November 8th, 2012
08:11 AM ET
10 years ago

Hutchison: 'Stupid' comments hurt Republicans

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who's retiring after this year, said Thursday the personal beliefs of some Republicans dampened her party's focus on the economy this election year.

"We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things. I think that really tainted the party," the senator said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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Hutchison primarily pointed to Rep. Todd Akin, her party's Senate nominee from Missouri who drew sharp criticism in August after he said a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy from "legitimate rape." Despite strong rebuke by Mitt Romney and national Republican groups against Akin, Hutchison said the party failed to reshape its reputation after the incident.

Akin ultimately lost his Senate bid to incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a highly vulnerable Democrat who gained momentum after her Republican opponent's comment.

Hutchison, who was elected in 1993, argued that even though "no one embraced Todd Akin after he said those things," his remarks were still used against the GOP.

Democrats indeed pounced on the Missouri congressman's comments and again when another Republican Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, argued that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen." The remarks further fueled Democratic messaging this election, which attempted to portray the Republican Party as a threat to women's rights.

While playing defense, the GOP lost its focus on the economy, Hutchison said. She also argued the party must "stop acting like the woman is a throw-away" in elections.

"People have personal beliefs, and what we need to do is fashion a party around the economics and the long-term viability of the economy of our country," she continued. "When people start trying to go into such personal issues and then try to form a party around it, it's very difficult."

Filed under: 2012 • Kay Bailey Hutchison • Republicans • Senate • Texas
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Bill

    No, Ms Hutchinson, it was not just stupid comments. It was a seriously flawed candidate coupled with GOP's extreme ideology on most issues that matter to people, and a proven track record that Republicans are incapable of governing. That is why you lost. And until, the GOP recognizes this, they will continue to lose and become and a fringe element in American politics. And also, someone should tell Karl Rove to look for another line of work.

    November 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. linda

    This was only a small reason why the GOP lost.....the main reason....we are tired of the Republicans being a party of NO NO NO and then blameing the President as the one that is not willing to cross Party lines......the parties have to be willing to compromise....Republicans want to cut spending.....well fine then if you want that you have to be willing to raise can't and won't be Republicans expecting this President to meet them 80% and they only give's 50 – 50 or the next elections for the House will see the the lost of Republican control.....most of these House members have signed a Pledge to not raise taxes and they are going to have to tell Norquist NO MORE work for us the American people not Norquist......and we have spoken........

    November 8, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Smokey

    The Republican Party has been pandering to the really stupid in a particular way since Bush the First. It adopted an Evangelical stance on several issues and has been cozying up to the clock stoppers as a way of shoring up its base. Only in America could the Democrats be considered left. Compared to most other developed countries in the world, the Dems are closer to the center, and even right of center.

    November 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. GOP = Greed Over People!

    Too much peroxide causes brain damage, obviously.

    First off, Akins and moron Mourdoch were only saying things that were in the GOP PLATFORM.

    So, apparently the "stupid" things were in the GOP platform.

    The GOP is against abortions for any reason.

    When did Huck, the Book of Fable thumper, quit the GOP?

    This skirt should have retired earlier, if she believes this drivel.

    November 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Hutchison doesn't get the sad truth. There are too many evangelical social conservatives in her party who believe ands support those extremist and radical views.

    November 8, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. gt

    amen nobody to blame but those who say stupid remarks...

    November 8, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Canuck

    "We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things."

    They made the fatal mistake of blurting out what they actually believe.

    November 8, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. plain&simple

    Only a few quite voices of reason remain in this version of the republican party....and this one is leaving. The loudmouth my way or highway will soon be all that remains unless the sane wing of the party grows a pair and puts the clamps on this bunch. The speaker from Ohio needs to be the first to do so. Quit leading from behind.

    November 8, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Stupid comments, lying, no plans, no transparency, vouchers, no women's rights, even more tax cuts for the wealthy, Donald Trump, Ayn Ryan, and John Sununu did not help.

    November 8, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. ST

    People say some stuff which they think they are right to say so, while they are not. The leader needs to reprimand them as John McCain did during his presidential bid in 2008. If they are left alone as Romney did, then it is not their fault, it is the fault of the leader.

    November 8, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. claudeinalbany

    It will be very difficult for the Republicans to do an about-face in their basic will seem fake just as when Romney suddenly said he was for 100% of American people, after he'd said the opposite before (when he didn't know he was being taped.) Will what they say be just an attempt to sway voters and get votes...and then they'll go back to their hard right stance when they are in office? It has always been hard to trust politicians, but they've made an art of deceit.

    November 8, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Sorensen

    Not really Ms. Hutchinson. Stupid republicans hurt republicans!!!

    November 8, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. ColoradoJoe

    Lady, it is not just the say of stupid things, it's the fact that the GOP actually BELIEVES the stupid ideas

    November 8, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. rs

    As long as the GOP thinks they made little mistakes in front of microphones (like Romney's 47%, or Akin's "legitimate rape"), or they were somehow not articulate enough to sell their defective brand of "conservatism", they are doomed. It MUST be made abundantly clear that they are dancing with disaster (like some sort of drug addict) as long as they stay in the embrace of ultra-radical, TEA Party-esque ideology.
    They hve a serious reality problem- typified by Boehner today thinking that our budget mss can be stopped by fiscal austerity only- and not ending the Bush temporay tax cuts for the rich.
    Redistributing MORE wealth to the super-rich is not a conservative ideology, and 30 years experience shows it does not work.

    Get real, guys, or get gone!

    November 8, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. zanny

    Among those were Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and half of Fox. You lost because there are not enough old white men left to vote for you all. You all insulted Hispanics, African Americans and anyone, including me, that looks to the government for assistance. I am a retired teacher who looks forward to mySocial Security check every month and depends on my Medicare. To try to make people like me look like lazy, irresponsible people with their hands out, insults a lot of people. Now the election is over and Bill O'Reilly is blaming us again for you all losing the election. You all lost it yourseleves Karl Rove's game plan doesn't work anymore and your dependency on supressing votes,trying to frighten people in ads,and buying the election didn't work. Big prize- all the atempts to supress votiers in Florida backfired They had a pure mess and wound up being insignificant..

    November 8, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Bootstomper

    Not just saying stupid things, BUT DOING STUPID THINGS AND LIVING IN THE DARK AGES!

    November 8, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. Sandy

    It's not the comments! The comments only made people aware of your backward policies! Thank you Akin, Mourdock and Paul Ryan for opening our eyes to republican policies!

    November 8, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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