November 16th, 2012
04:54 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney's Hispanic chairman to create new immigration reform super PAC

(CNN) – After Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans failed to garner the support of the nation's fastest growing minority group in November's election, Carlos Gutierrez, the man who led Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters, said he and Republicans advocating for immigration reform are creating a super PAC in hopes of repairing the party's image among the pivotal voting block.

In an interview set to air in full Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley, Gutierrez also sharply criticized Romney's remarks made on a call Wednesday with donors following his loss in last week's election. Romney explained his loss in part by pointing to "gifts" President Barack Obama gave to certain groups that turned out in high numbers.

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Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, said he was "shocked" by Romney's comments.

"I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn't belong," he said. "We are the party of prosperity, of growth, of tolerance. I mean these immigrants who come across and what they do wrong is they risk their lives, they come here and they work because they want to be part of the American Dream."

The super PAC - Republicans for Immigration Reform - will be created with Charlie Spies, who worked for Romney in 2008 and was a co-founder of the largest super PAC backing Romney this election, Restore Our Future.

Gutierrez's super PAC, he said, extends to immigrants beyond just the Latino community and hopes to create a path to legalization for undocumented workers.

"First they have to be legalized and then you have to find a way to get into a line for the green card, but first some sort of legalization for the workers who are here. There'll be requirements and we'll have to negotiate some sort of requirements," he said.

During his campaign, Romney sought to bridge positions that appealed to both Hispanic supporters and the base of the Republican Party. Initially Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act, advocating for a path to residency, not citizenship, for undocumented immigrants serving in the military. Later he 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.

Admitting his candidate said a lot of things that were seen as anti-Latino, Gutierrez said he didn't know if Romney "understood that he was saying something that was insulting."

He added: "Perhaps it's just a lack of knowledge, a lack of intimacy with the community, but it bothers me when I hear someone use the term 'illegal alien.' I understand it's a legal term, but when a Latino hears that it is just, they cringe at that."

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Latinos • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. 1608

    Great more money coming from the unknown. By the way Mr.Gutierrez with all you know about many people in this party you stay.....WHY thay seem to like you as much as the flu.

    November 17, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  2. wigglwagon

    If Republicans do not start catering to criminals the way Democrats do, they are history.

    The '86 Amnesty produced about 3 times as many illegal aliens as were estimated. This time, I'm betting it will be at least 4 or 5 times as many as estimated. That is roughly another 50-60 million. The GOP really will be a thing of the past if they agree to that.

    The population of the United States has almost tripled in my lifetime. If these immigration 'reform' proponents get their way, there is a good chance it will quadruple in my lifetime.

    November 17, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  3. CBP

    The Republicans should heed his advice. They obviously did not during the campaign. The GOP needs to move away from the far right and their ideology to a place where people will be heard and their ideas welcomed. Mr. Romney could not do that. He felt he needed the right so badly that he waffled on some of his positions, He won the nomination but could not win the election because of this ideology.

    November 17, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Finally few republicans are listening to Latinos
    2010 and 2011 many republican state legislators introduced anti immigration bills some are passed some didn’t. Tone of the debate was uncivilized. End voters spoke in Election Day
    I wish they repeal Arizona SB 1070 Alabama HB 56

    November 17, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. GI Joe

    There they go again. The Republicans try every way they can to get more and more money from the people and for themselves.

    November 17, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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