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. Hobo

    If the Republicans want to endure as a national party they are going to have to begin to welcome people who believe in things other than what they believe in, like science and math.

    November 11, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. shindigg

    "obama broke the laws of this nation to pander to hispanics and get their votes"
    what in the world are you talking about?

    "wake up american people. you have criminals running this country"
    you must be confusing the current administration with the previous one...you know, the crony pocket lining, surplus squandering, wrong country invading, depression causing, giggling, murdering disaster monkey fuehrer...held completely unaccountable for any of it too...(so many of mitt robbed me's advisors where from the bush crime family–all hiding out waiting to slither back into power so they could steal the SSI and medicare money they missed last time while they stole 1/2 the 401K money and caused a depression and a lot of dead and maimed people....

    November 11, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Name

    Romey lost on his inability to hold a stance and comments he made that allowed his true colors to show and keep him from being elected. with the electoral vote what it is there's no doubt America looked through the facade that was romney and made its choice

    November 11, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Cellar Rat

    Well of course they want to allow immigrants to maintain residency. It all feeds into the myth of job creation. Without immigrants who could they hire to clean their mansions, manicure their expansive lawns or drive them around in their expensive cars? Residency is different than a path to citizenship. They don't want them to be able to get an education or start to think for themselves, or God forbid, VOTE as a citizen. The Angry Old White Men are terrified of becoming a minority. Perhaps that's because minorities are treated as second class citizens?

    November 11, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Your mistakes are broader and deeper than that.

    November 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. jorge washinsen

    This election proved this country is now in the hands of welfare benefits and nothing will turn it around.

    November 11, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. H

    It's deeper than that.

    Romney's 47 percent comment is an insult to any American who needed some help during the worst time since the Great Depression.

    Many of us never forgot that comment as we stepped into the voting booth.

    November 11, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. e vasquez

    The Republican party has done this to themselves. With their greed, and selling of American jobs overseas, voting for big business, and not caring about what is in the best interest of the American people. I for one am tired of my nation failing to be in competition, to other nation's. When I vote for a Senator or a Congressmen, I expect them to be my voice in D.C., not serve their best interest in who can buy their vote on Capitol Hill. And, this is where the Repblican Party is right now. You belong to the interest groups that can purchase your vote. You don't care about me, and my daily toil to make a living or get by. I live in Texas, and it is unreal here our Govenor is a joke, he is also a Reublican. And, for a fact the two people that were elected to Congress are a joke also. and they are both Republican. I would love to have a federal auditor, come down here, and audit the state of Texas. Find out just how the revenue that is collected, is spent for the upkeep of our state.

    November 11, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Pete

    @just sayin,explain what laws were broken or zip it ..Your own candidate in Miami said he'd wish he were Hispanic when he has relatives he's never met in mexico,nice ha!! And Pres.Obama has had more illegal immigrents self deport or otherwise than all your republican racists all together,check those facts bud!!Pres.Obama isn't pandering ,its your party that can't see through their own smoke screen they set up for others ..Your candidate pandered to anyone with a pulse but never stayed with the program because just as you he was not only arrogent but ignorent as well not knowing when to shutup when he was ahead and constantly putting his foot in his mouth just as you are doing now..So for people like you not knowing when to stop whinning the election is over and your party as a whole will be extinct if they don't work with this president in two years because they have their backs against the wall,not the president if you haven't realized it ,either change their ways or move on...You've obviously haven't seen what happened to your teaparty bums in recent elections nationwide,more will follow if they don't work for the people not corporate America and that's a fact you can vote on!!

    November 11, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    That was very insightful, and Secretary Gutierrez has eloquently expressed what was happening out there.

    The bothersome part of it for me was that he said the primary process "hardened" Romney's position on immigrant. In other words, Romney had to take some right-wing positions in order to get votes. Whatever happened to just saying what you believe, trying to win voters to your position, and - win or lose - walk away with your integrity intact.

    November 11, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. 1twinsfan

    How many times GOP do you have to be told to quit saying "Wetback. Oh, you're a citizen? Then can I have your vote?" The color one's skin only indicates ethnicity, not nationality.

    November 11, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. H

    I did not appreciate Romney pandering to Netanyahu.

    I was put off by his comment that Israeli Jews are culturally superior to Palestinians.

    I was put off by the fact that when Romney went to Israel, he did not even meet shelly
    Yamichovich – the Labor party leader. It would be like a foreign candidate coming here and refusing to meet John boehner while at the same time meeting all the Democrats.

    Jews voted mostly Obama so Romney's pandering did not help him. Good for Jewish voters!

    And a lot of others were put off by his
    pandering so it hurt him.

    November 11, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. DL

    Right now it's critical for Republicans..if they don't purge the party of the 'birthers' and tea party nuts there is simply no hope for them. The electorate used to lean Republican, the last election it was in transition, and now it leans democratic..which means they have an uphill battle (that the Dem's always had). The other problem is, they were all unified and motivated by their hatred of Obama..that simply won't be the case anymore, it united them this time..next time their moderates will fall away and the party will shrink even more. Either they purge the nuts or it's who they become.

    November 11, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. wigglwagon

    "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."

    Gutierrez and lots of other so called leaders think swing voters are the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

    November 11, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Sorensen

    Romney's biggest mistake was to run.

    November 11, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. honest marie

    Lessons #1. Cuban Americans no longer dictate the politics of the the big H-demographic.

    November 11, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. No Likey Romney

    Romney lost because he is Republican. Republicans want to eliminate social security, intrude on women's reproductive choices, and return to discrimination based on race or sexual orientation. That is out of step with the mainstream. Republicans want to pander to the wealthiest few and the corporate elite. Corporations are not people, my friends, despite what Romney believes. Corporations are corporations and we do not want a fascist country. Republicans tried to suppress our ability to vote; they failed. They think we're all Christian; we're not. They need to change in order to be based in reality. President Obama has inspired a generation, put affordable healthcare at the forefront and represents the future.

    November 11, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Mike

    I liked Reagan, I liked Clinton, I liked Gore, I did not like George W. Bush, I liked Obama's hope and change message in 2008, I think he failed us, I liked Romney, the man, his experience and his vision, Obama will fail us for another 4 years ... it may be too late for USA.

    November 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. time

    Why is the media always asking Cubans to comment on Hispanic voters? They don't represent Hispanic voters at all. They are only 4% of all Hispanics. If Romney had won Florida, he still woud have lost the election! I bet Romney's Hispanic advisors were mostly Cubans and that's why he got such bad advice. lol

    The media and the GOP are CLUELESS.

    November 11, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Pacifico

    yes, tell us more, Senor Bauer, about the proper strategy to bring Latinos to the GOP. You're vast expertise on the subject is well acknowledged.

    HA! I love watching the GOP eat itself alive. The Right is dying, thank goodness, and it's doing in the most entertaining way possible!

    November 11, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Spock500

    "Carlos Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, blamed the Republican primary process..."

    For the second straight election cycle, the Republican Party spills the beans...

    November 11, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Rayray

    Canidates wants to blame everyone else for their campaign failure In their campaign. You only have yourself to blame in How your campaign ended. "Let's blame the Republican Party for Mitt Romney losing election. " Remarks from Romney's former advisor To the campaign " The far right of the Republican Party Is to blame For him losing the election. He lost the election He flip flop on many issues.

    November 11, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. debi

    Both these fools STILL mis the whole problem. We don't live in the DARK ageswhere far right ideals matter to most SANE people. Mrgoing more anti-abortion is taking America backwards. And lying about immigration and forcing any people into cubby holes and conning into thinking their voive matters will get you right where you are GOP. Irrelevant! THIS is 2012, NOT 1812. Until you rich white guys and your out of control religious fanatics join the human race you will STAY irrelevant. I don't want any bunch of wealth white guys telling me I must and how to pray, whether I must have kids, paying me less for equal work, controlling my decisions or to keep lying about climate change. You're mostly a bunch of control freaks hell bent or running America into extinction. You are a dying breed. Like the dinosorues and the Mammoth. God will not saveyour butts. He knows how to handle you guys. Better keep an eye open. He may show up to teach you about the 10 Commandments you so frequently ignore to benefit yourselves and use to frighten innocent people.

    November 11, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Dave Harris

    I guess you could say that promising to be so nasty to them that they'd all self-deport was a 'mistake', but it was the only way he could get support of the Republican Party, which hates Hispanics. Don't take it personally; they also hate gays, women, scientists, foreigners in general, and anybody who doesn't go to their church.

    November 11, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. SK-B

    What a strange analysis: That the primary process, " forced Romney to harden his immigration stance in an appeal to the far-right wing of the Republican Party."

    It is an frank acceptance of the notion that Romney does not have an authentic policy on anything – only a "stance" meant to garner votes.

    November 11, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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