September 27th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
1 year ago

Hispanic outreach: Mitt Romney’s largest error from 2012

(CNN) – Mitt Romney has had some time to reflect on what went wrong last November. His main conclusion: the Hispanic community didn’t understand his immigration stance well enough.

"The largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity," Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the lesson to be learned for GOP presidential campaigns of the future.

Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 40%, a loss seen to be in large part spurred by the perception of the Republican Party as antithetical to immigration reform.

"I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community," said Romney. "I want to see immigration reform. I said that during the campaign. I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country. I'd like to do that."

Exclusive: Romney disagrees with House GOP ‘tactics’ on Obamacare

Romney’s comments offer some of the most revealing insight into his thoughts on immigration and its role in his 2012 defeat to President Barack Obama.

Debates on how the GOP should adapt itself in the years to come have found a split between elements who think Republicans need to reach out better to Hispanic voters and those who view any immigration reform or pathway to citizenship as amnesty for lawbreakers.

The GOP has a long way to go if it wants to attract Hispanic voters, according to a new poll released Friday.

Half of Hispanics identify with the Democratic Party, according to the Public Religion Research Institute poll, compared to the 15% who identify with the GOP.

But the problem is more than just party identification, says the survey. Forty-three percent of Hispanics identified that the phrase "cares about people like you" more appropriately describes the Democratic Party, while 12% say the same for the GOP.

–CNN’s Dan Merica, Sherisse Pham and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (948 Responses)
  1. JimNamsium

    My largest strategic error? Running for office.

    September 28, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  2. Polos555

    "Not well understood"? He stood at the debate and stated that his immigration reform included self deportation. It was understood perfectly well. Blaming it on a community "not understanding" and insulting their intelligence is not a good start to winning them over.

    Just be honest with the American people you had to go to the fringe right to appease southern whites and the tea party just to win the nomination, then completely change gears and try to swing to the middle but it was too late. The solution is for moderate reasonable Republicans to break off from the tea party before this country becomes a one party system and The Democrats completely control every level of government by the next census in 2020.

    Outside of old whites, southern whites, and the wealthy, the rest of the country's hatred for this once great inclusive party is growing by the day.

    September 28, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. resident

    No, i think that the Hispanics understood the whole "self-deportation" wish all too well.

    September 28, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. Tx

    Well, you cant have it both ways. You cant be severely conservative and anti-immigration during the primary, and then expect that you can run a few TV ads to spin a more nuanced policy during the general election.

    September 28, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  5. Ed

    I dont think its hard to understand the GOP position on immigrants. They just dont like them.....

    September 28, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. Tight

    Dude, get over it already geesh!!!!!

    September 28, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  7. Will

    Romney certainly had his flaws, but Obama makes even George W. Bush look good.l

    September 28, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  8. Michael Parker

    While it is far from clear that the ACA will result in people moving away from employer-provided health insurance to the exchanges, such a prove would be a long-term positive. Employer-based insurance has helped millions secure coverage. But it is not without serious disadvantages. It inhibits job mobility and hides the true cost of coverage from those who are insured. A move away from employer-based coverage and toward the exchanges, if it happens in a gradual, cost-neutral or cost-reducing way, could actually be a positive for our country.

    September 28, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  9. jnpa

    "I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community," said Romney. Let me tell you Mitt, it's not well understood by most people, not just Hispanics.

    "The largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity,".... – The "party of opportunity" Mitt? Really? Who told you that? The conservative talk show hosts?

    September 28, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  10. truth is

    My largest strategic error was being Mitt Romney

    September 28, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  11. Fred

    Mitt Romney's biggest strategic error was that he thought he was qualified to be president. The blind arrogance
    of this guy thinking that he just didn't communicate his message presumes that he had the right message.
    Maybe he was just an elitist who the people saw right through and rejected outright. Something they
    should have done with OBummer too...

    September 28, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  12. Awake The State

    "The largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity," Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the lesson to be learned for GOP presidential campaigns of the future.

    I see Mr. Romney still has no idea what went wrong with his campaign. If he views this as his largest error, he needs to go back and redo his post mortem of the most recent campaign.

    Terrifyingly, this spin sounds like he's gearing up for yet another run... God help us.

    September 28, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  13. Jack Black

    Blame it on Minorities, so typical of the GOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  14. maggie

    Didn't he advocate "self-deportation?" I think immigrants understood his policy better than he thinks.

    September 28, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  15. Chuck

    He never learned how to relate to the 93%.

    September 28, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  16. Franco

    Like you lost, get over it.

    September 28, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  17. Kristin

    Thank god he wasn't elected!

    September 28, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  18. eugene

    This article needs to be filed under the nobody really cares section,he needs to go away!!!

    September 28, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  19. joe palmer

    Once again, he shows how clueless and tonedeaf he is. Hispanic voters (as well as women and blacks understood ALL too well what Romney and his greedy party stood for. The only reason he didn't poll below 45 % was that he and his party are shored up by legions ot poor, white ignorant, racists residing in Red states and voting blindly for a party that despises them; one day they'll catch on and there won't BE a republican party anymore

    September 28, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. Spartan95

    Romney's biggest strategic error was entering the race in the first place.

    September 28, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  21. Ramon F Herrera

    Well, well, well... If this is not a kick in the [spherics] of the GOP racists, I don't know what is...

    September 28, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  22. Chris

    Revisionist history.

    September 28, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  23. susie

    Is romney implying that we don't speak English? There he goes again insulting.

    September 28, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  24. Bob

    Self deportation does not sound like 'opportunity.' And, self deportation was pretty easy to understand.

    September 28, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  25. truthteller

    His biggest tactical error was flip flopping on every position he'd held just 2-3 years ago, including Romneycare.

    September 28, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
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