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. Thinks2010

    Boy, Romney sure hates to lose. Over a year after campaign season and almost a year after the election he lost he is still obsessing over his loss. What a loser.

    September 29, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. TK

    They don't care about leadership skills. They want a cool presdient, like a movie star. They want change.

    September 29, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Jerry Schull

    No, to me it was his venture capitalist history that trashed American enterprize instead of helping, the "Romney WAY" that the taught to his successors and the fact that he didn't disclose his tax docs back thru the times when he was not considering a run for the Presidency. The guy came across as Reptilian.

    September 29, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Seth Hill

    I think he communicated very well. Everyone naturally assumes their opinions and plans are correct. However, sometimes the voters don't like what you and your party stand for.

    September 29, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Ed

    It's not only the messenger, it's the message!

    September 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Calif US Patriot

    We needed a Constitutional Warrior and fighter, Mitt. Don't come out of your shell now......you're too late. Keep your excuses to yourself.

    September 29, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. David DeForge

    "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!"

    What flavor ya drinkin today?, grape?

    September 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. JenWest

    I'm pretty sure his biggest error was lying every two seconds and denying that he was lying every two seconds.

    September 29, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. deepfreeze

    He was a perfect candidate for his party at that time. He didn't win the election for that reason. My point is that the perfect guy for making the base ecstatic, may not be, the best for a general election.

    September 29, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Pat

    OMG....this man is as clueless and out of touch as he always. Seriously? His strategic error was far more than his lack of Hispanic outreach. His strategic error was what's in his heart. He's a spoiled rich white man who is incapable of empathy for anyone else. He offended most of the country with his comments about being takers, his comments that easily labeled him as anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-anyone who isn't rich. His heart and his head are just wrong.

    September 29, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Subin

    If Hispanics didn't understand your stand on immigration it was your teams responsibility to explain to them. Obama didn't had a plan but his team made them beleive him.

    September 29, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. JakeF

    Romney's biggest mistake was selling his soul to the fringe.

    September 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Harv

    No. Romney's greatest mistake was pandering to the right wing nuts. He might not have received the nomination, but he would still have his integrity.

    September 29, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. chas

    the real truth is, that if rich republicans, the primary offenders, did not hire them , we would not have illegals, or whatever you choose to call them it would be a very small problem. I know where Romney lives in California, and I have yet to see a white guy out there trimming his hedges..

    September 29, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Seriously? He still doesn't think it's the message? The level of this mans arrogance is astounding.

    September 29, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. tatertaut

    Good grief. Give it up, it's over; you lost, move on.

    September 29, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. josh

    No error, sir.. It is good you are off the stage.

    September 29, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Russell

    ".....party of opportunity." What is he smoking?

    September 29, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. jamie

    His biggest mistake was and is him putting vast amounts of his money into off shore accounts so he can avoid being taxed. He would not fully show his tax returns because it is true what he does.

    September 29, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Steven

    Dude, your greatest error was thinking you could actually win.

    September 29, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Matt

    I voted for Mitt Romney I think he would have been better than Obama. That being said it infuriates me when he says stuff and then doesn't back up his point. The entire campaign he talked about "reforming" immigration (at least after the self-deportation thing was a flop). And he continues to say he would do things differently but refuses to give any real good argument as to how. Delaying and getting more republican's elected (which isn't going to work right now) are not real answers to getting this done.

    September 29, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. John

    As a hispanic I think it's the dumbest thing for a politician to have to "reach out" to hispanics, blacks, etc. How about politicians do what is right and cater to AMERICANS. Hispanics, please don't make the mistake that blacks did and marginalize yourselves. Assimilate like my family members did, and you will be a real American. NOT a hyphenated American.

    September 29, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. JT

    Romney's largest error was in actually running.

    September 29, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. in the know

    Romney was always meant to be the fall guy, Obama had been selected for two terms at the Bilderberg meeting in 2008. the media was used to focus the countries attention on Romney and away from Ron Paul

    September 29, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. charles

    The biggest mistake was to tag himself to the tea party and all republicans will unfortunately have to do it in order to win the primary while alienating the thoughtful independents Americans who see the future of this country different. I liked you while still a governor for Massachusetts, and you lost me and many other independents.

    September 29, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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