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. Denny B

    Sure Mitt alienated the hispanic voting bloc, DUH. Consider what lost him the election (the 800 pound gorilla in the room nobody is talking about) besides the unfair electoral college system which has allowed 4 elections to go to the candidate with the least number of votes. The Medical Marijuana Patients in 17 states – were disenfranchised when Mitt Romney told a reporter offhandedly that he'd prefer to discuss the economy – that he didn't think marijuana "should ever be legal" and made a reference to it being a gateway drug. Voters in is own state of Mass. passed a MMJ initiative – which only shows how out of touch Mitt is with so many voters. Pro Romney MMJ patients who saw the same telecast interview that I saw – probably decided on the spot, if they wanted their pain medicine (cannabis) to continue to be available – they pretty much HAD to vote for Obama. DUH.

    November 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Carol

    Has anyone told Karl Rove that we are on to the game of blaming the opposing candidate for our misdeeds? I find it outrageous that these moneyed Republicans think the electorate harbors morons. Who are the morons?

    November 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. serg

    Just wanted to share this:

    " could look to the guy who raised taxes in tough times and signed an abortion rights bill as governor, then amnestied illegal immigrants and nearly tripled the national debt as president.
    What was his name?
    Ronald Reagan.
    Think about it, GOP. You've marched so far to the right, you practically make your party's conservative icon look like a card-carrying liberal..." Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 11/10/2012.

    November 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. beevee

    The reason Romney lost is that he lacks core convictions. he flip-flopped a lot during the primaries and the final campaign so much so he became an embodiment of a political chameleon and everyone could see through his shallowness.This Carlos guy must be one of those Cubans that are not very smart to be in the republican party in the first place who do not realize that they are bieng used by the GOP.

    November 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. john vance

    The GOP let this election slip out of their hands early. The primary got caught up in excessive wrangling involving unelectable candidates trotting out non-starter ideas and taking extreme positions. Gov Romney and Amb Huntsman were the only candidates that stood any chance in the general election and allowing the hopelessly wacky characters so much air time tossed Amb Huntsman under the bus, pushed Gov Romney too far right and scared off centrists.
    The tea party and social conservatives have legitimate viewpoints so let them say their piece but don't stick them front and center. Do that and Gov Romney is president today.

    November 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. 2020

    it is hyprocritical for any religious leader to say something and do the exact opposite.

    In democracy, regardless who you are, what you are, you have one vote, that is it.

    Don't wear any hat to press your view on others. Everyone is born with a brain, they can think for him or herself.

    The collective wisdom of citizens always prevail in any circumstances. Re-elect Obama is natural course as he is the only one who cares for all, the middle class, the well being of every person in the country.

    What more explanation GOP need, just a giant MIRROR !!

    November 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Proud Liberal (Hispanic/Italian woman

    When will people finally get off the Pres broke the law crap. Pres Obama gave kids that do not know any country other than this one as home the opportunity to stay here. That is wrong how? If these people risked there lives to get here and are doing everything right why shouldn't they be offered citizenship? If they are citizens they will then be paying taxes as well as feeding into Social Security and Medicaid. Not to mention immigrants are typically a lot more ambitious simply because they have a greater appreciation for what our country has to offer.

    As far as the GOP campaign they were doomed from the start. There ideologies have yet to evolve and the folks that vote for them are dying off.

    My dad is a die hard republican, I haven't spoke to him since the Thursday before the election. I found out he had voted and told him that at some point you would have thought common sense would have kicked it. He still won't answer my phone calls.

    To further rub salt in the wound I sent him a condolence card;)

    November 11, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. 2020


    GOP stuck their head in the sand for too long. has been on self destruction path for too long, they are the lost souls.

    November 11, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Reality☑

    moral superiority became the foundation of the Republican Party and that is more dangerous than the fiscal cliff. It encroaches on the basic individual rights and responsibility which make this country great. It is the Republican party's right to their perspective and reality but very obvious it no longer reflect the majority of the individuals in the US.

    November 11, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. lbpaulina

    Republicans need to stop blaming Mitt Romney for their failure. The campaign tactic was nasty and wrong: they completely ignored the demographics, and their polled people were too old. Let's compare the two conventions: one was multiracial, funny and younger (this was the Democratic convention); the other one was monochromatic, completely white, boring and old (the Republican convention.) I they think that there are more elderly people or young? I think it is our responsibilty to think of the future generations. The positive results that the republicans obtained are all concentrated in the same areas, and this is a dangerous sign, because they could keep on in losing for years. By the way, they should have shut Trump's mouth; I have Republican friends who cannot stand him, and they were concerned about his effect on the campaign. They were correct.

    November 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. jcvance

    The GOP let this election slip out of their hands early. The primary got caught up in excessive wrangling involving unelectable candidates trotting out non-starter ideas and taking extreme positions. Gov Romney and Amb Huntsman were the only candidates that stood any chance in the general election and allowing the hopelessly wacky characters so much air time tossed Amb Huntsman under the bus, pushed Gov Romney too far right and scared off centrists.
    The tea party and social conservatives have legitimate viewpoints so let them say their piece but don't stick them front and center. Do that and Gov Romney is president today

    November 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. janerose

    Republican party is run by the 1%. These 1%ers are old white rich men in their palaces. These men think God made them rich as a reward for being better then the rest of us.

    November 11, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. manhandler

    He was not "forced" into anything. if he'd ever had the guts to just come out and say what he truly believed, instead of persuing serial pandering, voters might have had a different opinion of him. You can blame the far Right for lots of things, but not for this mans lack of character.

    November 11, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. trufaldino

    The GOP needs to drop the anti-immigrant xenophobia in order to win elections, but the problem with them is that it may be too ingrained in their credo for them to do so. If you're attracted to the GOP because your a white, male, nonHispanic and feel that "our country" is the country where white, male nonHispanics call the shots, you're hardly going to be drawn to a party that says, "We're the party of the Latinos", and you won't vote for people in the primaries that say different. The GOP's best hope is that its nativists die out over the next couple of decades and they don't, in the process, scare off the multiculturalists from finding common groud with the GOP. In the meantime, they'll continue as a vocal, intransigent minority held in place only by Congressional gerrymandering. That's the only reason they continue as a force in the House even through they are a minority of diminishing importance nationally.

    November 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. thegifted

    If the republican party wants any chance in the next election, they need to place some distance with nut cases like Akin or Mourdock in their own party Views like that are what scared voters. Like it or not, the swing or undecided voters especially women, begins to associate these extreme views with the party. Many other factors contributed, but this was just one in which we could have done a better job at distancing ourselves.

    November 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Maria

    David Gergen is one of the few analysts that I respect. Glad to see him get the attention he deserves!

    November 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Sueb

    Wow, it wasn't that Romney lied about his stance on was that he was forced to lie. It wasn't that he was just a bad candidate.....he was forced to flip flop, lie, obfuscate and etchasketch his way through the entire campaign.....and it wasn't that his pseudo-stances were voted down by the people, it was the other party-darn them for having a message and sticking to it!!!!

    November 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. janerose

    When is the divide in this country going to lead to Civil War? Waiting....

    November 11, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Shockie

    I don't by this augment..First this county has NO jobs for it people....and we are broke. Like Ron Paul said "There is NO money we are broke...How can we help everyone when we can't help our self......Romney is half Mexican and I know he would have help everyone get a job...Its my opinion.....

    November 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Pander Bear

    The GOP lost because it catered to its fringe elements.

    November 11, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Omar Dice

    It tells us the GOP Billionaires, and GOP Millionaires, are not so smart..they thought the whole country was as badly informed as the Tea Party is...
    Just because Rupert Murdock's Fox News has high viewer ratings, does not mean all the viewers believe what Fox News says...can not see through the propaganda...
    I was watching on the morning of 9/11/2001 when the picture of the white van was on all the TV stations and the men were all standing and kneeling, in front of that white van, smiling, while across the river in the background the Twin Tower's were burning..later the Fox News Staff was busy trying to deny that picture even existed..
    Rupert Murdock sold a lot of political ads this year on his vast media network.. Rupert Murdock made a lot of money off this election..Just how much of the 6 billion spent this year, ended up in Rupert Murdock's hands..The GOP Billionaires, and Millionaires, were fooled, were wrong at judging the American voter...the Majority of Americans can still think and reason for themselves.....
    You can see why the GOP Rich dislike Unions.....When a group of workers do not believe the corporation makes the owners really mad....

    November 11, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. UraverageJoe

    Oh I hope the Republicans listen to Gary Bauer. they're just not conservative enough. Next election I hope they'll continue their attacks on women, Latinos, senior citizens, disabled veterans and who know maybe they could include albinos and laboratory test animals . . . Surely that will lead to victory! Lol

    November 11, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Ancient Texan

    There was many of us on the comment line during the primaries that stated the fact that "moderate" or "RINO" candidates were not our choice and that Conservatives just wouldn't vote in mass for them. Dole, McCain and now Romney have all proven that Conservatives want a Conservative cadidate. This particular election was a "must" to have a candidate that ALL GOP/TP members could support. Not enough of us did. I'm still saying that the circle firing squad primary debates are an insane way to pick a candidate.

    November 11, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. nothing new here

    There are many ways that Republicans messed up this election;
    1. Nominating a flip-flopping panderer
    2. Bending over for the religious zealots
    3. Selling out to war fanatics
    4. Selling out to big corporations and old money
    5. Dissing women, minorities and the middle-class
    6. Presenting NO plan for the future (unless one considers "hate speech" as a blueprint for the country)
    7. Worrying about everyone's bedroom business, instead of worrying about the future of this country

    Get it together, Republicans, of us Independents/Libertarians will leave you in the dust

    November 11, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. NoKidding

    You have republicans faulting Romney for losing because he wasn't republican enough, then you have republicans faulting him for losing because he was too republican. What was the guy to do? Flip flop, that was what he did.
    But the bottom line is, the republicans beliefs and policies are way backwards and don't make sense to the general population, that is why they lost, whether the candidate was Romney or not.

    November 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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