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. Anonymous

    Mitt Romney has been a Governor and a businessman and would have made an excellent running for John McCain or perhaps a better Republican candidate. Let's hope the Republican party puts him up next time as he is intelligent and has a nice presence. We will need change in a big way long before the next election. And the Democrats are as much or more to blame for the bad economy as Republicans. Who did control the congress? Are we forgetting? Time to stop blaming Bush and the Republicans and worry about the freedoms we are losing daily.

    May 3, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Joyce

    If you can't/won't admit what your problem is, then you're not doing what it takes to fix the problem. Everybody knows someone who has a serious problem, but refuses to acknowledge they have a problem. They blame everything and everybody else instead of coming to quips with THEIR problem.
    We are witnessing the death spiral of a once powerful and long existing political party. It is beyond the point of turning it around. The turn around point was BEFORE it got hijacked by a group of whackos.
    There is no leadership, that's evident by the ability of people like Limbaugh to have gain the power he now has.
    Before this year ends, several more moderates will leave the Republican Party for the same reasons Spector did, They have to if they wish to survive in politics.

    May 3, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Marge

    So democrats are responsible for the fact that the republicans are greedy, self centered and big business orientated. Boy howdy....those republicans can make up the whoppers cant' they.

    The reason this country fell apart is because of the policies of the republicans, their continued support of wall street and big business corporate greediness. Their failure to stop big business from moving jobs overseas so they could make more money and get bigger tax breaks. And the crumbs are trying to blame democrats. FIGURES.

    May 3, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. KDD

    Romney: this isn't musical-chairs economics. It was a long time coming and the Repubs were long time holding the reins. Not that Dems are innocent, but still, look in the mirror. Of course, I don't buy that you understand business that well.....your dad was an automotive CEO of a bankrupt, no defunct manufacturer (AMC) and we've seen how well such CEO run things.

    May 3, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Unfortunately it doesn't sound like Mitt and Eric quite get it yet. The reason the republicans lost was because they have become democrat-lite. If they ever want to become the majority party again, they better go back and read-up on all of Reagan's speechs and writings and start governing like republicans again.

    I'm so tired of hearing talk about a "bigger tent." This bigger tent talk is just code for demographic and ethical pandering. Reagan increased the size of the republican party not by pandering to minorities, but by convincing the majority of Americans that he was simply right. That's called leadership.

    May 3, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Hey MIT ; It has to do with with the 2008 meltdown, as well as 2007, 2006,2005,2004,2003,2002, etc, etc, etc, right on back through as long as I can remember. I truly don't think I have seen a legitimate politician in my lifetime. The first president I remember is Kennedy and I think we would work real hard to find anyone after him (kennedy included) who truly did anything of real substance. I used to think Carter was honest but then when one of the first bank scandals broke out years ago after his term I found out he had ties to the Bank in Florida which had some of the largest problems. You all are a crock both partys. And just for he record I consider myself a Republican. Now I'm sure Newt and Mit and company probably don't but that is their problem. Try living a little honesty FOR ALL, AND NOT JUST THE RICH AND INFLUENTIAL.

    May 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. KYJurisDoctor

    It causes me a BIG belly laugh when I review the people called upon by the GOP to re-brand the party. It's kinda like putting OLD and STALE wine in new bottles and expecting to sell the same.

    And the fact that the meeting was held at a Pizza joint, is going to FORCE me to throw up from EXCESSIVE laughter! OsiSpeaks[dot]com

    May 3, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. jim

    If by hot potato, you mean deregulation and tax cuts for the rich and unnecessary wars, then yes you are right. If you think that republicans are not fully responsible for this type of recklessness, then you are wrong.

    May 3, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. HC

    Cantor and Romney did own up to GOP mistakes. Did any of you commenting actaully watch the full interview this morning? Romney himself said that Republicans lost the 06 and 08 election because they were spending too much and not listening to the American people. They did also mention as a side comment that the timimg was not in their favor. Which was true.

    I thought they both did a great job and I agreed with almost everything both of them said. This was first time I had really seen Cantor...he was good.

    May 3, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. s

    It's NOT the economy, stupid! It's that Republican ideas are way out of touch with the reality of 2009 USA, and their incompetence has devastated the country. They are spouting external excuses instead of peering within to see that their core is rotten. The times they are a changin' , and they haven't. Dinosaurs.

    May 3, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    Let Teflon Rom and his sidekick continue to blame the economy. That way, they won't look to do anything except what they are doing right now – nothing. They still don't recognize the fact that they lost that election because they belong to a hatefilled party that has no new ideas, no plans and ran an old man and a crazy woman for office.

    Until the Repugs figure out that the reason they lost the election is because they are who they are they will continue to reach for any excuse for their own blunders.

    May 3, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. phil

    Indeed the economic collapse occurring when it did certainly hurt the Republicans even more, but I highly doubt they could really expect much of a victory in 2008, economy or no, on account of the continuing backlash against the Right.

    May 3, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Bill in Dallas

    And who is to blame for the economic melt down? duh!!! Who doesn't call spending on nation building in Iraq a problem? Those billions were fine, it's just the billions that Obama is spending to get this country out of the ditch that are bad. Romney is really a gutless wonder. No his Dad that's for sure. I liked him better as Govenor of Mass. before he decided to run for President. The national Repubs are really old white male yahoos. That's their audiance and it is shrinking. John King is another gutless wonder. Never asked them about the 21% that still call themselves Repubs. I guess CNN is targeting that audiance now. Don't think you can beat FOX with this group.

    May 3, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Darth Vadik, CA

    Yes Romney, and outdated and ancient prejudicial, hateful and dividing views had nothing to do with it.

    For the rest of you right knuckleheads who still believe that the GOP politicians (and I'm talking about politicians) have better values than the rest of the politicians, one sentence:

    "the lady doth protest too much"

    If you don't get it, figure it out. If you can't, than maybe you should stay Republican.

    May 3, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. JOE

    The Republicans still don't get it...They picked a drunk sot, hooker chasing, coke sniffing, moron, loud mouth, scum bag, out of Texas in 2000. Wrapped him in the American flag, hosed him down with Baptist Holy Water and ran him for President. And in eight years he destroyed this country, ran it into the ground, along with help from his daddy, started two wars and murdered thousands of people world wide and 5000 Americans. Then retired to his sod busting ranch in Texas and sits down there picking his nose and drinking his booze while the rest if the world suffers.

    And the Republicans think all is just dandy...

    May 3, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Susan

    Romney and Cantor looked and sounded like "Dumb and Dumber" on John King's show this morning! The "hot potato" economy was only a minor part of what influenced my vote in November - the decision was a "no-brainer" for me and there are absolutely no regrets. Obama/Biden was DAY and McCain/Palin was NIGHT. Many comparisons can be made and substantiated, but one of the biggest for me was the negative, hateful, judgmental, and sarcastic language and behavior of McCain/Palin......unacceptable for any of us. And, it continues with the Republicans who are running for 2012 today - the Party of NO with ZERO credibility and ZERO accountability.

    May 3, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Hooray for Mitt for having the guts to finally tell the truth to and about Republicans: we didn't lose the election because of clueless candidates, and the problems the country was facing when Obama took office were in no way caused by Republican policies - we just had the bad luck to be in power when the economy fell apart. Which means the Republican Party doesn't need to change a thing about what it stands for, says or does - we just have to wait for our turn again (ideally when the country has a budget surplus and isn't at war, like it was in 2000).

    May 3, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Spencer

    Romney's right, to a certain extent. The economy played a huge part in the election. McCain lacked a cohesive plan, and Obama had one. President Bush's popularity also played a role, as well as they polarizing view the Republican leadership.

    May 3, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Bobby

    It's clear: the republicans are cowards. When will they man up and admit they caused the economy to crash?

    May 3, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. JKColeman

    Is this guy for real? The GOP lost this election and i see no possibility that they can recoup for another 10 years.
    Have Mitt call that Senator from PA for an update.

    May 3, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Razorback

    I see all the geniuses are whipped into a froth today! Jeez, people either learn to spell or use your spell check, esp. when you're talking about how stupid or ignorant someone else is!

    May 3, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. videodrome

    So, the "Party of Personal Responsibility" is now becoming the "Party of Passing the Blame".

    May 3, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. kate

    What Cantor and Romney still don't understand is that Pres. Bush and the Republicans lied to the American people too many times and the party has lost its credibility. Starting the war in Iraq over WMD that were later found to be non-existent and evidence for them that was fabricated or compromised - more than 4,000 people dead because of lies. Lies about the state of the economy. When such people tell us that we don't need to worry about global warming, or that privatizing social security is a good idea, we are right not to trust them. When the GOP works hard and earns good marks for its credibility, it may return as a political force, but not until then.

    May 3, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Brian

    John King sure does like softball Repub interviews.

    May 3, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Lori

    Yeah Cantor and Romney... it was just the economy. Nothing else. Your party has the best ideas and policies, excellent values, impeccable leaders, the list goes on and on. The country does best when Republicans are leading it. It was only the economy why the President won. All you guys need is some good technology and then the next election is yours to win. Now ask me if I can say that with a straight face?

    May 3, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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