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. ImIrish

    I am totally AGAINST any pathway to citizenship for lawbreakers. No amnesty, nothing. We should not be pandering to criminals and, yes, illegal immigrants are criminals. We have laws for a reason. Follow them. And don't give me any of this garbage about "if you speed, then you're a criminal". It's apples to oranges.

    Teaparty Man – You're right on the money!

    September 29, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Mark

    I think his biggest error was running for President. No chance from the beginning.

    September 29, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Steve

    this guy is so deep in denial. he went from a moderate republican , pro choice , pro obamacare, pro gun control...to a conservative nut. he is an elitist who couldn't hide all his real opinions about "those people", the poor. the Romney that was governor of Massachusetts probably would have been a good president, but not the new Mitt.

    September 29, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Fladabosco

    I'm extremely glad he is not president (not an Obama fan but I can't vote for the Party of Stupid) and of course he is totally wrong about why he lost the presidency.

    1) He did nothing to disagree with all the ridiculous things being said by people in his party during the election.

    2) At at time when America was reeling from the injuries done to us by the Bush wars and from the destruction of the world economy by a few people on purpose for their own profit, he strongly and publicly rejected all but the richest and whitest Americans. Maybe that's why 87% of people of color who voted voted against him.

    Its tough to win when you repel almost 9/10s of an important voting block and harder to win when you are too stupid or arrogant to see it.

    September 29, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. GRS62

    Yeah, forget that 47% comment.

    September 29, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Bib

    That's because he's a racist snob who couldn't relate to them if he tried. Reaching out to voters means actually caring about their concerns, tough to do when you really don't and are just trying to get votes.

    September 29, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. a

    Good to see Mittens is still as clueless as always.

    September 29, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Al Russell

    It's too late for the GOP to try and backtrack on their tactics with Hispanic voters. While some folks will certainly fall for empty platitudes like these here from Mitt, most Hispanic voters will remember all the taunts and hate speech coming directly out of the mouths of GOP officials. They intentionally courted and pandered to the worst of the anti-immigration crowd in order to win votes and now they expect everyone to pretend that simply didn't happen, despite the fact that they're STILL DOING IT to this day. No dice, you can't ask for support from those you're throwing under the bus. This is a strange dis-connect that the GOP can't seem to fix. Stomp on the poor/immigrants/women, insult them, degrade and blame them for everything wrong with this country, then ask them to support you??? Wake up.

    September 29, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Derek

    This man is so completely oblivious to the world around him. His brain just can not accept that people did not like him and nor did they trust him.

    September 29, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. chris

    forget even running for president, i thought his biggest strategic mistake was simply opening his mouth... oh and then running for president

    September 29, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. winkie

    Romney's biggest mistake was making his "47%" comment while being served dinner by a group of people from the same 47%. That came back to bite him in the end – figuratively speaking. What a callous, entitled, wealthy white dummy he is. The "upper crust" really doesn't get it, do they?

    September 29, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Ctrygrl

    After a primary fight that forced him to move to the right of Attila the Hun there was no possible way to get back to the center. A result of his trying was a new policy pronouncement daily and as a result no one believed a word the man said. Was he the far right crazy that got nominated, was he a moderate even slightly left centrist, did it depend on how he felt when he got up that morning? He appeared schizophrenic especially during the debates, pronouncing policies that bore no resemblance to what he had said the week before. He was desperately groping and that was really driven home by his "binders full of women" comment.

    September 29, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Neo Reeves

    Are Republicans and Tea Baggers really this stupid?? I look at Romney and his views of Obamacare and how all these republicans and their legion of followers talk of how bad the Healthcare Act is and it boggles my mind! Romney ran on an ANTI Obamacare platform and had all these republicans and supporters buying into how evil Obamacare is..... Think about that for a minute. No, really digest that..... Because Romney already had Obamacare in his state where he signed it into effect as the Governor....???!!?? Let me repeat that because I think some of you missed that but before I do that let me also inform you that it has been a resounding success and insurance premiums have gone down.... The sky did not fall.... Okay so Romney already has a form of Obamacare in his state but republicans want to shut down the government and throw America into chaos over a healthcare plan that has already been shown to work very well....??

    I am still reeling at the ridiculousness of Ted Cruz rambling on and then using the Green Eggs and Ham book as an example for Obamacare.... Maybe some of you have not read the book so you may miss the irony of how dumb a selection that was....

    September 29, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. cathstar

    His biggest error was selecting Paul Ryan to be on the ticket. McCain lost because of Palin and Romney lost because of Ryan. Voters do pay attention to who is second in command. Both McCain and Romney made terrible choices, which cost each of them the presidency.

    September 29, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. chance

    Romney kissed the Hispanics off when he recommended "self-deportation" in the primaries. What really hurt Romney was the media capabilities of this age... the ability to record most everything a politician says + the ability to disseminate it on a mass basis. Romney would have done better in the 1800s.

    September 29, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. volsocal

    And heeeee still doesn't get it.

    September 29, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Bob Ramos

    Romney's sole immigration policy was self deportation. Try selling that to someone that paid $1500 to a coyote and risked their lives to cross the border desert states.

    September 29, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Bubba

    Yeahhhhh, the ineffective Hispanic outreach was Romney's ONLY failure. i am glad Republicans are so full of themselves, because it makes them easier to defeat.

    September 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. food

    He forgot the "Wanna bet $10,000?" comment, oh and the "My wife has two Cadillacs, one for each house."

    September 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. magicpanties

    The failure was kowtowing to right-wing crazies, going from moderate repub to zany teapot in 60 seconds.

    September 29, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    what about the hoards of illegal canadians? oh I forgot we are the happiest nation on earth!!

    September 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. NYReviewer

    He is partially correct, in that he did not connect with Hispanics, or for that matter with any other group, bar the loyal GOPers.

    September 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Dave

    ROFl. Still clueless. WE DON'T WANT WHAT YOU ARE SELLING, period, then end.

    September 29, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. 3doorsdown

    Poor mitt. He still does not get it, and will die still believing this was a minor error in his campaign. People did not like him or his running mate. mitt and paul are elitist, and stuck in stupid. This is no cure for stupid, regardless of how much money you have. The good ole Koch brothers, and karl rove spent hundred of millions of dollars, and just couldn't get the job done...why, the American people are buying what they were selling. And thank God each and every day, they lost.

    September 29, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. RomNgang still don't get it

    Apparently, Romney still doesn't GET IT! All those nasty attacks and hate speech against everyone and anyone, but the white evangelical male, turned people off. Even fellow middle-classed and up white people. The only thing Rom and his "gang" accomplished were they inspired all those racist hate groups to come out of the closet from where they'd been hiding for so long. And the negative effects and divisions along racial, economic lines of right wing hate during the last presidential campaign are still being felt in many cities all across the nation.

    September 29, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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