September 27th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
7 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. Bruce Eder

    That's some excuse, coming from the man who, during the primaries, talked about "self-deportation" as though he had invented the wheel - sorry, Mitt, but we're not buying what you're selling, not in 2012 and not now, either.

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

    Hispanics should stay away from the Republican Party if they know and want what is best for themselves and this nation. In my life, I have only seen difficult times when a Republican is the President. The Republicans want everyone to submit to their values and refuse to acknowledge that others who may not submit to their values deserve the right to be different whether they agree with it or not. They coach it in their religious values but would not appreciate others denying them the right to live out their values while they deem it acceptable to deny the same rights to others...That is hypocritical and a recipe for disaster for a nation. Stay away from the Republican Party....The dying out and fading away of the GOP is probably the best for America's political process.

    September 28, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. TX JIM

    Telling someone to "self deport" before you even introduce yourself isnt a good way to reach out to them.. That may work in the hedge fund world.. but in the real world you have to actually care for someone besides yourself and the people who give you money.

    September 28, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Winston5

    How about "47%" ?????

    September 28, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Twons

    While his stance on immigration may have caused him to lose votes that ultimately cost him the election, Mr Romney also failed to connect with voters on other levels. While he had a lot of support from both fiscal & religious conservatives, no matter what he said, or did, his big business background prevented him from appearing to be a president who understood & supported the ordinary struggling middle class voter.

    September 28, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Marinedad05

    I think, the "47%" comment was why you lost..

    September 28, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. John

    No Mitt, they understood your party perfectly...you still don't get it.

    September 28, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Michele

    Jeez Mitt – after all this time, you're STILL wrong. Your BIGGEST mistake was running in the first place, your worst strategic error would be in thinking you could express your REAL feelings about Americans with fewer ill-gotten gains than yourself and your family and not imagine it would make it into the public realm. Fact is, it is the 1% who will never take personal responsibility; all they take is every penny they can from people who actually WORK for a living. You and Ann just stay in your little fairy tale world and leave the rest of us alone. We didn't like your message then and we like it even less now. Go away – spend your retirement riding your car elevator up and down by the sea.

    September 28, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. Brian

    He and the entire GOP are completely delusional if they think Hispanic outreach was the reason they lost the presidential election. However, it may all be a moot issue if the GOP tries to extort the country by allowing a government shutdown. Because if it happens, the party is dead. It'll be the Tea Tards, yelling and screaming like 4 years olds, standing in the corner and holding their collective breath until they get their way. And who does the GOP have to blame? I'm sure it'll be Obama's fault but they only have Ronald Reagan to blame.

    September 28, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Patokev

    Mr. Romney, we've heard enough. You also said during the election it would help if you were Hispanic or had Hispanic family. I mean c'mon!

    September 28, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Chris

    Hard to reach out to Hispanics when you and your party hate them.

    September 28, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Granite Sentry

    No, his biggest error was trying to run as a blank slate nice guy. That only works for Dems.

    September 28, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Becky White

    There were so many errors. Telling Hispanics to "self-deport" was a small one compared to his dislike for 47% of the country. People won't for you when you say you don't like them!

    September 28, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. nugget

    He should have release all his tax returns, and early in the game, to dispel all the questions that arose. If, that is, releasing them wasn't committing political suicide. I guess we'll never know there.

    September 28, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  15. anothermuse

    Romney's loss was a result of having to bow to the far right/tea pary elements of the party. Romney is a moderate as he proved in Mass, however moderates can't survive GOP primaries. While parts of GOP believe that they lost because they didn't campaign far enough to the right, that's completely insane.

    A moderate Romney, not pandering to the extremes, doesn't make the 47% comment at the fund raiser. That's a tea party rally cry. And a moderate Romney probably beats a President seen as too left (by independents) who had not shown economic results in his first term. An inclusive Romney campaign would probably have won.

    September 28, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. jzap

    Sweet !! As long as the tea party is around demo rates don't have to worry about the White House. GOP vs GOP will doom every effort. Christie has the guts right now to stand up for what's right but I don't know if he will be like Mcain and cave in when push comes to shove. Time will tell and if Hilary decides to enter the race then she has it won, not only because she is the best candidate, but she has a united group to carry her to the White House. Oh man I can see all the GOP burn for a year knowing Bill is back in the White House. Sounds like a good time.

    September 28, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Palintologist

    Mitt Romney's "largest strategic error" was his iPhone-captured, pejorative dismissal of "those people": 47% of his fellow
    Americans. Thank God the intrepid Scott Prouty was there to record the "wardrobe-malfunction" of a "wolf-in-sheep's-
    clothing!"

    September 28, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Ralph

    I hate to say it but his biggest mistake was running for office. This country can't allow people who look down on others because their not wealthy to be in office.

    September 28, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. palebluedot

    He still is and was the wrong man to try and lead the GOP quest. They have to really rethink the way this country is changing and they are stuck in a time warp of the fifties.

    September 28, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. soriyacompany

    He's right in that if had really reached out to Hispanics on that issue, he would have won.

    September 28, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. ldean50

    Poor Romney ... doesn't even realize his biggest mistake was the 47% crack, that revealed him to be the elitist he is. He was misguided because he and his family are top dawgs in the LDS church; he assumed he was also one outside the state of Utah.

    September 28, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. paul

    I am a white man and a citizen. I do not understand any of his proposals, much less the immigration for hispanics. This guy, if elected, would have been the confuser-in-chief.

    September 28, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Joseph D'Amico

    Don't forget not releasing your tax returns!

    September 28, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. DS

    Blah, blah, blah.....is he still on this subject? Seriously? It's past. Done. Over. No matter what he reminisces about as the excuse why he didn't win it won't matter. In fact, there is nothing he could have done to win. He is not "for the people" or intelligent enough on his own to run a country. The minute he opened his mouth with the platform of ruling this country on Christianity's made up rules, control, and abuse....he was done. I believe in God although not the in the illusory version that men of history imposed on the world to control money and people. Unfortunately, Romney is old world and that is not about Health or Confidence. It is about insecurity and fear.

    September 28, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. SteveinMN

    Largest strategic error? Running to be the President of the Top 2% Earners of America.

    Duh.

    September 28, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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