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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. rspredbury

    Let's just face it, Romney would and did say anything he felt necessary to get him elected. His positions were always directed at the most immediate goal or audience and his positions had more points than a porcupine. I wasn't especially fond of Obama or Romney but I never felt I knew what Romney stood for. At least with Obama I knew where he stood on the issues. Bottom line, I felt Romney was a liar who would say or do anything to become President and if elected would only support his rich friends and supporters. How did that work out for you Mitt????

    November 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. mike

    Grover Norquist is what is wrong with Today's GOP, he uses strong arm tactics to corner canidates into HIS positions.
    he needs be silenced and ignored by the the moderate GOP or we will continue to be force fed far right extreme canidates if they want to be or not, the majority of Americans do not know who Thomas Paine was. What we do know is that we need leadership, not history buffs, not extremeists..... lets not forget what history has taught us about extremists.

    November 12, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Michael

    When asked why he asked for Gen. McClellen's opinion, President Lincoln replied, "Because he is a Majority General; I am but a Minority President." That act of consideration and compromise has been sorely missing from politics, especially in the past 20+ years. It's all about The Party and not The People. After all, the preable to the Costitution begins, "We the people ..."

    November 12, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. blindbear

    The Republicans were actually shocked that they lost. The real world intruded upon their delusions of adequacy. We should all just be really glad that Romney didn't win because he's shown that he has absolutely no grasp of reality. I can see it now. "Oh, I'm sure the Koreans won't use their atomic weapons on us, let's just attack them. Just the fact that I'm President will stop the terrorists from being terrorists." There are thousands of ways that someone who's proven to be divorced from reality could destroy this nation. We dodged a bullet on Nov 6.

    November 12, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. nadinesh

    Such thoughtful posts today. Thank you all for your opinions.

    November 12, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Bayley0402

    Romney lost. Get over it and quit trying analyzing all the reasons. We all know the reasons why he so give it a rest and quit beating a dead horse.

    November 12, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Amateur exegist

    I think the pro-life Christians should read their own Holy Book, The Bible. Leviticus 21:22-23 states that when a person causes a woman to miscarry the value of a fetus is determined by the father (extend to mother/parents in today's less patriarchal society without loss of significance) of the fetus so long as he doesn't set too high a value as determined by a Priest. Whenever the killing of a person is addressed in the Bible, the punishment is set by God; sometimes but not always a life for a life. Jesus never mentions a fetus or abortion. Ergo, the Bible really has nothing specific to say about abortion. Any decision society makes about when life begins and when the "rights" of a fetus become distinct from those of the mother must be made on other grounds.

    November 12, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. nana9999

    We owe Jimmy Carter's grandson an abundance of thanks for exposing to the country the true Mitt Romney and Republican Party.

    Message to Mitt: Don't mess with a good ole' southern boy's grandpa!

    November 12, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Sandra

    I don't feel sorry for Romney. He would say and do anything to get elected. Don't blame it on the primaries. Put the blame squarely where it belongs for saying those things....on him. He's a big boy and he shouldn't lie to get himself elected. Who guess is he really meant a lot of them. It was difficult to keep up when he kept saying in the latter stages that he didn't say something when he quite clearly did. I didn't trust him then and I don't feel sorry for him now since he played to the right wings biases and prejudice.

    November 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, I'd say "self-deportation" pretty much cost him the latino vote. Incredibly unrealistic and a sop to xenophobes and racists.

    November 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Flip Flopper

    I voted for Obama, I am more of a moderate leaning democrat. In a way I felt bad for Mitt. I did not totally dislike him. I really feel Mitt is a moderate and softer on social issues. It is the conservative right of the GOP that is ruining the party. Mitt had to change all his views just to get the nomination, then flip flopped. If Mitt had run as a moderate the whole time and didn't keep changing (and stayed out of people's personal lives), I may have voted for him. I also watched the show that Carlos Guitterez was on this week. I laughed hysterically at the conservative on the panel who said the opposite, that Mitt lost cause he wasn't conservative enough on social issues. What an idiot that guy is, that's why you keep losing. Stay out of people's personal lives!!!

    November 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. nadinesh

    I think the reason that the Republicans are confabbing so intensely is because they do want to keep as much as possible of the somewhat wiggly message they tried to promulgate in Romney's campaign. They will probably (if they're rational) decide to deep-six the anti-immigration vengefulness, but I imagine they will not throw the silly evangelical obsession with contraception and abortion overboard. If they want to focus on the message that is MOST shared by Republicans - that tax and government policies favoring entrepreneurism is the healthiest economically - they are really going to have to drown both the other issues AND make it clear that voters must hold their noses when it comes to favoring the wealthy, for the nation's good. That's their best shot. I'm not sure if that would even fly. It might. Personally, I am very much in disagreement with all three tenets, but it is the purpose of the other party to provide an alternate viewpoint, a choice. But it needs to have *some* viability.

    November 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    solex wrote:

    ...I also think that our uniquely American ideal that individual agendas are just as important as national ones can only lead to disunity.

    I also think that many moderate repubs held their noses and voted for Obama – with their need for personal relilgous and relationship freedom outweighing the need to keep as much money as possible in their wallets. "
    The real problems with the GOP are the dysfunctional pledges that they like to sign, which only demonstrate their intransigence, and their denial of the FACT that US Constitution defines this country as a secular state, not a Christian one. Both of those conditions make compromise impossible because compromise has now become a sin.

    November 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. terrymcmanus

    Mitt Romney is a decent man who was taken over by the drive to win at all costs. He would have been much further ahead to have held to the moderate values he has espoused for years.

    Gary Bauer and the rest should just go and form their own stupid little party that will quickly become a fading memory and the Republican party should take back their history.

    November 12, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Brian Hartman

    @Larry L: Compassionate conservatism (also known as moderate Republicanism) sold just fine in 2000 and 2004. As for the extreme right wing, they've already marginalized themselves in the 2012 election. The Gary Bauers of the Republican party are going to be abandoned because they can't deliver elections.

    I also think Bauer is wrong on a key point: People don't want a second Democratic party, and that's not what moderate Republicans stand for. There *are* people, though, who would support moderate versions of Republican positions. e.g., no abortion on demand, but exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

    November 12, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Dem13

    I disagree with Gary Bauer's assertion that the Democratic Party is pro-abortion, it is Pro-Choice. The Democrats do not force anyone to have an abortion; they want women to have the choice to choose what is best for them, without government intervention.

    November 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Bocephus Moonshine

    "I think Mitt Romney's comments (about his hard line position on immigration) are a symptom. I think the disease is the fact that the far right of the party controls the primary process." In other words, MITT ROMNEY LEADS FROM BEHIND.

    November 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. cj90210

    Wow, Mr. Bauer is really out of touch with reality! If the GOP had focused any more on abortion during the campaign, they would have certainly lost more that the Atkin/Mourdock seats they lost on 11/6. While most Amercians are not pro-choice, I do believe a majority believes in the "rare, safe and legal" position most Dems hold. To all the pro life men out there I have one question: if your wife were raped, would you support and raise that child as your own? If not, then I suggest you reevaluate your position on this issue...

    November 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Calcommuter

    The Latinos say the Reps did not represent their best interests. Even the illegal ones. Women said the Reps did not represent their views and wanted to define their lives, reproductive choices and define the degree of assault on them. Non religious constituents felt the Reps are way out of touch and do not know how to separate church and state. Non 1 percenters, or as Mitt called it the 47 percenters felt Mitt and reps only represent rich and corporations that paid for their candidacies. So yeah, they have work to do and get their lies straight next time if they want to win an election..

    November 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Dustin

    How about the GOP's conduct at the RNC, and how they disenfranchised the youngest most motivated body of supporters they have ever had, perhaps if they extended their happy little tent to include the Paul supporters, they would have had hundreds of thousands more votes, why won't the media address this?

    November 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Sy2502

    The GOP can entirely blame themselves for losing the Presidential elections. By year 2 of Obama's presidency, there already were many disappointed Obama voters. By the time the GOP nomination process started, many Obama voters were very open minded about voting a Republican alternative. But then they saw the lineup was so bad that voting for Obama again didn't look so bad any more.

    November 12, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. perrochato

    In hindsight the GOP may consider the disenfranchisement of minorities a mistake and are now repentent, but those on the receiving end see the hate as the Gosprl of the GOP. So please don't try and spread your disease. Keep it amongst yourselves. You may put up a minority front on this or that occasion or as a candidate for whatever office, but they are tokens, no more no less. Some may have a good story to back them up, but they still represent you the GOP. Your views are so entrenched it is impossible to dislodge from your soul. You try and buy your way into office with Citizens United which was singularly offensive. You rig elections with gerrymandering to keep minorites at bay. You may try and change the make up of your Party or rewrite your platform but you are still the same people concealing what will always be there, hate with an incredible determination to keep America white and under the control of the rich. Where was the outcry against Joe Wilson crying out You Lie to the President of the United States in front of all America, where was the outcry against Trump for his outrageous accusations of the President not being born in the USA, where was the outrage against John Sununu accusing the President of not knowing how to be American and where was the outrage against Romney declaring self deportation would be the method of controlling immigration.The GOP was silent, because in their heart they agreed.You made your bed, now sleep in it.

    November 12, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. nadinesh

    Republicans do themselves no favors to listen to extremists like Bauer. It also does the country no favors, because it attenuates the Republicans to point that they become unelectable, and that means that the country is not provided with any real choices or alternatives. What does upset me is that the really fine politicians in the Party are either marginalized or they have left. When an intelligent man of principle and competence such as Linc Chafee is demonized, alienated and run out of the party with a switch, by little minds of no experience or competence, how can you believe in such a party? When it favors jokes like Palin or Ryan over leaders like Lugar and honest public servants like Olympia Snowe, what does it tell you about such a Party?

    November 12, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. LadyL

    I voted for Romney because the federal, state and many local governments are too big and too intrusive. I am very frustrated by much of the Republican party platform though. I strongly disagree with the need to keep bringing religion into politics. I am pro-choice on everything from abortion to religion to sexuality. Live and let live or, as Ron Paul said, "Leave Me Alone!"

    P.S. IMHO Limbaugh and his cronies have done nothing to improve the Republican party

    November 12, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. stevetall

    Made some mistakes? How about the mistake the Republican Party made in nominating a chump like Romney in the first place? What a greedy, self-absorbed clown.

    November 12, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16