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. 47%er

    As my husband and I try to assure our 3 little ones that living in our car is just temporary, I keep hearing mitts voice saying "I'm not concerned about the very poor-we have systems in place for them" Ha! I guess he can't see past his piles of cash to see that the system for the very poor is broken. We became homeless after being laid off. I would take ANY job, but have not found one in the past year and a half. We can't even put our names on a housing list for 2 more years. We receive the maximum help our state offers, and are living in our car 90% below the poverty level. Great system mitt, way to stay in touch with the voters. Now calling people too stupid understand your views?? Can you understand why the poor people and minorities hate you?

    September 28, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. theraven1971

    no Mitt, your strategic error was pandering to the TEAnderthals to win the nomination and thinking the majority of people in this country would forget the things you said. To sum it up, your strategic error was changing your position on single issues multiple times to fit your audience, whoever that was at the time you were speaking. Once you understand that we, collectively, aren't as dumb as some of you politicians believe, then that's when you'll have a real chance at winning.

    September 28, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. John

    notice he didn't say the position was wrong – they didn't spend enough money on the situation. thus being one of the fatal flaws of the GOP.

    September 28, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. BoulderBill

    Yet again Romney backhandedly called Hispanics ignorant and blamed them. No, Mitt, they understood perfectly well, and voted accordingly. Your biggest strategic mistake was yours alone – you chose to run for office.

    September 28, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. John

    This is more Romney double speak gibberish. How can your negative positions against immigration which is one of the most important issues for Hispanics be strategic blunder? What Romney wanted to do but couldn't was just tell Hispanics what they wanted to hear. But he couldn't because he needed tea party votes during the primaries. Romney stood for nothing then and nothing now. He only says what is politically expedient. The entire GOP has been hijacked by tea party ideology and Romney's biggest mistake was agreeing with it.

    September 28, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. omgamike

    This is just further reinforcement of why the GOP keeps losing. All they can ever accept as a mistake/mistakes, is that they need to refine their message(s), better use the social media to get their new message out. They will never accept that not only does their message needs to change, but, more importantly, their policies. Until they move their policies a long way to the left, they will continue to lose national elections. And, the way they are going right now, 2014 could be a very interesting election cycle, even allowing for all their lying, cheating, gerrymandering and suppression of the vote. And if the people are ever pushed to take to the streets to affect change, they will need to think about emigrating to other countries, though I wouldn't suggest Mexico as one of their first choices.

    September 28, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    I think many understood Romney's position, what cost him was the GOP's position-which differs from his. Look, for example, at the current budget battle. Who controls the GOP? If Boehner & Romney controlled it then we wouldn't have the shutdown crisis. The problem is that the GOP is controlled by the wingnuts-and that applies to immigration too. I like Romney-but I don't think he can stand up to the extremists in the GOP and that's why I didn't vote for him.

    September 28, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. jamesmathewson

    One of the implications of our vote is we can tell the loser to go away and shut up. That is what the majority of Americans did in November. But this guy won't shut up. He thinks he's still relevant after getting thoroughly defeated. He has zero credibility, so why does he think people will listen to him now?

    For the little it's worth, he happens to be wrong in this case. The problem is not that his record campaign spending failed to reach Hispanic voters. It's that Hispanic voters rejected the message. Actually, I should say "messages". Because, like everything he said, he changed the message so often, no one knew what he really believed. He started out pandering to the far right by being tough on immigration. After the primary, he softened his stance. And the closer to the election he got, the more like the President he sounded. This was clearly his game plan: Not to be transparent and truthful, but to say whatever the polls told him to say, and to spend whatever it took to get the message out. The election was a referendum on trying to buy an election through lies and deceit. Just about every ethnic group except for white males saw right through it. Hispanics and Latinos more than any other rejected it, perhaps because it is the way politics is conducted in their former countries.

    September 28, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. kebcarerra

    Romney , read , and well am tempted , okay just a moment . Read it , I don't keep up with what he says , didn't hear a peep about Syria or Iran who he was sure to crush with Tomohawks and Cruise missiles. Now he wants to let us know he understands why he lost the Latino vote ? What do you just change colors as we go , he is a chameleon . A little to far to the right . Tweek 1 million tweek 2 million tweak 70 million , hold it . That should do it mitt. I think we got'er this time.

    September 28, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Republican for life

    Amazing when you consider that Walter Devie, who has the right hand man for Mitt's father, George Romney, refused to endorse Mitt.

    September 28, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Namemike

    So do all of you believe that Obama is a good president?

    September 28, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. uhhuh

    Mitt the problem was not that you didn't get your message out. The problem WAS your message. Oh, and that and the fact that you are an elitist, condescending prig.

    September 28, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. jamesmathewson

    The problem was not getting the message out. It was the message, or shall I say, messages. He changed his message so often, no one knew what the real message was at the time of the election. Rather than blaming an entire ethnic group for his failure, maybe he should give them credit for seeing right through the fact that he is a flim-flam man who said whatever the polls told him to say and spent whatever it took to get the message out. But I wouldn't expect such humility from him. All he's done since getting thoroughly trounced is to blame everyone else but himself for his abject failure. I sincerely hope this is the last time the media gives him a forum to project his delusions on the American people.

    September 28, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. jamessavik

    Sorry but I've got a different read: Romney was a Mormon and we're sick of religious nuts.

    September 28, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Bob Warner

    Mitt Romney formed his immigration policy to win the Republican primary- his own opinion had nothing to do with it. That was how he has conducted his entire career and his presidential campaign. He was simply a liar who told people whatever they wanted to hear in order to get elected- only when he didn't realize that he was being recorded did he reveal his own opinions. When those secrets of his were revealed, America was cued into the arrogant dismissal that Romney truly felt of any American who couldn't afford their own car elevator. What trapped him was the reality that America rejects the far right policies of the TeaParty, and so rejected the candidate- Romney- who was forced to pledge fealty to that faction of anti-American radicals who are so like the bankers who destroyed our economy. Like the bankers who were willing to destroy billion dollar companies as long as they got THEIR million dollar bonuses out of the collapse, TeaPartyers are willing to destroy our country as long as they can stop the Affordable Care Act from being fully implemented.

    September 28, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. ReaganRepublican

    He needed to advertise his brilliant self deportation plan on Telemundo. Yeah that was all you needed Mittster! Your biggest mistake was pretending like you hated Obamacare instead of embracing it as your idea. You were never going to lose the far right so you didn't have to pretend you were a "severe Conservative"! Do you really think the far right would vote for the black guy over the moderate Republican. This is what you came up with why you lost the election by 5 million votes??? Wow!

    September 28, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Ganoyo

    Mitt , once again you are back tracking in an attempt to save face , you were a wick candidate and your proposals failed to meet the expectations of most Americans not only those of the Hispanic Community , not to mentioned you lost the people's trust when you were recorded in a video trashing the Hispanics and expressing your real sentiments against them , bottom line Mitt , Mr. Obama Is a better choice for the people and by the people.

    September 28, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. LouAZ

    What I said is not what I believe. – Mitt Romney FOX News interview 3-3-13.

    September 28, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. First Things First

    Let's see the Republicans pass the Dream Act! Then we can start talking.

    September 28, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. 1 of 7B

    What a fool. He just doesn't get we didn't want his BS. Do yourself a favor, don't run again.

    September 28, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Jim

    This man would have made a great president. Would have turned around the economy. We will continue to sputter until we get some monetary discipline.

    September 28, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. cp125

    When will he ever understand? Being a repub & being Mitt is, was and always will be his largest error.

    September 28, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. jimatmad

    The GOP really needs to run him again.

    He's freekn hilarious.

    September 28, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. Bob

    Your biggest error was being a Republican.

    September 28, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. jerry

    In the Primary Election debates, romney stated that illegal immigrants needed to "self deport." That was extremely offensive to Latinos. Moreover, Romney changed his position in the General Election.
    He loss the election because the sitting president ran a better campaign. The GOP allowed the Primary run on too long and it cost them another national election. I hope they lose the mid-term elections and get their collective act together and rid the party of Cruz, Rubio and all of the other Tea Party jokers.

    September 28, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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