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. dreamer

    Wow lol.It's sooooo true the RNC just don't get it.trying to find blame in everything but them selfs.....

    May 3, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Sally

    The economy spiraled out of control because the "hot potato" has been heating for the duration of the GOP tenure in power. GOP initiatives for deregulation of the financial markets lead to the meltdown. The Republicans want to operate in an unfettered market so that they can make money off the backs of everybody else. They hate any kind of constraint and try to paint the government as a culprit out to take away power from the people when, in reality, they are after the ability to pick our pockets with impunity.

    May 3, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Gordon

    Well no... it has less to do with market turmoil, and more to do with the fact that reublicans lie about everything. They can try to lay the blame somewhere else, but the truth is their agenda is now profoundly repugnant to most americans. The party of "no" is doomed to become the party of "an embarrassing part of american history".

    May 3, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Joan

    You still don't get it. I am a Republican but I would never vote for our senator from Arizona. Just admit it Senator McCain and Sarah Palin were bad choices. George Bush caused so much trouble in the world. It is wonderful to hear from my friends and relatives overseas that they have a different outlook on America and Americans. At last America is a driving force in the world.

    May 3, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Taking back America

    Romney is so out of touch even his own father disagrees with his political ideology.Second coming of Bush.

    May 3, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Mitt and Cantor assume we accept their vision of a hypothetical past where John Kerry became president in 2004 and where the Republicans were a minority party between 1994 – 2006. I got news for you ... all of these economic changes happened largely under Republican leadership, and these same people (Newt & friends) are still pushing for less government regulation of big business, the same policies which got us into the mess we are in today.

    May 3, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. korkea aika

    Got holding the 'hot potatoe'? Is this guy for real? Everything in terms of a game, keep it up! Passing off responsiblity and trying to share blame when the republicans did not share power for 8 years. This is a national shame. We need an opposition party to balance our government, and all we get from the opposition party is denial, defection and dividing the blame. We need rockafeller republicans now! Turn the clock back before the leaders of all mindless divide and conquer republicans R.Reagan, kidnapped your party. Signed a concerned Democrat.

    May 3, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Bill/CA

    Give me a break...if the GOP wasn't responsible for November's electoral thrashing, then who was? You can say 'the market' but who was responsible for the market? The GOP had complete rule over government and policies for most of the last eight years, so if they're not responsible for the economy, then who was? The GOP needs to get a grip on reality and start accepting responsibility. If they want to play the victim, fine...don't think you've done anything wrong and don't make any changes to your strategy, and see how many more seats you lose in 2010 and how bad the Romney/Palin ticket gets pounded by Obama in 2012. As the saying goes, "he who fails to remember the past is destined to repeat it"

    May 3, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Partisan idiot

    Democrats good. Republicans bad.

    May 3, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. David Chacon from Alaska

    Yes, there were a number of reasons the Republicans lost. Having Palin as a VP pick was the primary reason I could not vote for McCain even though I had previously been a strong supporter.

    If the Republicans want to re-image they need for FORCEFULLY disavow the like of Palin, Limbaugh, etc.

    I have never thought less of the Republican party than I do today, so I look forward to real change.

    May 3, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Fredi

    ... and 'denial' is a river in Egypt ...

    May 3, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Mike Dallas

    The republican party is a one dimensional party and as long as they trot out dimensional cardboard cut-outs, such as Steele, Jindal and Palin, the party will continue to fail.

    May 3, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Bill in Ct.

    Lets be real here people, the republican party is way out of touch with this country. All they believe in is tax cuts for the rich, separation from other races, ( blacks, hispanics, jews, gays, the poor, the homeless and everything else that isn't ( WHITE ). IF this country votes these neo-cons back in office in 2010, we deserve every thing we get . If the last 8yrs wasn't enough prove for you, you'll never learn.

    May 3, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Dave

    Keep thinking that, boys. Admit your party ran a scummy, name calling, throw-everything-against-the wall-and -hope-somthing-sticks, hideous 2008 Presidential campaign is the first step...kind of like an alcoholic admitting he is powerless over alcohol. THAT should be your first step...YOU PEOPLE BLEW thought the American people were as stupid as your campaign advisors did...and you got your butts handed to you on a platter. Personaly , I hope you keep operating under your delusional fantasies and that you DON'T change

    May 3, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. GOP Irrelevance

    Watching the daily implosion of the Republican party is such good sport! The latest examples of them just not getting it: Having Jeb (he who stold Florida for his brother in 2000) keynote their conference yesterday, which supposedly was all about getting a 'new image', yet they trot out somebody named "Bush"? Do they not get it that America colletively has a gag reflex reaction everytime we hear the name Bush?

    May 3, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Chase

    I truely believe that Mr. Romney needs to clear his head and make some room for the facts. His posturing today will not make him any more palitable to Republicans than he was in2008. As far as Cantor goes, put him on the cover of GQ and watch him forget politics.

    May 3, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Karen-phoenix

    As a republican for over 40 years and one who voted for and donated to President Obama I have to disagree with ROMNEY!!! Its their attitude!!! Radical right wing evangelicals, big oil backers and anti union! They only want money and greed to go to their rich friends and to hell with the average American worker.

    May 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. dace

    All you do now is scream NO NO NO – and you are the ones that created the current destruction in the country. Mr super rich hair gel salesman the current supreme court doesn't follow the constitution they are (and will remain no matter who Obama appoints) an extremist far right bunch of ideologues that gave us an illegally elected bush. So we know what they did to us and continue to do so scream all you want it doesn't change the truth.

    May 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Wanderer

    So, both Mr. Romney and Mr. Cantor meant the GOP was doing the right thing, they would continue doing the same right thing, and that was why they had no intention to change the course, according to their own perspective? Vow, now I no longer wonder why they lost in 2008.

    May 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Randall Arnold

    You weren't just holding the potato, Mitt, you guys were cooking it!

    May 3, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. Reggie Payne

    O.k. O.k., I can't let this one go.....I just read that the Republicans have to reach out to the "educated voters" and the African Americans? So they belive that one is not inclusive of the other? Yeah right.....Republicans, wake up. It's the economy stupid...the unjust war...the budget surplus your party inherited from the other party 8 years ago...oh that's right, you guys are the fiscally responsible ones.....

    May 3, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Terri New Orleans

    George Bush jr and that Rush person destoryed the REPUBLICAN party and it is all for the good … It was never much of anything but a party who chose the RICH and CONNECTED over real americans … We are not RICH we are not FAMOUS , but we VOTE , and we finally came together and told the world what we wanted and didnt want ………..
    We got rid of what we didnt want any longer ………. And I pray to GOD that in his wisdom he never lets them come to power again …
    They, the republican party, almost destroyed our great nation …..

    May 3, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. C. Walker

    typical den blog....follow the pied piper....not an ounce of common sense among all of them...economics is the name of the game unless you have the mommy & daddy syndrome..."take care of me". look up that ladder you are on the bottom rung of...that's where your going to stay...socialism is here and the ones that voted for it can strike your own Arnold once said in an interview when asked why he was not a democrat..." i lived under socialism, I could never vote for it "...that's the never experienced it...history apparently is repeating itself and there are enough voters that don't have a clue about economics that have brought this on...there was not even enough common sense to keep one party this point, we now have a totalitarian monarchy or Hugo Chavez on steroids...God help America...

    May 3, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Rob Conley

    The Republicans are responsible for the Republicans losing big the last election. While neither party has claim to the moral high ground, the Republicans have a history of minimal oversight of the market. The Republicans were responsible for the arrogance that alienated the rest of the world. The Republicans were the ones that lied about the status of WMD in Iraq in order to garner support for prosecuting a war. The Republicans were the ones who ignored the realities of the cultural dynamics in Iraq when they thought they would be pretty much done when they got rid of Suddam.

    May 3, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Sakemad

    Partisanhip and blame-switching is getting this country NOWHERE!!!
    All of you finger pointers are the problem. We need to elect people who won't get into office and start pointing fingers but rather pick up the pieces and put things together. The economy is no ONE person's fault. Pull your heads out!!!!!!!!

    May 3, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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