September 27th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
10 months 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. works4me

    Hey Romney... I'm good... thanks though.

    September 28, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. GubnitSPY

    I'm not Hispanic, Better mull it over another 10 months Mitt until you get the bigger picture.... Poverty = injustice so what does that make you Mr criminal of the first order? Yes thts right I'm calling you a criminal for being over wealthy. the 99% want someone that represents THEM and its not YOU. Money is NOT the answer to mankind's ills. Wake up ...or give up you loser.

    September 28, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. sadlyperturbed

    He can't see that his largest error was playing to the rich in America instead of the majority. The Hispanic vote was only a part of his problem.

    September 28, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  4. bosco111

    He has it backwards. I was the informed hispanic voter that properly chose the Democratic ticket over the Republican one. It is ridiculous of Romney to try to portray the Republican party as one of inclusion. It is blatantly an old white man's party with little tolerance or love for others. What is scary is how close he came to winning anyway.

    September 28, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  5. Rick

    If Mitt had won the election , we can see by now, America would be on track for a better future

    September 28, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. Colleen Kelly Mellor

    Right off the bat, Romney suggests 'they'" (the Spanish-speaking community) didn't understand it...Not that his team screwed up, in relaying the message. Look at how he interprets the situation...It's a floorplan for all the Republican missteps: Reposition the responsibility...reassign it elsewhere... "Folks just don't understand how we can help them" might be their continual warcry...

    September 28, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. jakibros

    Mitt Romney is still blind as ever. Your BIGGEST strategic error was dismissing 47% of America.

    September 28, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. nycjerseyboy

    i guess his lack of message to Hispanic voters did him in, then again, he would've discounted 47% of them anyway...

    September 28, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. Katherine Miles

    As always Romney has it ass backwards. His problem was that the Hispanic community understood his immigration stance all too well.

    September 28, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. JAKE

    He lost because he didn't continue to point out the failures of Obama's programs. He let Obama dictate the arguments.

    September 28, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. Nat Pernick

    What a morally sick individual! Despite being born into, and living a privileged life, he shows no understanding or even compassion for others less fortunate. He thinks it's all about strategy. I'm sure his father, our former Governor, who would not fit within the modern GOP, must be turning in his grave.

    But what's even more troubling is not that there are more sick people like him, or that they have so much power, but that so many Americans support him and his views. This is part of the decline in America, when we elect so many people to public office who simply don't care about most of their fellow Americans. Will we as a nation survive this type of thinking?

    September 28, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  12. Paul B

    Mitt, Mitt, Mitt. its not the Hispanics and you. It's you and the GOP vs. the Hispanics. The people know that no matter what you say it's the ultra conservative right wing that will rule the day and lose the election every time. Rebranding means only a superficial change and you and the GOP need to change from the inside out. Good luck you will need it.

    September 28, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  13. KT

    So, when people don't like your plan, all of a sudden "they don't understand it?" Either that or this pompous jerk just called the entire Hispanic community STUPID.

    September 28, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Platofish

    "I think my position . . . is not well understood at the Hispanic community". Didn't Mitt get the message he lost the election? His position is of no consequence.

    September 28, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. DemFromSC

    Sure Mittens, the GOP is the "party of opportunity". The majority of voters correctly identified you as the candidate for the rich and powerful, and as anti-immigration. Your famous "47%" comment sealed your fate, as it should have. See you on the yacht (not)!

    September 28, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. D. Donavel

    Romney still thinks he was deficient in getting his message across. I disagree. I think he was as clear as possible. He explained that he thinks 47% of the population are irresponsible takers. People heard him and responded at the polls.

    September 28, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. JC

    Way to place the blame on the Hispanic community. Yeah, they didn't understand you. Obviously their fault. If only they were smart enough to realize...

    September 28, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  18. Finch

    No, really. What happened is that more people voted for Barack Obama than him. They didn't want him as president. He couldn't "invest" his way there.

    September 28, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. Barry

    Hilarious. Mitt's largest error? Being Mitt. Not reaching the Hispanic vote is like saying this pimple caused my cancer. I know it's hard to admit when people just don't like you or your principles, but Mitt, we just don't like you or your principles. You're about as in touch with mainstream America as Ted Cruz the Canadian believing he can be President. Go away now.

    September 28, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. Profbam

    How about a total inability to relate to anyone who makes less than $1million per year combined with being a pathological liar. How can anyone trust someone who makes an important policy statement in an interview and then sends out his press aid two hours later to say that he lied during the interview? Romney just does not get it and obviously never will.

    September 28, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. mj connor

    Mitt made a lot of mistakes, like hiding his taxable income in offshore accounts & lying to the American people. He never was presidential material. He only served other millionaires.

    September 28, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  22. BA

    ...Except that he said during the primary he didn't support that. He miscalculated the fact people record what he says in the primaries. There is something cognitively missing with this guy.

    September 28, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. Crocker

    Romney's BIGGEST error was telling the American people he was going to put them back to work. Fifty one percent said the heck with that and went with Obama and his handouts.

    September 28, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  24. Truth Today

    The truth is Romney's stand on immigration is reflective of most Republicans. While it was acceptable for White Europeans to add to the nation's population, since Hispanics could fundamentally shift the culture, then it is not acceptable to give them citizenship like you would a White European. When White America acknowledges this internal and often unspoken stand based in White racism, then the immigration debate will cease and Hispanics will be afforded the same opportunity as others to become naturalized US citizens. Why can't Romney and other Republicans just acknowledge that citizenship should be afforded to Hispanics who are not citizens. They often respond by turning it into a debate about legal or illegal entry–An argument that could not exist with European immigrants since their arrival via ships was monitored. Every Hispanic should ask them the tough question and acknowledge their racist based response if they dodge the question about why not giving them full citizenship and without delay.

    September 28, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  25. Mr_Blunder

    He had so many strategic errors how can he remember them. Not courting the Hispanic vote was small compared to not having a plan for the country. To replace ACA with status-quo was a gotcha but the worst was not releasing his taxes and when cornered he countered with deception. It was at that point I felt he was not to be trusted. Trust was and is key and his lack of trustfulness was his biggest undoing. You can't teach trust you just need to have it and he didn't.

    September 28, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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