September 27th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
12 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. William House

    I think Hispanics and those who care about Humanity know exactly what the Republican Position on Immigration is, as we have seen also this year the Obstruction to Human Immigration Reform.

    Deport Republicans from Office 2014!

    Enough is Enough of REPUBLICAN BIGOTRY!

    September 28, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. DooDooNoggin

    As somebody who truly tries to vote for who I think is the best for the job (full disclosure, voted Obama twice, W the first time, Dole over Clinton), Mitt's words alone turned me off. The biggest thing that turned me off? In, I think, the second debate he said: The government doesn't create jobs, but I will create X amount of jobs.

    I'm still scratching my head over that one.

    September 28, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Really?

    Being Hispanic is one thing and being Latino is another and he had the respect of neither.

    September 28, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Sigi

    Re "Romney lost because his message was in opposition to what this country wants" Yep, that covers it, He was a nice enough guy but out of touch. "The times they are achainging".

    September 28, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. CBM

    No. The masses rejected your attempt to satisfy the wealthy by bidding for a Plutocracy. Some of us realized that all you would have been was a puppet for a small minority of the top wealthiest citizens.

    September 28, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Ron

    Now, let's see. What was it about "self-deport" that Hispanics didn't understand?

    September 28, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Rodney

    Why is this idiot STILL explaining why he lost ? Romney was a bad candidate and worse person.

    September 28, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Chris Winfield

    No, Mitt. You're first strategic error was being nominated. And, Hispanic voters understood your position on immigration very well.

    September 28, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Monomachos

    Reading many of these comments, I'd have to say that most people here didn't really understand Romney, choosing to believe the misleading propaganda from the Obama campaign. Romney has the skills for helping the economy and getting the national debt under control, something Obama has proven to lack totally. Romney was the smart choice for the country but apparently many Americans thought the election was a popularity contest and voted for style over substance. SO, no change, no hope for all of those still out of a job or working 2 or 3 part-time jobs to stay afloat. The clue to being an informed voter is to not let a candidate's opponent define him/her for you; take the time to find out what kind of person both candidates really are and what they actually are proposing instead of being swayed by a smear campaign.

    September 28, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Justin Case

    The delusion is strong in this one.

    Mitt is stuck in Stage One of the Kubler-Ross model.

    September 28, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Al

    Your worst error Mitt was deciding to become a republican

    September 28, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. jlacke

    Romney's two largest errors were (1) taking conservative whites for granted, and (2) thinking he won the election after the first debate.

    Hispanic turnout actually dropped from 2008. But white turnout also dropped(especially compared to 2004) – this was Romney's undoing. Then, he mostly sat back and attempted to look "Presidential" and "above the fray" in debates two and three, allowing Obama to score unanswered points.

    Mistake 3 would have been grassroots level organization. The Obama campaign was a voter turnout machine – much like Bush in 2004. This relates to Mistake 1, but does not completely overlap.

    September 28, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. SkepticalOne

    You lost because you got caught telling a bunch of rich supporters how you really feel about poor people.

    September 28, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. menisino

    Just let The United States of Israel keep running your Economic ; Foreign & Domestic Policies...& you will windup like the Romans....history has a funny way of repeating itself....Dah.

    September 28, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. donklos

    It's way wrong that a politician has to pander to one ethnic group. I propose that there were a number of other mistakes that were far more damaging than gushing to the hispanic demo. How about making up your mind on topics, staying with it and establishing that your beliefs are the right stuff? Try that next time.

    September 28, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Compassionate

    Hispanics, African Americans, White America, Native Americans, and Asians understood what Mitt R. was all about...NOTHING....You didn't need PHD to figure that out. He is insulting to anyone he felt was a minority. He needed every ones vote.

    September 28, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. patw2100

    How about Romenycare?

    September 28, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Ed

    No Mitty. You didn't lose because of anyone's misunderstanding you. You lost because people understood that you are just another Republican slime ball who will say anything to get votes and then, if elected, proceed to destroy everything good about America.

    September 28, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. cony 007

    Mitt you did succeed because on monday romney care kicks in. Don't you remember the foundation of the new healthcare act is based on Mass's healthcare that you put in forward when you were governor of Mass. Gee how quickly we forget. May all of your Tea party, republicons, and billionare buds burn in hell.

    September 28, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. tim haight

    The people did not vote for you (mittens) because we hate you. You are in a cult, and your elitist views came out when you told your cronies that the majority of Americans are a burden on society because they take assistance. Not everyone has $millions in stocks and only have to pay 15% in taxes.

    September 28, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Dick Delson

    He'd say something one day and change his mind the next. He's a boob.

    September 28, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Chris

    Mr. Romney, what was your largest error?
    Oh there were so many, it's hard to choose.

    September 28, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Carl

    Mitt, we were waiting for you to take Obama on, to show some fight. Instead what we saw was a "Harvey Milktoast" Mormon missionary, clueless. You blew it. Brother.

    September 28, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. JohnParry

    For Romney to think lack of Hispanic outreach was his biggest problem, it only confirms Romney's biggest problem. He is totally out of touch and still doesn't know it.

    September 28, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Todd

    "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."

    Mr. Romney, you also said when you first won election as Gov. of Massaschusetts, that a woman, should have the right to choose. Then, when you ran for POTUS, you completely flip-flopped!!

    Further, your arrogant tone that Hispanics are "too stupid" to "understand your position on immigration is offensive and insulting.

    Mitt, (the Twit) your message, and the message of the GOP was received loud and clear. Everyone understands who you are and what the GOP stands for. It was REJECTED! All of it. Americans, as Priebus said in the article, have republicans at an all-time low. We're sick of you. We're sick of the GOP. And we work for a living, so stop insulting people and expect us to vote for you.

    September 28, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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