Romney's Hispanic chairman says candidate made mistakes
November 11th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney's Hispanic chairman says candidate made mistakes

(CNN) – The man who led Mitt Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters said Sunday the candidate "made some mistakes" during his campaign that ultimately led to a precipitous drop in Latino support.

Carlos Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, blamed the Republican primary process, which he said forced Romney to harden his immigration stance in an appeal to the far-right wing of the Republican Party.

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"Mitt Romney made some mistakes," Gutierrez told CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "I think he is an extraordinary man, and I think he made an extraordinary candidate. I think Mitt Romney's comments are a symptom. I think the disease is the fact that the far right of the party controls the primary process."

On immigration, Romney often sought to balance his positions in ways that appealed both to Hispanic voters and the base of the Republican Party.

In December, Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act if he became president, saying instead he would support a path to residency - not citizenship - for undocumented immigrants who served in the military, but not other DREAM Act proposals.

Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida that Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.

At a Republican presidential debate in January, Romney said he favored a system of "self-deportation," a policy that involves making economic conditions so difficult for undocumented workers that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities. That stance was derided both by Democrats and his Republican rivals.

Speaking Sunday, Gutierrez said Latino voters were scared of a Republican Party they regarded as anti-immigrant and downright xenophobic.

"They were scared of the anti-immigration talk. They were scared of xenophobes. It's almost as if we're living in the past," Gutierrez added.

The proof, he said, was in the way Latinos voted: 27% cast ballots for Romney, compared to 31% who voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008 and 44% who supported George W. Bush in 2004.

"I would lay the blame squarely on the far-right wing of the Republican Party," Gutierrez said.

Evangelical leader Gary Bauer said Sunday that the opposite was true, pinning Romney's loss on a party too focused on appealing to moderate voters.

"I think it's due, at least in part, to folks in our party that seem intent on attacking the fact that we're the conservative party in the United States," Bauer said, pointing specifically to the issue of abortion, which he said should have played a larger role in the 2012 campaign.

"There's no yearning by the American people for a second pro-abortion party. I mean, we've already got one of those," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Latinos • Mitt Romney
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Don’t blame Mitt Romney, Blame Arizona SB 1070 and Alabama HB 56
    FOX news advocated SB1070 and HB 56 blame the FOX news

    November 11, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Another Real American

    If Romney had real convictions, he maybe would have had a chance.

    November 11, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney lacked character in flip flopping to a harder immigration stance to win extreme conservative votes. Talk show entertainers and political pundits like Limbaugh, Savage, Ingrahm, Coulter, Palin, and Huckabee will try to prevent the GOP/Tea Party from taking more moderate positions. This can only benefit Democrats in the future.

    November 11, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Romney didn't make any mistakes. When you have to pander to this group, and that group, all covered under the Constutition to buy their votes it is a sad day for the country. Everybody already has all the rights afforded under the U.S. Constutition too many half truths spewed by Obama bought the vote. I still see nothing that is going to prevent the Nation from returning to the 1930's and a worse depression this time.

    November 11, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. ted, Grand Rapids

    I hope the GOP never changes. That way, we'll never have to worry about them again!

    November 11, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. mansouth

    true said, randy

    November 11, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Dtmac

    I used to be a Republican, but as long as the GOP lets the far right religious zealots control the party, They have lost my vote.

    November 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. BoB de

    Empty suit romney ran in this election for his own ego. The republican leaders knew Obama would win the election so they put in ETR (empty suit romney) because they figured "Someone has to do it". Poor ETR he had no clue even as he first tried the far right then moved toward the democrats.

    November 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. steven harnack

    You know, he could have just given a thoughtful, principled response and let the chips fall where they may. They're blaming the spin again instead of the failed candidate and party. The GOP is all facade and they can't understand that the people know it, see past it, and reject it.

    November 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Javier

    Stringent migration rules, inhibit economic growth. Border crossing, needs to be improved to accelerate crossing while verifying entry and preventing harmful substances, objects or persons from entering. With our computer save, we should be able to expedite that. Why don't we?

    November 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Johnny

    Just enormous that Romney couldn't take even one swing state after being tied or leading Obama in the pre election polls... I just can't comprehend this. I didn't vote for Romney anyway

    November 11, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Hillcrester

    Mistakes? D'ya think?

    Speaking of mistakes, look at Saturday's 538 Blog: A detailed analysis of last-three-weeks polling, with a sensible explanation of why Rasmussen was one of the most unaccurate and, hence, one if the most biased in favor of the GOP. The explanation is based on the poll's methodology, not any ideological preference, and therefore will likely persist in 2014 unless the methodology changes.

    November 11, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Ed Fikani

    1) Romney was so desperate to be President he ran away from himself and people saw it. A leader can't do that. 2)The Far Right is gasping for their last breath literally. The outreach the Republicans speak of will not be accepted by the far right, thus will not work. It will be seen as tokenism by most and they will walk away. 3)The Republican Party either kicks the thumpers, baggers, and bigots to the curb now or they continue to lose and grumble. 10-15 years from now they can reemerge as a new party with a real conservative and a real caring for all agenda

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. dave galbraith

    Dtmac Thank you for that. I'm not sure the republican party even understands what they do. Here's to the future of this great coutry. Let's all get along.

    November 11, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. J Arquipway

    How come the GOP leaders aren't expressing concerns with losing the black vote 93-6 and Asians 73-26? Rhetorical question. Is holding their racist noses while making overtures towards Latinos really a solution to what truly and deeply ails this party?

    November 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Hotdog

    The funniest thing about Romney you have all these talking heads giving their explanation regarding Romney when none was needed because it seems as though the American public could see through him. He was all over the place. The only thing that he really stood by was that he was not going to release copies of income tax statements for the last ten years.

    November 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Dan, TX

    "blamed the Republican primary process, which he said forced Romney to harden his immigration stance in an appeal to the far-right wing of the Republican Party."
    If Romney was a LEADER, he would not have been forced into a hard right immigration stance. That is why he lost the election – lack of leadership skills.

    November 11, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. vic , nashville ,tn

    “Republicans find religion on immigration reform. Is it too late?” Washington post

    Republicans must fix this as soon as possible, 2016 is coming Obama won’t be in the ballot But Hillary may in the Ballot , so GOP can’t depend on white votes

    GOP Imagine Obama and Bill Clinton Campaigning for Hillary Clinton in 2016

    Caution republican Hillary will win 70 Million votes

    November 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. texasnotea

    If you believe the 47% are all freeloaders, or if you believe all minoity's don't want to work and like being on food stamps, or that a woman's body has a way of shutting down after being raped and stopping pregnancy, you are the far right and will never win any elections in this country.

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. DDMA2004

    The problem with the Republican Party are "The Born Again Christians" who are the Republican's mouth-piece. My Dad was a devout Christian from the time he was young child. He did not need to be born again, to be Christian, he was always a good Christian. My Dad always said when you get a job and never discuss politics and religion. Dad grew up when you didn't have 24 hour news service and the Journalist were highly respected, like Howard K Smith and Edward R Murrow. Now you have the cheap lip service of Fox News. I believe the Repubican Party needs to look back at Dwight David Eisenhour's 2 terms of moderation and above all else, President Eisenhour kept our brave Veterans out of misguided war! Unless the Republican Party distance themselves from Fox News and keep their religion out of politics they are doomed!

    November 11, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    the GOP is now not helping matters by having their surrogates like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, And of course Limbaugh claim that all the people that voted for Obama all WANT FREE STUFF! Their new line is "makers voted for Romney and the "takers" voted for Obama. Are there welfare cheaters? YES there are same they have CEO's and other Wall Street guys that are fleecing the American economy and lining their pockets. But the far right has a habit of labeling people when they lose. point fingers at everyone but themselves and the ones that are facing truth are being called RINOS by the far right wing. No wonder like most African Americans,most Hispanic Americans are not interested. And all don't want 'free stuff" either.

    November 11, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Mark

    For a self-proclaimed "numbers" man, Mitt Romney sure doesn't know how to figure things out. So out of touch.

    Google: "ExposeRomney"

    November 11, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Joanne

    "There's no yearning by the American people for a second pro-abortion party. I mean, we've already got one of those," he said.
    It's hopeless people, they will never get it. There is no such thing as a pro abortion voter, just people that recognize we sometimes have to make difficult choices in life. Some we may even regret at times.
    SIngle issue extreme right evangelical rubes have destroyed the GOP's chance of making a comeback next election.

    November 11, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. allenwoll

    The "Fiscal Responsibility" plank of the GoP is fine - except that it is written in a code.

    What it MEANS is "Fiscal Responsibility" for everyone EXCEPT the 2%. . THEY get a free ride with benes ! ! !

    It is the result of the human axiom, "The bigger the lie, the more enthusiastically it is believed"

    November 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I think Romney is better off not being president. Public service is a very thankless job, with supporters being shaky and enemies being permanent. It's much better to live a happy life not worryiny about other people's so-called "problems" and just living one's self and one's family 😀

    November 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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