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. Maggie from Virginia

    Keep thinking your election misfortune was due to the economy. What is your excuse for your loses in 2006? The GOP is in deep denial. It's time for a strong Independent Party.

    May 3, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Lynn

    Yeah, just keep saying the failing economy was the reason for your defeat...I thought Cantor said it was because of your inability to use technology...Romney: You can scream as loud and hard as you want and pretend that losing doesn't have consequences and the fact that only 51 Senators are needed. The man's a Constitutional lawyer!

    Keep underestimating the intelligent, empathetic, patient, honest, thoughtful, family oriented man who is your opposition. Keep repackaging the same old, failed policies of the past in a strip mall pizza parlour and giving the same old transparent excuses for being losers!!

    May 3, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Steve, NY

    Romney is absolutely right. If this economic problem happenned this spring then the Democrats woulg got blamed. Just think if Kerry won the election back in 2004, he would have gottern the blame big time.
    Timing in your life is everything, or at least has a big influence on success or failure.

    May 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. don

    If one would remember, and I know its hard for some dems to do that, congress has been controlled by dems since 2006, ie, before the gas price explosion and the housing market meltdown.

    May 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Tom C in NY

    Typical pathetic GOP, which constantly preaches "personal responsibility" at the rest of us, but which refuses to accept this notion for themselves; nothing is ever their fault.

    Hey Cantor, hey Mittens! You can say what you want, but other than your ever shrinking base of angry aging sourthern white men, the rest of us have tuned you out and don't take you seriously at all!

    May 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. ray

    these republicans will never learn...................the obstructionist on the right only method now is lie lie lie.

    May 3, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. VGal

    Timing is NOT everything – as is stated below. Bush and the Republicans made policy decisions that allowed things to get out of hand. Those of us who ridiculed Bush and the Republicans for supporting a philosophy of SPEND BEYOND your MEANS for the American people over the last 8 years will ALWAYS blame the Republicans for this. I am a fiscal conservative. I don't agree with the dems on their spending. However, I would not blame the collapse on anyone but the people in power 6 of the last 8 years.

    May 3, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Allison

    Until the Republicans quit blaming everybody and everything on others I don't see the GOP ever regaining public support.

    May 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Steve, NY

    Romney is absoluterly right. If Kerry would have won the election back in 2004, the Democrats would have gotten the blame for the economy big time.
    I can see a lot of the left wing liberals that comment here have their blinders on. You can't convince them of anything.

    May 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. susanspics

    No, the downfall couldn't be because of the conservative's policy at all! Just timing huh? Head still in the sand.

    May 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Clinton had his role in this economy, also. By deregulating the housing market, he allowed companies to give out mortgages that flopped. Also, in 2004 President Bush and members of Congress pushed for the regulation of Fannie and Freddie, but it was the Democrats who put it down, because much of their political contributions for elections came from those two companies. Finally, if you want to play the hot potato game, who was in control of Congress when the market started its fall? It was the Democrats. And can anyone name any specific policy where this is President Bush's fault? (You probably disagree with Iraq, but spending money there had no effect on our economy here)

    May 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Leah-Vancouver

    Mitt Romney is totally in denial

    May 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Eileen

    The "hot potato" that mr romney refers to was the result of republican ideology. It wasn't just a flip – it was a recognition of failed policies and ideology that was rejected.

    They still don't get it.

    May 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. K

    This is like a drunk driver saying, "its not my fault the car drove off the road and into that crowed of people. I just happened to be holding the wheel with my foot on the gas at the time it happened."

    Why cant politicians admit mistakes and move forward in a unified manner aimed at improving the lives of the very people they are getting paid to "serve"? Oh, that's right they are politicians and after all, its just politics.

    Hey Mit, you might want to add a few more things to your list like, lying, corruption, nominating that crazy woman from Alaska for VP, unjust influence in the justice department, side stepping and even flagrant disregard for the environment, the complete and total failure during and after hurricane Katrina, Iraq, violation of the Geneva convention, secrecy and the consistent total failure of the GOP and the Bush administration to do the right thing. These are just the things I can pul off the top of my head. Eight years was a long time.

    May 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    This is a summary of President Bush's budgets. Each year represents a deficit. Republican's had a majority of the house and senate from 200-2007.

    2000 +284B (President Clinton)

    1. 2001 -98B
    2. 2002 -258B
    3. 2003 -378B
    4. 2004 -413B
    5. 2005 -318B
    6. 2006 -296B
    7. 2007 -158B
    8. 2008 -438B (bailouts/stimulus)

    No difficulty here in understanding why our government hit rock bottom. What is unbelievable is the unwillingness of republicans to take any ownership of the disaster they created. Instead they lay it all on the shoulders President Obama. Having distanced themselves of all responsiblity, the republicans now have the unmitigated gall to maintain a constant barrage of criticism in what is no more than thinly concealed contempt for President Obama's refusal to promote their failed republican policies. So, yes, Mitt, I guess you could say it was the economy.

    May 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Joseph

    They really don't get it, do they?

    By continuing to deny that they were responsible, they refuse to face the reality that their culture of divisiveness, politics of fear and intolerance, and lack of new ideas is the core problem.

    The economy only sped up the process. There is something rotten in the GOP, and if they can't smell it, they would never know that it's time to change their clothes.

    May 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. AKoslik

    Sorry. Republican economic policy and Bush's war in Iraq are what got us into this mess. If these Republican leaders can't or won't see the truth, then their party is doomed.

    May 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Independent

    Dems. maybe in controll since 2006, but your President kept using his VETO can't say it is the Dems fault...

    SCREAM as loud as you want Mitt, cause I'm not listening....The party of NO are not working for the people....they are working for themselves and how sad that is....I want the USA to shine brightly and it sure has a struggle with the party of NO....

    May 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Hank from Seattle

    "...the GOP wasn't directly responsible for much of the party's electoral misfortune in 2008."

    Gentlemen, your train has derailed and as long as you prefer to simply pull the shades and pretend that it is moving, it will remain derailed. The GOP controlled the US Congress for nearly a dozen years and ruled the Executive Branch for eight. As long as you persist in this spectacular festival of denial, the electorate is going to rightly assume that you are delusional, dimwitted, or dishonest, in any and all combinations. Quit changing the story and grow a pair. Cut off the wingnuts, shouters, and haters to whom you seem so beholden, then start talking like grownups and maybe we'll have reason to listen. Until then, enjoy your echo chamber.

    May 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Willa

    The Republicans didn't "just happen" to be holding the hot potato when the proverbial @!!! hit the fan. The Bush administration had been cooking that potato for eight long years and I dare say in Nov '08 they were all caught by surprise when it finally began to smoke.

    May 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Republicans are the American Taliban

    It was hate, slander, ignorance, fear mongering, and your current inability to accept blame for your corrupt policies. All of these blasted daily over the airwaves by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck and Bill O'Reilley like Tokyo Rose in an attempt to distort the truth and create fear and hate. Just go back and listen to their soundbites from the past and laugh, as they contradict themselves over and over, proves that they do not believe their own rhetoric. It's like a constant beacon of hate. Remove these idiots from our airwaves, admit your failures, and produce a plan to fix the destruction you have created and you might someday get some credibility again.

    May 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. mr bilek

    Mitt Romney and his fellow con men are like the title character, Maxwell Smart from the old sitcom and more recent movie.

    "Would you believe..."; "We came THAT close..."....

    You would think that the Bush Administration had never happened. You would think that all the high octane jingoistic and judgmental and culture baiting rhetoric of the recent election campaign and last 8 campaigns was never said. Give me a break.

    What shameless, nearly compulsive, liars these public figures are. They are shopping slogans instead of ideas to see what they can market. How about helping instead of hindering for a couple of years and see what happens.

    May 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. gl, Pittsburgh

    Why in the hell do the Repubicans continue to lie to the American people and not aplogy for their evil ways. They made not be the only blame, but they are the most to blame. I dont see not change with this new Republicans.

    May 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Sharon - NC

    Ostrich mentality? 40 years behind the times – could that have been it? Or, gee, perhaps Obama was just the better candidate and living in the current era? And as far as the GOP's 'new America' campaign, you can put a tutu on anything, and it will still not turn into a ballerina. If they can get over the image over substance thing, and realize what year it is, they might get somewhere. Still, they think the American people are stupid and gullible.

    May 3, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. maf

    Wow, if Kerry had been president in '04, maybe there wouldn't be a deficit created by a war in Iraq that should not have been???
    The Republican blame game and lack of responsibility is going to do nothing for the party in elections in '10 or '12.
    John King, your bias is showing.

    May 3, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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