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. BK

    Maybe next election you'll be nice to minorities instead of trying to keep them from voting.

    November 11, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Tom

    The republican party is fraught with extremists who revel in guns, religion and hypocracy.

    November 11, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Name W. Stone

    They just don't get it. The party that is anti-union (which means no more pensions, job security and a society where you do not have to have a silver spoon or go to college an still reach the middle class or above); anti-women, and anyone that is not white, anti-universal healthcare, anti-education for all, and anti-control, but for the military-industrial complex and tax breaks for the 1%. Absolutely of no sense to the common man. The far right wing will ultimately destroy the GOP. And good riddens.

    November 11, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Jan

    I was watching the polls in Mass. Romney was going down, down. I knew these people knew the real Romney and they didn't think he was as great as he was saying he was.

    November 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. batjones

    I don't think the Republicans will adjust anytime soon. How long will it be before we hear again some congressman advocating a bill to make English the national language? And then the next day, we will watch that same congressman advocate laissez faire economics. With all due respect, I find most of the national Republican congressmen to be psychotic.

    November 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. rs

    No one wants to vote for a candidate for president who:
    * Is an unapologetic plutocrat
    * Makes an ass of himself in a private fundraiser by: dissing 47% of the electorate; makes insane foreign policy claims; and claims the economy will simply improve because he is elected
    * Lies- not merely disagreement in interpretation of facts- outright lies, easy to disprove lies
    * Assumes that the American public will elect him no matter what he says or does- insulting

    November 11, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. mario

    Gutierrez obviously had no problem taking $ from a man who obviously didn't think he or any Hispanic deserve to live in the U.S. The Repubs will likely start dealing with Hispanics the way that Dems deal with gays. Make 'em lots of promises about how they'll be treated like human beings to get their vote, break all the promises, then make some slightly different promises next round to fool 'em into voting for you again.

    November 11, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Brian

    The republicans better watch out. Voters are ready for them. Bring it on. We are so sick of your stupid ways. Stop dragging down this country! Next election we won't stop at the swing states. We will go after the red states and win them too!

    November 11, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. rs

    The single biggest mistake the GOP (and Romney) made is this: You cannot win an election by relying on, pandering to, and getting funding from only the richest 2% of America.They talk about fiscal responsibility- meanwhile the nation goes broke giving the richest in America tax cuts they don't need.

    November 11, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. bill.x

    Republican just don't understand the Hispanic problem they have, or they don't care. The truth is they need the anti-Hispanic fervor in their party. They cultivated a part of their base that sticks with them just because they hate Hispanics. So that party has determined the net gain of the haters is greater than the loss of the Hispanic vote. So now they think the problem is immigration, and if they solve that they solve the disdain Hispanics have for the Republican party. Hispanics don't want illegal immigration either – save that you treat the illegals with some dignity. 95% of Hispanics are legal – illegals don't vote. So what is the problem – their haters, with "Papers Please" and other anti-Hispanic laws and harassment actions in many states. We look at the Republican party as this is going on in different states and see the national party leaders say nothing. If they want to fix their so called Hispanic problem, address it as altering your strategy – as you are not fooling us.

    November 11, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Michael

    Rmoney was a mistake.

    November 11, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  12. Chipster

    The Republican Party has become the Party of hatred, fear, prejudice. They oppose constitutional rights for women and gays. They promote the idea that this is a "Christian Nation," ignoring the fact that our founders feared religious opprosion because many of them were victims of it. They made it quite clear that religion was not to be forced by the government on anyone but Republicans are determined to force their religious beliefs on everyone. Nothing made this more clear than the issue of contraception coverage for secular businesses. Houses of Worship are exempt – colleges, bookstores, financial advice services are NOT houses of worship. The very idea that an employer, doctor, pharmacist or any other employer should be able to exclude coverage to employees or students who do not share their religious views is unacceptable. Discrimination is unconstitutional. The employer is not forced to take any medication or treatment they do not want. They can pay a penalty rather than offer health insurance at all. Ironic that we are fighting religious fanatics in the Middle East and cultivating them here!

    November 11, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. CraigRB

    Yes, your candidate made lots of mistakes but the one thing he couldn't change is that he's a major phony. I've never liked that arrogant man. And too bad for the Republicans...I don't feel sorry for them one bit; they bought into the b.s. that Romney spewed and based their decisions on the lies and distortions they heard from Fox, Limbaugh & Rove's heinous ads. Now that the Republicans have been de-b_ _ _ _ d things will start to get done around Washington as Congress will have no choice but to cooperate or the rest of them will be voted out in mid-terms & again in 2016. We will now enter into an age of enlightenment that even the far right & Tea-party nut cases may feel comfortable with.

    November 11, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. cleareye1

    The Republicans may have already burned the bridge to the Hispanic community. They do not have single respected Hispanic beyond Rubio, and he's Cuban, that can make excuses for them.

    November 11, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. Joe Plumber

    My favorite mistake was when Romney appeared on Univision wearing enough make-up to look like an extremely white guy trying, in vain, to look a little Latino. Sad.

    November 11, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Abby

    I'm sorry but putting a few brown faces at the top of the Republican just won't cut it... When their leaders and followers boo a gay solider at a primary and cheering at an uninsured man unable to afford medical care having to die, advocating 'self-deportation', tea party protesters protest with pictures of the president depicted as a monkey, a black women at the Republican convention gets peanuts thrown at her and another man wears a shirt that says 'Let's bring the white back to the White House' at a Romney rally and NO ONE in the audience nor the Presidential candidate challenges them... then lost forever is not just the hispanic vote but also the black vote, I'm sure. I may be a young white girl but I was also offended by those actions and a lot of my white peers were too.

    2016 is just 4 years from now and the average Latino, black and young voter does not have undiagnosed Romnesia. The Republican party can window dress all they want, they will always be remembered for all the above.

    November 11, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. Tyrone, Schenectady Ny

    Just the fact Romney must of had a moderate view, and chewed Gov. Perry out for his moderate stance really shows he is fake.

    November 11, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. Name Chris

    Sadly, the fact that Romney belonged to a white's only golf club (okay, it was his church, but somehow people orgive that) while he was an adult didn't matter.

    November 11, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. RJ

    WOW...THEY STILL DON'T GET IT!! guess you have to a 47er to understand

    November 11, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  20. CBP

    The primary process definitely was horrendous. Those who are Evangelicals and TEA Party members wanted the nominee to think as they do. They do not trust anyone who disagrees with them. Unfortunately, many of us do not share their opinions. We are, however, much more open to different ideas and are not rigid in our thoughts. Mr. Romney decided to move to be in line with the groups and he left more moderate people behind.

    November 11, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. perrochato

    I think Liz above hit most of the major points. I'll just add this for grins – I visited my great grandmother in Mexico at her ranch home a couple of months before the election where she has never watched TV 'cause she does not own one. I took some newscasts I had recorded of Romney on a tablet for her to look at. My great grandmother quickly noticed Romney's short staccato stride (her words: paso corto, nalgas apretadas) when he walked and the way he postured his head, nervous laugh and grin. From those observations she pegged his personality and fiscal manner immediately. It was the first time she had ever seen this man. She yelled in the middle of the video clips, "Es Banquero?", asking if he was a Banker. I replied, Si, mas o menos, Yes, more or less. Not knowing anything about Venture Capitalists or Wall Street that was very close. She described him after seeing the four clips as a liar, penny pinching money hog and totally untrustworthy without ever knowing or understanding a word of English. This was a great first impression just from body language. Maybe I should have showed her clips of Karl (Right on the Marx) Rove.

    November 11, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. wjmccartan

    You know this immigration thing has been mishanded for the last twenty years, and nobody has done aything about it to the point that your now worried about the views of these same illegal immigrants, someone should have grown a set of nuts and done something about it. To all of those who sympathize with this wave of people, do you not understand that the nation you so proudly support has laws already to deal with this yet everyone is afraid of how it will make them look. What a joke. Even if it is a sad one.

    November 11, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. ruthgree

    American voters simply acted like wise small-business owners–they refused to hire someone (Romney) whose prior employer (Massachusetts) and personal reference (the state of Michigan, where he grew up) wouldn't give him a positive reference.

    November 11, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Jpx

    Gutierrez, you are a disgrace to Hispanics. Why would you support a party that hates you?

    November 11, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. LegalizeReason

    Why does the GOP approach the issue of their defeat as if someone is to blame? The reality of the situation is that the American people heard loud and clear what your were peddling and the majority of them rejected it. That means you lost and need to get in line as the royal oppostion and help this country to move forward, not sit in darkened rooms sipping your single malt scotch whining about how you could not hoodwink the public. One constructive thing you could do is to sack and exhile Rove and the weasly guy who runs the GOP National Committee.

    November 11, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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