November 14th, 2012
07:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Jindal slams Romney for 'gifts' comment about minorities, young voters

(CNN) – Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana fiercely shot back at Mitt Romney’s claim Wednesday that President Barack Obama outmatched the 2012 Republican presidential nominee by offering "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics and young voters.

“I absolutely reject that notion,” Jindal, who was a surrogate for Romney’s campaign, said at the Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas. “I think that's absolutely wrong.”

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“I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party,” he continued. “That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election.”

Romney made the comments on a call with top donors Wednesday afternoon, various news outlets have reported. The former Massachusetts governor also made similar arguments on a separate call earlier in the morning, CNN confirmed.

"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.

Romney, who lost to Obama by 126 electoral votes, said the president courted voters by offering policies - some of them this election year - that appealed to key constituencies.

"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said, according to The New York Times.

"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

The president's health care reform plan, he added, also brought out support from African Americans and Hispanic voters.

"You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you're now going to get free health care, particularly if you don't have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge," he said. "Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group."

But Jindal, when asked about Romney’s remarks, said in order for the GOP to be “competitive,” it has to “go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.”

Jindal’s criticism seemed to take latent swipes at Romney’s “47%” comments that were secretly recorded earlier this year. At a May fund-raiser, Romney argued that nearly half of Americans were “victims” who were “dependent” on the government, referring to the number of people who aren't required to pay federal income taxes. Those voters, he argued, sided with Obama.

Following up on Jindal's remarks, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker–who was sitting on a panel with Jindal when the Louisiana governor fired off–said the GOP isn't "just for people who are currently not dependent on the government."

"It's for all Americans," he continued, adding that the Republican Party is the party "that helps people find a pathway to live the American Dream."

A spokesperson for Romney did not return a request for comment about the call.

Romney, who has stayed away from the public spotlight since losing the election last week, had another call Wednesday morning with a couple dozen people who were part of the financial leadership of his campaign, but he did not make the same “gifts” comment.

The former nominee did say on that call that he really respected how the Obama administration was able to “craft” specific policies that ended up attracting the support of key demographic groups. He mentioned contraceptive coverage, as well as student loan policies that were important for young adults, according to one participant on the call.

He said he was sorry and disappointed that he lost but added his team had put everything it could into the election.

“We didn’t leave anything on the field,” one donor on the call told CNN.

He talked about how turnout was a lot lower this year, mentioning how the president got fewer votes than he did four years ago and that he got less than the 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain, received.

Romney told the donors he wanted to stay involved in public policy in some form, but he did not provide any details.

Romney's remarks come after top Republicans in recent days have pushed for a bigger tent party, saying the GOP learned this election that it has work to do in terms of demographic changes.

"We've got to be a lot more inclusive and open and energetic and wanting people to join our team by expressing why these conservative values are good for people of all races, creeds, colors, and national origin," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, previously a top surrogate for Romney, said last week on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

"We've just got to do a better job with that,” said McDonnell.

McDonnell expanded his remarks Wednesday and joined in on the discussion with Jindal and Walker at the conference. He argued the class of Republican governors is more diverse than the group of Democratic governors.

"They have, I think, two women and minorities. We have seven. We're not keeping score, but the point is," he said, pausing as some in the audience began to laugh. "Well, sometimes. We are keeping score. 30-19, that's the score that matters."

McDonnell is currently the outgoing chairman of the RGA, while Jindal will chair the group in 2013.

In the presidential race, Obama won 93% of the African-American vote, 71% of the Latino vote and 60% of those between the ages of 18 and 29. Romney, meanwhile, took 59% of the white voting bloc, according to CNN exit polls.

On the Democratic side, women and minorities made historic gains this election. For the first time, women and minorities will outnumber male Democrats in the House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate will have a record number of women – 20 - when the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Romney, on the 20-minute call, said he was "disappointed" with the final election tally and "hadn't anticipated it." Looking ahead, Romney said the party is "still so troubled by the past (that) it's hard to put together our plans for the future," according to The Los Angeles Times, which also appeared to be on the call.

Speaking to the donors, Romney praised them for their success in fundraising and suggested they help with "perhaps the selection of a future nominee - which, by the way, will not be me."

The campaign's finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, said on the call that Romney's team had raised more than $900 million; Romney added he had not expected to take in more than $500 million, according to The Los Angeles Times.

In the morning after the comments, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who played the role of Rep. Paul Ryan in debate prep for Vice President Joe Biden, characterized Romney's words as "way off base."

"To go after the president's vote on the basis of we protected more young people from catastrophic health care costs, that we wanted to make sure people have access to birth control and those kind of things, I think is going to strike the American people as kind of very off-kilter," Van Hollen said on CNN's "Starting Point."


Filed under: 2012 • Latinos • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (608 Responses)
  1. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    These sour grapes and the talks of secession tell me what cowards and traitors the Republicans truly are. Instead of sucking it up and fighting the good fight they make excuses and take their ball and head home. Leave the country, secede or cry us a river but this is a country 52 % not yours and we are intent upon making a go of it. Help us or don't but we are tired of your infantile sore loser whining.

    November 15, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  2. Seriously

    I voted for Obama because of him raising my pell grant...his statement is true.

    November 15, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  3. AthensGuy

    What a loser. Still thinks we are all the 47%. Perpetuating the myth that is dividing us.

    November 15, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  4. JerPell

    The welfare hand-out crowd which now outnumbers the working crowd thinks Obama is Santa Claus!
    I hate to say it but we are witnessing the sure steady decline in this great country from with-in....

    November 15, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  5. maria Bryan

    Thats the way the GOP always think about the middle class, but we all starting to get a clair picture of them

    November 15, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. jimbojonesiv

    And Romney's campaign promised "gifts" to his doners. Which one is more or less moral than the other?

    November 15, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. John

    After reading Romney"s remarks about why he lost, I think we voted the right man in.

    November 15, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  8. Al

    Obama is a deadbeat criminal. He would do anything to get one vote. Sell his birthright. If you could prove where he was born.

    November 15, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. Andrew Hyatt Masset

    Always knew this guy had no class...now he just proved it. When he blames people for his loss at the polls..guess what ahoile...they voted AGAINST YOU!! because you are a phony, a liar, a cheater and many more reasons. This is why i have come to hate the republiklan party...this behavior alon with their draconian ideas and racist views...this is why you lost and will continue to do so until your party and your kind dissapear for ever.

    November 15, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  10. Flgirl

    I agree with Romney. So sad you have to offer the take from the so called haves to win an election in this country.

    November 15, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  11. Redhead176

    You bet it made a difference how many goodies Obama offered to get votes. It's all about "What's in it for me." Not what is better for the country. Just like the old joke about the two kids running for 7th grade president. One offers improved policies and a better school environment and the other offers free ice cream. Guess who wins? Most of our young voters and many of the older ones too would rather have free "ice cream" than a more fiscally responsible govt.

    November 15, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  12. Piry

    Talking about someone that has been desilusional. No wander he lose the election. He still out of touch and continue mocking the same 47% that cause to him lost the election. LOSER!!!!!!! Guess he didnt learn the lessons of the elections or he has the need to justify to his masters (1%) why the almost 1 billion investment didnt produce the results they were expecting.....Ouch

    November 15, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. Al

    Funnhy how CNN coivers for this criminal of a president. Even censoring according to their lackluster standards. Bottom line is that 50 % of Americans stand AGAINST this liar. CNN is part of the problem !! Censor that. Doesn't matter. You don't have 10 % of the viewers compared to the true source of news FOX!!

    November 15, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  14. Anne

    Romney is correct. Truth hurts, but it is still the truth.

    November 15, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  15. john

    Good heavens - Romney truly hate the 47% of our population. I hope the voters will remember his pronouncements as the core republican policy statements during the next mid-term election. Wow......on what planet are these people!!!

    November 15, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  16. bess moore

    Romney is a sore loser! He and many others thought they had it in the bag. Nope! The American people are smarter than that. Go away Mitt. Money can't buy love or loyalty. Just go away. Take the Trumpeter with you. God bless America! Hooray!

    November 15, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  17. John Tom Caulker

    Romney sounded honourable when he accepted defeat after the elections. he even earned my respect, knowing how much he wanted the presidency. But his comments about Obama offering gifts to win votes, makes me sick and it goes to show him being a very dishonourable man. And may I ask, "How did Romney and his campaign team use the millions his campaign funds?" "mr romney, please move on, you lost!

    November 15, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  18. Sagebrush Shorty

    Jindal may not like it, but Romney is correct.

    November 15, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  19. bill

    Someone should tell Romney he lost and his excuses are as lame as his performance.

    November 15, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  20. cm

    Thanks President Obama for your gifts, I know Romney has more money than you do. But he offered nothing to the American people.Selfish, keep your money and your ideas,

    November 15, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  21. dunracin

    Romney and Jindal are both wrong! They left out the ignorant white voters who also want the government to supply all of their wants, needs and desires. I can't wait for this pathetically blind half of our country to realize what it is REALLY costing them!

    November 15, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  22. Desel

    Come on Mitt, adMITT it, the reason you lost was because of your arrogance, you are not trustworthy and you and Paul Ryan have problems telling the truth.

    November 15, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  23. Jason

    Funny how nobody brings up the $8000 I got from Obama to buy my house...it got my wife's vote...not mine

    November 15, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  24. T

    No, Mr Romney. You lost because you're an elitist snob who has no clue what it is like to live the life of an average American.

    I did not vote for gifts. Rather pompous of you to assume the mindset of any Obama voter. For you to honestly believe that is such a sad, sorry excuse.

    Please hasten your trip to obscurity and irrelevance.

    November 15, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  25. bear

    The american electorate gave the U.S. a gift by not electing this lying phony.

    November 15, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
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