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. Dude in Colorado

    The two biggest reasons Romney lost are 1) His flip-flopping cost him a consistant vision for America and his persona therefore appeared weak, 2) He flatly refused to realease his pre-2009 taxreturns which, spin it how you will Romney supporters, made him look as though he had something to hide and was willing to wager his Presidency on it – guess what, he lost that wager.

    November 11, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Pete/Ark

    Romney lost because his advisors (the author included) were too centered on thier own philosophys and interest groups to see a way to bring the electorate together behind thier boss...and he was too dull to see it every time thier conflicting tactics made him play the fool. It was more of a mob than an organization.

    November 11, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. nene

    The reason why mitt lost is he was out of touch with.

    November 11, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. George

    the problem is the your words do come back to bite you in the tush. The Republican party for the past decade has been driven by the far right wing of the party. If you want to go on television day after day and preach retoric you get what you deseerve. The only way for the party to win is to get rid of the rght wing and learn to govern down the center.

    November 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. The Right Left

    To Koch Bros, Donald Trumps and Sheldon Adelsons:

    Money cannot buy you happiness nor Presdency. Times are changing. Not ennough poor and illterate Confederates out there to die for your cause.Love the way you guys lost $300 million. A fool and his money soon serperate. Next time dont give your money to Karl Rove. You would have done better if you would have spent that $300 million on schools and clinics for the poor. You have nothing but the anger and dispise of the American people. History will remember you as the villians.

    November 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Pete

    So Romney would have won if he had been MORE conservative? HA HA HA HA HA That's just too funny !!!!!

    November 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    With these new demographics being a winning coalition, it looks like 2016 is Hillary's for the asking!

    November 11, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Nija

    2016 Hilary will be the next president.

    November 11, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. RandyKC

    Romney had an impossible job. The Republican primary doesn't produce the best candidate, just the one that uncompromisingly caters best to the right.
    The Tea party has succeeded in making themselves irrelevant.

    November 11, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. GRB

    As a Latino with over 20 years of service in the military and a member of the republican party for over 20 years I most said that I know plenty of illegal and I do not know of a single one that gets government assistance. I must say that while watching the primaries and hearing all the negative talk about illegals I got sick to my stomach and I know I was not the only one my entire family and Latino friends felt the same way. We want strong secure borders but we don’t want the Latino community regardless of their status to be harassed most Latinos are conservatives and would like to be part of a conservative party that accepts us and our friends, we do not vote democrats because we want to we vote against the hostilities against our friends.

    November 11, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Johnny

    He lost every single battleground state for crying out loud. He couldn't carry any of the three states he called home. Ryan couldn't carry his state either. People weren't buying what they were selling.

    November 11, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Lobo

    Lets hope that the gop bosses stay clueless as to why they lost and big. 2014 is right around the corner and the house races are gonna be one of two things. 1. A wholesale removal of the gop majority in the house and a more senate seats for those that are up for re-election. 2. They lose the senate and the house. Blaming the loss on just hispanics is insulting, they lost for a whole variety of reasons and they know it. Will they do anything to change it. Proabably not.

    November 11, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. AnnieM

    Dear GOP: This is the 21st Century, no the 19th. Everyone has right, a voice and a vote – not just old rich white men. Either Move into the future or end up like the dinosaurs you are.

    November 11, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Squigman

    Romney's biggest mistake, taking 54 million from one contributor and even more from other multimillionaires. Democracy, should never be for sale to the highest bidder. Thank God for the Hispanic's the women, the blacks and the Asian voters that kept this money grubbing creep from getting access to the Oval Office. He's already placed money into offshore accounts, did those voting for him want the freedom of the nation to also be sent to offshore accounts? WAKE-UP.

    November 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Name Robert

    We love The Obamas & Bidens

    November 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. sheldon

    Four years from now the Republicans will face the sme situation in the primaries. A conservative candidate will be selected who will be defeated in the general election.Obama will campaign for Hillary Clinton and bring in large numbers of voters to support her. Only hope for Republicans is to change their stance on social issues.

    November 11, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Cellar Rat

    Of course they want the immigrants to retain residency. Who would clean their mansions, manicure their expansive lawns or be their drivers? The Angry Old White Men live in fear of becoming the minority. Perhaps it's because minorities are treated like second class citizens?

    November 11, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Billcody

    Take a look at the past four years. The only things the Republican party stood for was "we won't do anything President Obama wants." They publically announced that their singular goal was to make sure Obama was a one-term President. Then when primary season came around no one had anything positive on their record. They had blocked everything. Had they met the President halfway on anything, they could have run on their record.
    The far right hates immigrants but they forget that when their ancestors came to this country they were hated by those who preceeded them too.
    The Republicans fail to own George Bush's record yet they want to complain about everything that was done to recover from the near collapse of the economy. Romney publicly opposed the bailout of the auto industry, then Ryan tries to sell Ohio that they would have been better off if the auto industry had gone through a tradition bankruptcy. The American people are smarter than that.
    The Republican fail to admit that they are just as much to blame for the deficit as the Democrats. The inherited a surplus and turned it into a deficit which they ignored until President Obama took office. Then all of a sudden the deficit was a bad thing but they wouldn't agree that everything needed to be on the table.

    November 11, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. n, tx

    He lost because he was flip flipping, he had no stand, one day he would say one thing and next day he would says something different . Plus he was not good for America, these Karl rove and his super pac had to much invested in this election and these people would have misuse the white house. These Koch brother and Sheldon spending 100 's million dollars if Romney had got into white house these thief's would have used the president office like their own. So I happy he lost.

    November 11, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. JimNasium

    Blaming the republican fringe is a cop-out. Romney could have stood up to them or at least attempted to lead them to another point of view. Instead he chose the spineless route of appeasement. Ironic, huh?

    November 11, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Joe The Plumber

    Now the Retro Republicans are blaming the lost on too many moderates? The Retros Republican capacity for denial is unbelievable.

    November 11, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Ambrose Smith

    Many reasons why he lost but he did better than any of the other wacko GOPers would have done. Gingrich, Perry, Santorum, Cain, Bachmann and Paul would've been CRUSHED!

    November 11, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. clarke

    The GOP has to let go of the belief that all voters are white, that all voters are Christian, That all voters are against the freedom of choice, that all votes are Republicans, that all voters are male, that all voters are wealthy, that all voters are white collar, that all votes are over 65, that all voters are against same sex marriage, that all voters are against equal pay for equal work, that all voters still live in the 1950's, that all voters think immigration is a number one issue, Well If I want someone telling how I should believe, and what I should believe then I will move to China. The GOP needs to get their heads on straight and listen to the people, to all the people, We are ONE NATION, WE ARE CREATED EQUAL, WE HAVE FREEDOMS. We can all believe want we want, but we can not impose our own belief's unto others.

    November 11, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. RickFrmTexas

    Gutierrez correctly identified the source of the problem, the tea party.

    The GOP cannot expand its' base until they are gone, it's that simple.

    November 11, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. JohnPeel

    Wasn't the messenger that lost, was the message. The GOP has embarked on a campaign of exclusion using a racist and prejudicial agenda as the litmus test. The same people they are excluding are rapidly growing in numbers in a changing demographic right before their very eyes. Too shortsighted to recognize or even contemplate those facts.

    "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results." – Albert Einstein –

    November 11, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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