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. Give it a rest

    It's interesting that despite Romney losing there are people on these threads spouting the same old song of hatred, bias, bigotry and birtherism. It is exactly these values that made Romney lose. Romney tried to align himself with these right wing evangelicals and after it was too late, realized it was a fool's mission. There are not enough conservative evangelicals to get anyone elected to a national office. Though they are the noisiest part of the Republican Party, they are the least effective. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they listened to the noisiest among them and decided to follow that lead. It is that strategy that cost Romney the job. Had he stuck to the conservative but moderate values he displayed during his election to Massachusetts governor, he might very well have won the election. The vast majority of Americans, whether they are conservative or liberal (and in America it's OK to be either one) are moderates. Extremists from either side of the spectrum will not garner enough votes to win. It's that simple. Oh, a nut job like Michelle Bachmann might win in her little district in Minnesota, but when she gets to the big game, she won't even be called off the bench. Romney should have realized that. Romney lost due to a series of tactical and strategic errors on his part. This DOES have something to do with the job. If Romeny does not understand the American people well enough to win the election, then he does not deserve the job. He lost by both popular and Electoral College votes. The message was clear. Americans will not vote for non-moderates. Let's hope the days of the Republican Party being jerked around by the Tea Party are now coming to a close. If the GOP continues to pander to the Tea Party and right wing extremists, they will collapse as a party. It's as simple as that.

    November 11, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Webhoncho

    The Republican Party needs to remake itself as a MODERATE political party. The attitudes of the far-right panelists only makes the Democrats smile. If the GOP doesn't get their root cause problem fixed and continues to pander to their evangelical and extreme elements, a demographic that od shrinking each year, then the GOP will become irrelevant within 2 election cycles.

    November 11, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. TerryG

    Hard to say which of these two is suffering the worst case of denial. More tea please.

    November 11, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Carol Johnson

    His biggest mistake was running and the next biggest mistake was changing his views on every subject he has ever taken these last 6 years. He was against every thing he was every for 6 years ago until the last couple of weeks prior to the election and then he tried to tell the people that he was now for all the stuff he campaigned against the last 5 years and it the people saw through the lies and do defeated him very plainly and with both more than 3 million popular votes and more than a 125 electoral votes!!!======332 to 206 that should send a message, but the republicans will probably say it was dead people voting or people voting more than once even though they had spies at just about every precinct watching like hawk to make sure no one made a mistake and tried to intimidate them from voting!!!

    November 11, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Esther in Round Rock

    The GOP has decided to dredge up more Latino candidates, George P. Bush, for one. I think they believe that Latinos will vote for Latinos no matter what their policies are. I think Latinos are smarter than that. I think the GOP policies need to move more to the middle if they want to win any presidential campaigns in the future.

    November 11, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Jeff O'Dette

    Mormon. thats why

    November 11, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Liz

    Romney lost because his economic plan was not made clear.
    Romney lost because his own taxes were not made public.
    Romney lost because his foreign policy know-how was fuzzy.
    Romney lost because he alienated foreign countries so glibly.
    Romney lost because he is is hung up about gay marriage.
    Romney lost because his healthcare ideas were nebulous.
    Romney lost because he was foolish enough to hit Big Bird.
    Romney lost because his own party was obviously lukewarm.
    Romney lost because he changed his stances so frequently.
    Romney lost because the GOP is now a party of exclusion.
    Romney lost because the GOP disdains the Ledbetter rule.
    Romney lost because his was a losing battle from Day One.

    Want more???

    November 11, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Kurt

    Gary Bauer is exactly the GOP platform is the way it is. People of like mind have too much influence. A party can have a conservative position on abortion, but don't make it central to the platform. You don't see Dems outright advocating for abortion rights. It's an ancillary issue. Greenpeace and NOW don't control the Dem platform, but people like Bauer do in the GOP. That should never happen.

    November 11, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Drew

    Like I've been saying all along, GOP candidates have to move so far right to get the nomination of their party, then can never move back to the center once they've won. Unless they perfect an amnesia ray they can hit us all with.

    November 11, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |

    The problem with this so called immigration reform is this: it was already tried in the 1980's under Reagan and did not work. All it did was encourage more illegal immigration. You have to deal with the root cause of illegal immigration in order to solve it. That is economic disparity in the countries they come from. These countries, like Mexico, fail to implement reforms that eliminate corruption and favortism as well as strengthen government institutions to serve the people better. Until that is dealt with, no immigration reform is going to help. Plus, giving amnesty to illegal immigrants here only encourages more illegal immigration. Why follow the process if others have circumvented the system? It gives no incentive to follow the right process. It’s a matter of fairness!

    November 11, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Doug

    I am a passionate Obama supporter. There is nothing I want less than for the republicans to be successful in convincing Americans that they are "moderate." Stop telling them to get rid of the wackos in their party. First of all, they are almost all wackos. Second, any attempt to actually support women's issues, or latino issues, or gay issues, or poor issues, will by a cynical attempt to gain votes for the sake of gaining power. It will be even less honest than their present policy of insulting everyone. They must stick to their principles. If they want to change for real, let them become Democrats.

    November 11, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. ny88

    When people are given only 2 choices: either "Big Government" or "Intrusive Government" most people are going to choose the lessor of the 2 evils which is "Big Government".
    Until the GOP stops trying to be Intrusive and force the religious rights so called "values" on to every person in this country in the form of laws, and starts to focus on economic issues only, they will continue to fail.
    However it seems that they haven't figured this out yet. So 4 years from now, let them push the "values" agenda on the rest of us and when they fail again, maybe they will learn that we will protect our First Amendment Rights. Sadly I doubt it.

    November 11, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. cja

    It is 100% true that the Republican party needs to address the issues of the CENTER. Catering to tea-party nuts and Religious Rght will not help them gain the group they need which is just "normal" moderates.

    This time in 2012 the Republicans got a HUGE boost from white southern males who simply hated the idea of a black man being president. Next time Republicans will not have this working in their favor. What if the Democrats choose a white southern male candidate (like Carter) in 2016?

    The trouble is the Republican primary is "rigged" to choose a very conservative person who can't winin the general electron. And by 2020 the country may become a "majority of minorities".

    Here is my advice: Come out here is California and see what you need to do to win out here. Change you message as required. You may have to back iniigrant's rights and labor and the environment. Do all of that and more and you just might get 50% of the vote. Then take that in 2016 as the national platform.

    November 11, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Ginni

    @ Give it a rest : Excellent post – well said!

    November 11, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Mike

    The Republican party is finding out that when you lay down with dogs you might get fleas. The Tea Party and Evangelicals... the Republican party is finally paying for its decision to associate with those people and their radical views.

    November 11, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. educated voter

    The point that the media is missing is that elections now involve an entirely new way of reaching voters, and people campaigning for office are going to have to deal with it from now on. Gone are the days when they could do and say anything they wanted, and then rely on debate sound bites to reach people. The fact is, I have never been more aware of the candidates. "Etch a sketch" opportunities are GONE. I'm a relative dinosaur in my 40s but I get my news almost daily from a variety of sources on the internet (my teenager, who will vote in the next election is even MORE internet savvy). While I was vaguely aware of Romney during last election (and what I knew of him, I really liked!), I knew ALL about him when he was campaigning for the Republican nomination. By the time the Presidential campaign rolled around, I had already decided that I didn't like what he stood for. My parents (who still watch only the news on tv, and Fox at that) asked if I was going to keep an open mind and watch the debates, and I'd shrugged my shoulders. There wasn't much Mitt could do to change my mind. Imagine my surprise when he sounded so different, so MODERATE, in that first debate! No, I wasn't fooled by his "Etch a sketch" trick because I'd been following him for months, if not a year by that point; if anything, I was outraged that he thought we were so stupid and shallow that we would buy an hour's worth of carefully rehearsed soundbites out of an entire year's worth of campaigning. No, Mitt, I knew about you wayyyy before then. This is really a warning to all candidates from now on, though. We're reading about you all along, not just at the very end.

    November 11, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. john

    Not that familiar with Carlos Gutierrez. Must think he has something to gain by throwing in with the dark side. I do know that Romney had nothing to offer the Latino's. After the Obama's Dream Act was enacted that was it for Romney. Shocks me that 27% of Latino's would vote against their own interest.

    November 11, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. David H

    Keep lieing 2 urselvers n da rest of da world.
    Think, Rush Limbaugh, Sara Palin, Donald Trump, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Crastro,
    Glen Beck, Osama Bin, and of course your favorite Adolph Hitler.....
    I once admired the GOP. How far away you've gone from Ronald Reagan & George Bush senior whom I grew up admiring. I never cared who got elected, I allways been happy w/ the American choice. Your above mentioned allies dragged me out of my job 2 vote against you, & bring my friends....I dont need your welfare, but I crave respect......Taxpaying Hispanic

    November 11, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Haz

    Congrats to the Republican winners! Congrats to the Democrat winners! Now there is lots of work that stands before us.

    WE ARE The UNITED States of America!

    November 11, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Cellar Rat

    "Jesus never called the poor 'lazy,' fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes or asked a leper for a copay. If you don't want tax dollars going to help the sick and poor, then it's time to stop saying you want a government based on Christian values." ~ John Fugelsang

    November 11, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Name Penguin

    People didn't vote for Romney because the Republican party's economic "trickle down" theory never worked, doesn't make sense, and is inequitable. Money trickles up and companies make money because of their workers. The fact that Romney has no core values (other than hedonism) cost him votes, but the Republican platform cost him the election.

    November 11, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Larry L

    @Ancient Texan

    Your belief that the GOP wants more conservative candidates means you consider Republicans to be right wing radicals like those you listen to on Fox News. Had that been true people would have joined you when they had a chance to support Rick Perry – a candidate you supported in Texas. Please keep this belief and encourage the other wing nuts you know to follow the same path. Democrats appreciate your intellectual contribution!

    November 11, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Don

    Are you serious? You still don't get it – maybe you are just too old. LOL. The entire GOP message and stance is out of date, and you had no clue how to related to "today'" Latinos, either. But don't feel bad, the GOP cannot related to anyone group except one or two maybe – out of 20 or 30. Again, they are just WAY out of touch with today, tomorrow and reality. I still can't believe anyone even listened to the Tea Party at all, and I expect the rest of their bunch to be gone from the house and senate in 2 years, because this country is going forward, not backwards. Moving on..

    November 11, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. norma jean

    Every one obviously is enjoying giving their reason for Romneys loss........but among my family and was the final kick in the teeth to the voters........the ""47%""........this really told it showed just what he thought of the very people he was trying to pretend to lead....I wouldn't have voted for him anyway.. but....that told the whole story!!!!! Whomever was responsible for the taping of that message is owed major gratitude from the voters.....It was a masterful stroke of genius!!!!

    November 11, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. jim

    If you get sucked into saying things you don't believe in the primaries, and then get sucked into things you don't believe in in the general election, these are two reasons the USA doesn't want you to become President.

    November 11, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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