants more abortion, as any clear-thinking person can tell you. What pro-CHOICE people stand for is the need to retain the option of abortion as a SAFE and LEGAL option in America. The arrogance of men like Bauer, who try to insert themselves between a pregnant woman and her health, or insist that a pregnancy must NEVER be terminated for ANY reason, is astonishing. Then they wonder why they can't attract more votes at the polls.

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. Name

    For the love of god keep religion out of politics. Faith should be inspiring not inhibiting.

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Reader in So. California

    If Romney had focused his efforts on the economy and if he had remained the moderate that he was in Mass., he would have had a much better chance of winning.

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Seth

    The 47% has spoken! It's hard to beat any opponent if you spot them by 50% of the electorate. The Word states that "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speakeths"

    How could he have won anything after having disrespected 47% of the voting population. I am a military retiree and receive government entitlements and benefits. I am part of the 47%. So is Colin Powell. The GOP need to get back to being the party of Lincoln and Dr. MLK JR. They often refer to regan who was a democrat for over 32 years. Go figure!

    November 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    "Made some mistakes"? When are the Repubs going to man-up and just admit that their candidates simply said what they believed – and WERE REJECTED BY A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS?

    November 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @Reader in So. California: "If Romney had focused his efforts on the economy and if he had remained the moderate that he was in Mass., he would have had a much better chance of winning."

    If he had done that, he would never have been the GOP nominee in the first place.

    BTW, all these right-wingers like Fox and Limbaugh claiming that Mittens was defeated by the "Obama smear machine" need to review the GOP debates and see how the other GOP candidates were the ones doing the smearing. And, more important, it was the 30-minute attack ad, "The King of Bain," produced by none other than Sheldon "I hate Romney/Now I love Romney" Adelson that went a long way in revealing Mittens' tenure at Bain and the destructive impact it had on American companies and workers.

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Michelle (the good one)

    Mitt Romney lost for a number of reasons. I'll start with the subject of this article.
    1. If the only demograhic you won is the white male vote, you did not run a national campaign. This a America – a melting pot of races and creed.
    2. Mitt was not the choice of Republicans – he out spent and therefore out muscled the preferred candidates and therefore was the one they settled for – not a recipe for success. This a big reason why money can't buy you happiness.
    3. Demonizing the presidency by saying he is not American, he's a Muslim, he wasn't born here were all lies. Lies never prevail. Who would have felt good about someone being president under false pretenses other than Romney who wanted to be president more than life itself.
    4. Demonizing 47% of the people, taking an insulting position on immigration, caused outrage unlike Romney expected and able to overcome.
    5. Attempts to disinfranchise the vote in many states by decreasing days and times people could vote (Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania in particular) roused the anger of a lot of people. You tell black people they can't vote, and let me tell you, they are going to vote. Evidently that worked on a lot of other races, too.

    Never mind the constant changes in positions, not releasing tax info, and various miscues, these were the reasons why Romney lost.

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Stephen in VA

    This article points very clearly to what the GOP's problem is, but most of the GOP is too blind to realize it. The problem is the GOP doesn't know who it is as a party. Did they lose because of the far right? The near right? No, they lost because they didn't get enough votes, because yet again they forgot that we Indies in the middle are the ones who decide elections. You've got GOPers carrying on as though abortion is the #1 issue facing this nation. It's not. You've got GOPers carrying on as though immigration is the #1 issue facing this nation. It's not. But you guys need to go away and huddle in a corner long enough to figure out what you want it to mean to be GOP, and then come back and tell us when you're ready to play in the big arena.

    November 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Miami-Cuban

    Carlos Gutierrez should have been so brave to speak his mind BEFORE the election. Instead, he spewed the same "party line" rhetoric that those he now complains about we're feeding to him – Soledad O'Brien did a good job of cornering him in one priceless interview. What Romney should have realized was that his Hispanic advisers were comprised almost entirely of Cuban-Americans, who unlike any other Hispanic group in the nation do not have to suffer the stigma of being undocumented (thanks to the anachronistic Cuban Adjustment Act). That doesn't diminish the accomplishments that Cuban-Americans have made to this country, but it does explain why e Republicans are so out of touch and why so many other Hispanic groups fight for their own "adjustment act".

    November 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

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

    The U.S. abortion rate has been in steady decline since 1990 (source: Guttmacher Institute, which periodically surveys U.S. abortion providers). According to University of Alabama political science professor Michael New, "Abortion numbers go down when the economy is good and go up when the economy is bad."

    So, all you "pro-life" folks, here are a couple things you can do to help abortion rates continue their decline:

    1. Support President Obama's efforts to keep the economy improving.
    2. Support affordable access to contraception to reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies.

    November 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. sayer

    I hope the GOP keeps thinking like evangelical Gary Bauer. They will never win another presidential election. Women are not going back to being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.

    November 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @just sayin: "obama broke the laws of this nation to pander to hispanics and get their votes. "

    What laws were broken? If you're looking for law-breakers, look no further than all the U.S. citizens who hire illegal aliens in an effort to pay low wages without benefits. Your beef is with THEM.

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. David

    That isn't a "mistake"...it is the reality. All political issues we have today originates from a flawed primary system that gives more power to the tails of a distribution rather than the center. There is no way Romney would have gotten the nomination unless he catered to the fringe element. The TeaParty is a fringe element...yet if you look at their power, you would think they are the center of the Republican Parrty. This is a Republican Party problem. Let them deal with it. Arm a terrorist group and they will always use the arms against you when you piss them off. No difference here. Give the fringe more power than they deserve, it goes to their heads and there is no compromise.

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. JohnPeel

    Wasn't the messenger that lost, was the message. The GOP has embarked on a campaign of exclusion using a racist and prejudicial agenda as the litmus test. The same people they are excluding are rapidly growing in numbers in a changing demographic right before their very eyes. Too shortsighted to recognize or even contemplate those fact.

    "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results." – Albert Einstein -

    November 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    People who believe the GOP and its candidates deserve to be lied to.

    November 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Blurtman

    A wealthy white European American, Carlos Gutierrez, is an Hispanic minority!! Amazing!

    November 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Max

    PRESIDENT OBAMA....PERIOD.

    Whatever the cynics, skeptics, and naysayers think or say...our president is PRESIDENT OBAMA...and??????? There's nothing anyone does or says can change THIS FACT...PERIOD!

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. pennsylvania sage

    The British do it right: issues of conscience are not part of the party line. MPs are free to vote without party threats or idiotic pledges.
    The GOP perhaps will finally split.

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Everyman

    And the GOP remains in disarray. Keep it up, it's good news for the Dems :)

    November 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16