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. taoofvampires

    Before I begin my rip on Romney's denial, I would like to say that there are good Republican people out there, but they have allowed through silence to allow some of the worse examples of Republicans, in the history of the USA, to hijack their party and make a mockery of it.If the Republican people want to pull their party out of oblivion, then they need to speak up against some of the insane remarks and decisions the GOP leaders have made. Perhaps, they can sell T-shirts that say, "We're not like them."

    The GOP will continue to be perceived as the party of "No One But Us" unless they realize that their very quotes, policies, and moral stances are pushing voters into the opposite direction. Even though Romney is conceding to errors made, he is still in denial that the GOP has gone hard right which means they repel almost every ethnic group, gay rights, and a women's right to choose groups the opposite direction. It's also obvious they are anti-poor. To demand food stamp budget cuts reveals how callous, out-of-touch, and/or selfish they are. I have not heard of any policy measures in the last 13 years that demanded accountability from the wealthy. No increase of taxes for the wealthy, no regulations that limit the use of offshore or Swiss accounts, and no closure tax loophole policies that the wealthy use to save millions of their millions. It's pure hypocrisy for the GOP to scorn and punish the poor with their budget-cut policies, yet rarely mention any effort to make the wealthy accountable.

    September 29, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  2. Baba

    Your strategic mistake was simple: contrarary to what is heard Americans appreciate the spirit surrounding universal Health Care. You scared them by implying it would be defeated. Too much time was spent on criticizing Obama while the real mistake was not realizing people need universal health but you offer a slight variation. Had you taken that approach you may have won. I am a republican but you lost my vote, get it back.....

    September 29, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  3. 'Home of the Brave?'

    Actually, his 'largest error' was running!
    America is not a corporation and does not run like a corporation. We would all be 'outsourced'!

    September 29, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Shills

    Yes, Hispanics were not wooed, but, from what I've heard on radio, they won't go Republican if you gave them amnesty anyway. It's a cultural mindset.

    The other big mistake..."Big Bird and cutting PBS" What a stupid statement. We thought, "What else is he going to cut?" If you cut a small potatoes PBS my gosh, and give more money to military...don't want this kind of leadership and most of us never did!

    September 29, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  5. J. D. Hunter

    His strategic errors were failing to recognize the most important demographic to lie to and failure to concoct the perfect lie to tell them.

    September 29, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. stooby

    It was a pretty simply argument. You can vote democrat and have them create the same "success" they have for the Black family and the American Indian or you can choose a different route. Your choice, Hispanic voters. Latinos have chosen to follow the same path as the black family and American Indians....best of luck.

    September 29, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. Bill

    After Mitt's defeat and during closing statements on both sides note the mix of people present. During Obama's speech you see ethnic diversity. Mitt's "group".... not so much. A very poor statement from Mitt if he wanted the presidency....

    September 29, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Daniel D Janson

    So now look what we have an Emperor and viva la socialism. Stay tuned to what you voted for and for a prime example of your sound bite, hollywood voting--Detroit.

    That cities has been ruled by socialist progressives(democrats) for decades and the result ruin. So a little rule thumb in voting, not good to put someone in power who lusts for it--obam-me.

    Term limits 2 then a thank you check of fifty dollars.

    September 29, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. Padric2

    I've been reading these comments....and to one degree or another most of them seem to be pretty accurate. He lost because he has the personality of a piece of plywood, he can't relate to the average american and the non white races (which are quickly becoming the majority) just saw some rich white guy who was saying one thing and then no doubt would slowly if not immediately begin to chip away at those promises as has been done so many time before by just about every politician. The Mormon aspect didn't really help either.

    September 29, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. brian

    his largest error was being born, but that's not his fault.

    September 29, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. carlos

    He got out-lied by obama.

    September 29, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. John

    So he admits that he should have pretended to have a different stand on that subject. A strategy. I though the "strategy" was to run on your convictions, not fool people that you're thinking/saying something else just to get eleceted. Is that what political strategy is?

    September 29, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  13. RI

    You lost because your party base is a bunch of idiots.

    September 29, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. ItSoNlYmE

    As if "outreach" to Hispanics could possibly have won him the White House? Hispanics went OVERWHELMINGLY for Obama. Even if Romney had gotten 50% of the Hispanic vote, Obama would still have won. His biggest strategic mistake was being utterly clueless about 99.9% of Americans.

    September 29, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. Robert Andrew

    Party of opportunity for whom? Certainly not the middle class of America, certainly not the unemployed, certainly not the working poor, certainly not senior citizens, certainly not impoverished Americans, and certainly not anyone in need of healthcare or any safety net. But, should you be a CEO of a publicly traded corporation, taking 2, 000 times the average wage in America, from your share holders, a "personified corporation" seeking to avoid corporate income taxes, an investment bank seeking to avoid regulatory oversight, so you can profit from burning down the entire world economy, or a member of the top 2%, then the republican party seems to offer great opportunity.

    September 29, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. Reflecto

    It isn't difficult to understand that the Republican party stands for nothing but obstructionism, xenophobia, and hatred. Your greatest strategic error was not running as an independent or a Democrat.

    September 29, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  17. rare_earth

    Mitt – Still playing the blame game.
    Now, it's the Hispanic population that failed you.
    Yes, you said you failed them, but we all know what you really meant.
    Sir, you failed yourself. I'm one you would consider a sure vote, and in no way, shape, or form, would I have voted for you.

    September 29, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  18. EBRaVesta

    So intellectual and what a good mormoron you are proving to be....by merely thinking more "investment" would gain votes for your MON-NOMBUNTATION.....Let me tell ya somethin' about religion, kiddo; before broadcasting your belief systems and your thoughts of how you know "more money" would have done the trick.....Maybe you should have tried doing a little more research on how all of these people are similar....and...step out of that "limb" of faith you so firmly stand by......and....reason out YOUR proof.....The money doesn't care about you....so, why would any individual care to vote for a man who cares more about his money, his image, and his fame, than he does for the land of which we all have shared for many ages....

    September 29, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  19. dave

    Self deportation? 47%? Come on Mitt...you still are clueless. Now go away.

    September 29, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  20. tomt

    Typical GOP, blame it on minorities.

    September 29, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. dzerres

    What? I'm sure the Hispanic community knew full well what "self-deportation" meant. Another attempt to rewrite recent history.

    September 29, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  22. Ralph NJ

    Two words Self Deportation

    September 29, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. Marc

    Romney who?

    September 29, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. GIgiastro

    Here's another of his "I lost because voters are stupid"

    September 29, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. Anonymous

    So, if they didn't agree with you they must not have understood you? More out of touch arrogance from Romney. The man is clueless.

    September 29, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
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