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. jack

    "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."

    Sounds like another run for president so he can help corporate greed and eliminate minimum wage....

    September 29, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. cholla9807

    I think Anonymous must be a member of the Republican platform committee.

    September 29, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Trigger

    Blame it on the Hispanics.... You want to impress us Mitt? Start out broke and get where you are financially today. If Daddy didn't give you millions you would be as broke and mad at the government as the rest of us. I would say your arrogance is what lead to your loss. You lost to Obama, rich white folks all over the world will think that every time they see you. Swallow it Mitt " YOU LOST" Join McCain's club " The never will be President Club"

    September 29, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. mitch lottzapopper

    Why does anybody so far out of touch with reality even get interviews? Every time Willard opens his mouth it's a pathetic cry for help.

    September 29, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. FactsRBad

    Hmmmm, how about being filmed denouncing the marjority of American's as good-for-nothing scammers looking for a handout. I think that was your biggest "strategic" error....

    September 29, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Mass Native

    You lost because you're a tool .

    September 29, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Barry Brindisi

    How did Mitt blow the election? Let's see. When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, who was showing empathy for those suffering from the devastation? Gov. Chris Christie was a true statesman. He showed compassion for the hurting and it's clear that he meant it. Pres. Obama dd not HAVE to visit New Jersey. He was way ahead in the polls; there was no critical need. He came out of duty to the office and political expediency.

    Though I don't know if the man was sincere; Pres. Obama did make an attempt to sympathize with the poor. How about Mitt Romney? Where for out, o' Mitt Romney. He stayed away and gave little to no word of empathy or a show of support for the hurting. It's seems the man forgot the importance of that 47%.

    Yes, New Jersey does tend to vote Democrat. Nevertheless, we do know who's being genuine in their caring about what happens. If it has been George W. Bush, the man would have been here like a shot. Why? It's because Bush shockingly CARES about people. I could say the same about Clinton and Reagan.

    Those men get it. If you want people to vote for you then you must show a level of empathy and care about the people you are going to serve. This includes Hispanic, African Americans, Asians, Europeans and the American Indians.

    When the storm came; true character emerged. Our character will often define our responses; even in the midst of a storm.

    September 29, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. George

    Mitt Romney appears to be stuck in a K hole, where " I lost" keeps repeating itself. Must we keep hearing about this?

    September 29, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. JamVee

    What Hispanics don't understand about most Republicans (at least from my perspective), is that we are not anti-Hispanic, or anti-Black or Anti-Ethnic at all. We are simply "anti-ILLEGAL immigrant". We don't want uninvited people sneaking across our borders, no matter who they are, or what their reasons. About 99.9% of all the Conservative voters in the US, are descendants of immigrants. But those forefathers applied for that status and were accepted. In other words, they did it by the rules.

    September 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Solomon Walker

    Do not select, "Hispanic – Non-Hispanic; on government forms;
    This is a deeply racist statement and it identifies a categorization not used since Hitler and the Nazi's began to separate Jews from the rest of society.

    I advise Mr. Romney to rethink his position on this matter.

    No matter how much money an individual has in this life – none will ever be God.
    Since God can "smite" thee from the face of the earth at any given moment without announcement – I think it is wise to remember this while we go about the world acting as though we are invincible.

    A faith-filled heart is noble.
    A tendency to force humanity into squalor so as to induce acquiescence or reliance on you, is not noble.

    This is the land of the free.
    Keep it free.

    September 29, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. KAZ

    Who Cares?

    September 29, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. meloric

    republicans–party of the rich, the elite and the right wing fanatics & kooks-congrats!

    September 29, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. KAZ

    Who cares what happened to his campaign? Let it go.

    September 29, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Jackson

    No, his largest error was thinking he could etch-a-sketch his stances while Governor. Things he said, on record, as Governor, he tried to run against as Presidential candidate. His blatant hypocrisy was on full display and it was as easy as showing video clips of speeches he made while Governor.

    September 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Teaparty Man

    All Mitt is trying to do is appeal to all you liberal losers who want to continue the racial strive that has bubbled up to a degree that hasn't been seen since the 60's.

    And if all you underinformed fools paid even the tiniest bit of attention, the only people making money and lots of it is WALL STREET !! The very people you HATE Mitt for! You libs are so pathetic, you can't see the forest for the trees even if one fell on your head!

    Why does any president have to cater to any one group, at all? Look at your God Barack. What has he done for the black community? NOTHING! More and more kill each other on the mean street of Chicago and Detroit. Now reports are filtering through the liberal news that more "hate crimes" against whites are being perped than every before. Black unemployment is higher than ever, especially among the most important group, Black teens? Show's how much pandering does to the pandered.

    Aside from that...what "special needs" do Hispancis need? More helmets and rides on short buses? Or any other group. It used to be that people who came here LEGALLY came here for the idea that if you worked hard and took care of yourself you can be anything you want to be. You know, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!!

    But now everyone thinks the government owes them something. Mitt lost because he differentiate himself from King Barack. And with so much low hanging fruit, I guess it wouldn't matter if he was president or not.

    September 29, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. paintpaintpaint

    You are kidding, right, Mitt? Your largest strategical failure was to let the mask slip and show your true nature.

    September 29, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. JRM

    I thought his biggest error was that nobody know what he stood for on any topic. Many key opinions he'd held over the past decade he flipped on, and in some cases he flopped back again. Then he cycled through them again in a period of months during the actual election cycle. It wasn't a case of responding to new information and holding to his principles, it was a case of a new poll that stated he needed to change who he was again. He is a politician to the core, but in the age of instant memory (media) it comes off pretty poorly.

    September 29, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. housla007

    Romney thrives on Americans who have short memory. How could he say he missed the Hispanic outreach. He had his Hispanic outreach policies as well as for the poor but they were mainly against what they wanted. Unless he changed those policies and his ideologies his outreach efforts would not succeed. So Mr. Romney don't blame on
    lack of outreach but instead focus on your Republican platform which you were the leader at that time.

    September 29, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Jose

    He stil needs a lot more time to reflect. He does not understand hispanics.

    September 29, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Dont matter

    You lost because you cannot relate to over 95% of the american people no matter how much you act like you can.

    September 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Phil

    Painting his face in bronze make-up to look hispanic before going on Telemundo was a mistake.

    September 29, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. NickAnast

    What a clueless idiot! Hispanics understood all to well Rmoney's and the GOP's positions on immigration: Rmoney wanted them to "self-deport" and the GOP wanted to forcibly deport anyone who looked like a Mexican immigrant. That's why Hispanics will continue vote for Democrats, and why Republicans will continue to try to take away their voting rights.

    September 29, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. FactChecker

    Yes. If only Hispanics understood that the Republican hatred of them was for their own good. (sarcasm)

    September 29, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. RazaCosmica

    Okay, so THAT was why you lost. Keep telling yourself that, Mittens.

    September 29, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Gloria

    Your largest strategic error was thinking this was strategy instead of it being your own belief.

    September 29, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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