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. onlyfacts

    The biggest stupid comment from ALL Republicans is, "climate change is a hoax". They will never believe the science/experts. Therefore they will never lead the country again. So keep denying and we will keep progressing without you.

    November 8, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. wgf

    "We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things. I think that really tainted the party,"

    I disagree - it didn't taint the party, it exposed it for what it is: An anti-science bible thumping party intent on imposing its religious beliefs on the rest of the country.

    November 8, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. LEE

    Kay disappointed MANY of her Dallas friends when she endorsed Ted Cruz. She did not have to endorse the Democrat, but ......really, Ted Cruz???

    November 8, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. Jules

    Dear Kay – stupid is as stupid does. The GOP put forth candidates that have no business leading anything.

    November 8, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  5. Boo takes an intelligent woman on the right to tell it like it is. My mother was right. Most men are pretty stupid.

    November 8, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. Big Bird

    I wish I knew about these comments, I would've voted for republicans instead.

    November 8, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The simple solution is to stay out of our bedrooms and focus on governing. Keep your religious dogma to yourself.

    November 8, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. I Could Have Been A Contendah

    Kay, I think you speak too soon. Your party, the party of hate, bigotry, marginalization, misogyny, suppression, fear, religious zealotry and arrogance might once again ride these core values to the top. Give it a try again in four years.

    November 8, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  9. Squigman

    Who made the comments? Who never comes out to chastise those who make said comments? Why are any of you surprised by peoples reaction? The answer to all above is the republican party. Your party, has embraced any and all forms of radical thought and action, just to attain access to power. This kind of behavior is not acceptable to most adults, and children are taught better in early stages of development.

    November 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Anonymous

    It is not 'stupid" comment destroyed GOP/TP, it is their "stupid" belief destroyed GOP/TP. GOP/TP wants religuious freedom and less government but demands a big government to push their religious agenda to other.

    November 8, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Marie MD

    No, it was not "stupid" comments. This is way a LOT of rethugs think about women (murcouck, akin, lyan altar boy, mcconnell,, cantor, the MN flake and others)
    They just reminded us that his party is against women, gays, Blacks, minorities, seniors and others who are not millionaires or billionaires.
    That barbour, who has re emerged as a talking head after the election, was blaming christie and Hurricane Sandy for the twit losing the election. Again, NO, the twit lost the election because the flip flopper showed most Americans with half a brain that we didn't need a president with no character or morals who was also a liar and whose god is really money.
    He says that the twit was called a vulture capitalist. Yes, the truth hurts, right? Go back down south and keep your mouth shut. The country, again, picked the right man to lead us. Get over it for the second time!!!!!

    November 8, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Dana Andersen

    It is not the comments per se that hurt the GOP – it was the fact that the comments cast a bright spotlight over the policies that are supported by these candidates – policies that are overwhelmingly rejected by Americans – both Democrats and Republicans alike. The Team Rape candidates, the bloviating birth control crowd and those that are hostile to other economic issues important to women (equal pay, for example) helped to doom the GOP in key senate races as well as the presidential contest. Naturally, the word vomit coming from Romney (self-deportation, the 47%, etc.) – which also served to highlight his true views and policies – equally alienated other voter blocs.

    The lesson to the GOP is that hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising may successfully put a spin on unpopular policies, but it won't change people's minds about those policies once voters become educated.

    November 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  13. BLKMANinAmerica

    LMBAO.............stupid stances hurt the repuks even more. They (repuks) really need to join the rest of America in the year of our lord 2012 not 1712.

    November 8, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  14. lisajt

    Republicans need to listen to Ms. Hutchinson if they want to save themselves. There are some of us in the middle who would be willing to consider the Republican fiscal message (at least in part) but there is no way we would consider a party that wants to force its far right social positions on an entire country.

    November 8, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  15. v_mag

    As a Texan, I find it interesting that Kay says nothing about Ted Cruz, the absolute nutter who is replacing her. He is every bit as loony as Akin or Mourdock, but unfortunately Texas is not diverse or educated enough (yet) to deny such a worthless person a senate seat.

    Crazy Cruz will embarrass my state on the national stage even more than Perry, Hutchison and Cornyn have, if that is possible. He thinks he's on the fast track to be the first Tea Party president, but he should look at what is happening to the other 'baggers out there and realize that his era is gone, gone, gone.

    November 8, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  16. ronvan

    Have to agree! ALL of our "elected children" must have some COMMON SENSE, that in todays world, YOUR every word is heard and dissecrted!

    November 8, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Name junief

    I am a Democrat, and applaud Hutchison's statements. They sound wise and on the mark, and say something important. I believe in the importance of having more than one viable party, reflecting different economic views and approaches to governance. But I feel that many Republican leaders have taken personal opinions and tried to turn them into political dogma they wish to impose on those whose individual opinions differ from theirs. Continuing in this vocal way will always give their opponents ammunition and good reason to fight tirelessly against what they see as potential tyranny, and will drown out the economic and politic messages of their party.

    November 8, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  18. Billy in NYC

    Good Luck GOP. The country has changed and moved forward to the 21st Century. The only way to modernize the Republican Party is to be inclusive – more younger men and women; more Hispanic and minority support; more focus on tuning in to the public voice; and the most important – stop living in the GOP bubble and stop listening to FOX News lies. Get REAL and get FACTS! Go on!

    November 8, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. Rhonda Rahn

    See, the thing is, voters do not view those anti-women statements as "mistakes;" they view them as a few Republicans saying out loud what the rest of the Republicans really think.

    We women expected that Repubs would keep their mouth shut about women's reproductive issues before election, then silenty move to sabatauge women's rights once elected. They would reverse Roe vs. Wade by Supreme court appointments and move to defund Planned Parenthood.

    Women overwhelmingly rejected (by their votes) the suppression and even elimination of women's rights. For a party of so-called "liberty," the GOP is intent on forcing their religion and their reproductive beliefs on others.

    The GOP was trying to say that their war on women was a myth. Well guess what? To women, it is a reality which is why most women did not vote GOP. If you don't believe me, google the numbers from Tuesday.

    November 8, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  20. johhnystop

    As a white male 60+ independent self employed small businessman, I never lost sight of the economy as a campaign issue – that's precisely why I voted for Obama.

    November 8, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  21. Name felisha

    The dinosaurs day are over! those old dinosaur Republican men with there eighteen century laws need to retire. If they don't changes there ways of thinking there party will die out too.. We are living in different times now there's no black and white nor brown . What the Republican fail to understand we the people live together work and see each other on a daily base. I believe it will be long time before we have a Republicans President. I really fill in 2016 history will be made again. With Hillary Clinton being the first woman to be President. Obama is. Historical President alots of historic things happen with him in the White House.

    November 8, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. Rhonda Rahn

    One more thing: I think Republicans could benefit from reading the comments from articles such as this one.

    In the meantime, they are in denial of the real reasons why they lost the election so badly (their fanatical beliefs) and instead they point fingers at Romney, saying things like "he wasn't conservative enough" and the like.

    These comments are written directly by the voters, and would tell Republicans a lot, should they choose to open their eyes and really read them.

    November 8, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. anonoymous

    Too late now we know what a lot of them believe. And we dont like it.

    November 8, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |

    Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who's retiring after this year, said, "We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things. I think that really tainted the party,"

    Those men, those Republican candidates for public office said EXACTLY WHAT THEY BELIEVED! They said exactly what is contained in the Republican political platform. They were not lying. They were being true to themselves and their party beliefs. The people of America held opposing positions and voted according to their beliefs.
    I guess they thought America wouldn't freak out on the subject of legitimate rape or the rape that is a gift from God.
    I guess Republican views on rape and incest are more advanced than the rest of America
    I guess they thought America would omit GOP stances on women, immigrants, the poor and gay people...
    I guess...

    November 8, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. chupacabra

    If the republicans don't start working WITH this president instead of aginst him it will hurt them next time also. If Boehner and his republican buddies in congress don't get off there high horse, as in real soon,immediatly,there wont be a republican party in 2016. This post is from one of your fellow Texans, take heed.

    November 8, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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