May 3rd, 2009
02:28 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney, Cantor say market turmoil mostly to blame for 2008 loss

(CNN) - House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in an interview airing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning that the GOP wasn't directly responsible for much of the party's electoral misfortune in 2008.

"I frankly believe that much of what happened in the last election revolved around the fact that the economy fell apart at the time we were, if you will, holding the hot potato. Republicans and Democrats have been playing this game, passing the hot the potato, spending money like there was no tomorrow," Romney told John King.

"And the economy came crashing down while our party was holding the hot potato. And people said, hey, it's time for something else but I think if they took a good, hard look at what the - something else is planning on doing with regards to the massive borrowing, they are going to say, that is probably not the right thing for America's future."

Cantor said there was no "single reason" that could explain last year's election results, ticking off a list of factors that included runaway spending in Washington, the collapse of the financial markets, and public weariness with the war in Iraq.

"So there was a lot of fear [over the markets], and a lot of desire to say, hey, we want to put these bad times behind us," he said. "But, ultimately, the future is about trying to be relevant in terms of what we're talking about, the policy prescriptions that we are going to propose to make sure that they make a difference.

And it's not that the Republicans need to change, to become like Democrats."

Both men are involved with the National Council for a New America, an effort to reverse the party's poor showing in recent races. And Cantor said the GOP did need to do a better job of reaching groups that trended strongly Democratic over the past cycle, including educated voters, African-Americans, and voters in cities and in the Northeast.

As speculation over the president's next Supreme Court pick dominated Sunday talk, Romney joined several of his fellow Republicans in suggesting the party was ready to do battle over the next nominee for the Supreme Court.

"And I doubt that Barack Obama is going to put forward the same nominee that either Congressman Cantor or I would put forward, and elections have consequences," he said. "He'll put forward someone different from that. But the key thing and the place where I think we draw the line is, is this an individual who will follow the Constitution and the law, or is this an individual who believes in making the law?

"And if it's the latter, I think we should stand up and scream loud and hard."

Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. john

    That hedgehog still does not get it WE DONT LIKE YOU REPUBLICANS!!!!!!!! YOU ARE NI GOOD!!

    May 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Republican from Alerbami

    These two guys should join Mensa.I thought I was the only one smarter than a fifth grader.

    May 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Carmine Abbattiello

    Perhaps the interviewer could have pointed out that the previous president, a democrat, had balanced the budget? Cantor and Romney are, sorry to say, liars.

    May 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Larry from RI

    That;s the ticket, keep blaming the GOP's demise on everything else rather than take responsibility – hallmarks of the GOP lately.

    It couldn't have anything to do with GOP mismanagement of the last 8-years, fiscal irresponsibility, lying to the American public, war-mongering, fear and intolerance – oh and what about that torture thing?

    Mitt happens!

    May 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Nick

    so deregulation by the bush administration had nothing to do with it. Theres a reason why your not president mitt

    May 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Steve, Philadelphia

    Other than the depression, things were great!

    May 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Parnell Meagre

    Acknowledging an error is the first step in correcting it. It promises to be a long night for the Republican party.

    May 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Cynthia in FL

    Eric, Eric, Eric. Trickle-down economics doesn't work. Excluding people who aren't extreme religious fundamentalists doesn't work. Labeling dissent as un-American doesn't work. Spending billions of dollars on an unfounded invasion of a sovereign nation doesn't work. Questioning the motivation, patriotism, and intelligence of people who don't think like you doesn't work. So I'm thinking the Repulican party does need to change.

    May 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Ernesto

    PLeeeze! I guess if Romney and Cantor want to rewrite history and telling lies, that will be their legacy. To portray the GOP as the victim is to not accept what the world knows about their leadership and history. They can get therapy for these views, but nobody is buying what they are selling.

    Obama is a Constitutional Law Professor. The Republicans have wiped their feet on the Constitution at every opportunity. NOW we are to percieve them as the defenders of our liberty? I don't think so. The Constitutional obstructionist policies of the GOP are very much going to be in the news in the next few months.

    May 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. gary davis

    Romney is still an idiot (hot potatoe ) crap . you caught it so you should eat it . and admit your party put the screws to us for eight years. threats and fear thats the republican moto.

    May 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. CareFree

    It is amazing to me, and ought to be for Americans in general, how the GOP continually tries to "rationalize" their losses and current unpopularity. And, yet they continue to try to polarize the American public against President Obama, saying that they're ready to fight anything he recommends, judges he nominates, so forth and ad nauseum. Wouldn't it be better to understand that Obama is a visionary, try to understand that he is not trying to harm the country, wait & listen to his recommendations before announcing opposition? (They might even find themselves able to suport certain measures). Don't the Republicans understand that this very type of behavior is what made many voters cross lines, or abandon their previous GOP support, because the people are SOOOOOOOO tired of the constant bickering? Slow learners, it seems! They are even turning on each other in their attempts to scramble for footholds. Now there is apparently a Growth Club !???!! Ugly to watch!

    May 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    That's right Romney and Cantor. The Republican loss was not your doing. Blame it on the economy and not the Republican Party. Gentlemen let me tell you in a few short words why the Republican Party lost the last election. The popular votes in this country caused the Electoral College to place the majority of it's votes in the Democratic column. That was caused by the lack of Republican, Independent and Democrats voting in the majority for the nominee of the Republican Party.

    May 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Sam I Am

    The economy had been under the supervision and control of the Republican Party for 8 years the time of the election. Acting like it was just a coincidence that the economy went sour and somehow magically handed the election to the Democrats is pure foolishness. The Republicans lost, fair and square. They paid for their fiscal laxness and their philosophical rigidity. Americans were and are tired of their shenanigans. Try to shift blame all you want. You lost, boys and girls. you lost because you screwed up. End of story.

    May 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. mittens

    It's never their fault. How could it be? I mean it was just a hot potato that the Democrats tossed to them and that they had only been holding for... 8 YEARS!


    May 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. JFK

    It also fell because you did nothing to help the economy in the first place! The GOP has no defined economic policies except lower taxes and we no thats not true anymore either. The Party of No should just give it up.

    May 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Darryl Schmitz

    So, in other words, what Romney is implying that what happened was circumstantial, and that there's no real need to reform the party.
    As a Republican from the traditional constitutionist-libertarian wing, I am deeply offended and dismayed by Romney's state of denial. I really see no need to hold out any hope for the Republican Party's revival. They are now permanantly the home of rightist "neo"-conservatism, which is as unsavory as the leftist "neo"-liberalism on the other side of the aisle.

    May 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. michaelam

    Just the economy? Just? Don't mention anything about an illegal, immoral, and costly war. Don't bring up the how big tent became so small that only racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes, religious fanatics, and gun nuts were welcome. Keep quiet about all the lies and fear your party fed the American people. Keep denouncing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL and not just a select few.....see above.

    May 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Bryan

    This just shows you how OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY these Republicans are. They can't see that their policies of the last 10 years. They have NO CLUE of any ideas to get us out of this either.

    May 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Dylan from MN

    Shut up...just...shut up. The GOP is solely to blame for this.

    May 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Cynthia in FL

    Someone needs to inform Mitt Romney that judges are not supposed to "follow the Constitution and the law", they are supposed to interpret the law according to the Constitution. Sometimes unjust laws are passed (segregation immediately comes to mind), and part of our system of checks and balances requires that judges have the authority and opportunity to declare those laws unconstitutional. That not being "activist", that's upholding the Constitution.

    May 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. mary

    It was not the economy. It was McCain, whose character was already suspect due to many missteps, bringing Palin on the ticket. Poor, poor executive decision that cost the GOP the race.

    May 3, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Swine Flu denier

    I think it was: torture, Katrina, Illegal wars, Patriot act, Fisa, Tarp1 and Tarp2, not protecting us on 9/11, voter fraud, etc. . You know, the same stuff going on with this administration...

    May 3, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. gary davis

    yal republicans need to crawl back under your rock and go ahead and spend all the profit you have ripped away from the american people . and stay their

    we still haven't heard any thing from the republicans about any way to make the country better
    other than Bla Bla Bla .Cantor should change party like spector did . bet we will see alot of republicans changing from republicans to democrates as the days go forward and each of them look at getting re elected..

    Mitt needs to just blow away
    you did loose the election in a big way not by alittle

    May 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Qui-Tam Relator

    I'm sorry but both parties are resposible for the down fall of our economy so stop the blame game and reach down and and see if you have a pair and take responibility for your actions Republicans and Democrats. It's easy to blame others next you'll be saying it's the American publics fault and yes we American's have been partially the blame also, so GROW UP you bunch of Bone Heads !

    May 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. John

    The repugs may want to be screaming loud and hard and start a fight in the senate over confirmation but they have no weapons anymore to help in the fight. Obama could nominate Genghis Khan and he would be confirmed in a walkover. This is what happens Micky when you destroy our country in 8 years. You become irrelevant.

    May 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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