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. Bill Davis

    When you get over 50% on Welfare and food stamps the one passing out the checks will always win the vote, and the election.

    Let raise the taxes more on the working jokers and maybe they will just leave the country..

    God Bless

    November 11, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. bawevi

    Ummmm.... WAKE UP Republican "leaders"!!!

    None of us who define ourselves as moderates are EVER going to vote for you again if you remain what you are now... the party of EXTREMISTS...

    From the "Born Agains" to the rich white men and their corporations to the Tea Partiers to other haters, you do not represent US ... who America is today ... you instead represent some very loud and very extreme special interests.

    Change that ... if you believe it is not true, but just a perception, then change the perception... or within 2 election cycles you will be a dead party.

    November 11, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. DENNA

    The Republicans have been running head-long into heck for years. Frankly, I want to thank the Tea Party among others for their service. They, along with the birthers and bigots helped to create the scenario that reelected President Obama to a second term. Thanks again for your insufferale arrogance – the rest of America appreciates it. :0)

    November 11, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Carlo Gutierrez is the republican that outsourced Kellogg Corporation to Mexico when he was their CEO. He and Romney are old outsourcing buddies and are very good at sending American jobs out of the country and putting American workers in the ranks of the unemployed. These are the qualifications that impressed George W. Bush enough to name Gutierrez his Secretary of Commerce.

    November 11, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. 99%

    I have heard a number republicans criticize Romney after his defeat. Although I do not disagree with their criticism, I am wondering, for those who were in position to do so like Mr Gutierrez, why did not they voice this criticism during the campaign?
    As Romney liaison to the Hispanic community, I would assume Mr Gutierrez advice would be listened to if he thinks Romney’s approach was the wrong one.

    November 11, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. smum

    As long as republicans keep listening exclusively to Fox and Limbaugh, they will not even begin to understand what hit them in the face. Talking to each other within their own virtual reality and made-up "facts", will only continue their path to irrelevancy. Go Rush! Go Hannity!

    November 11, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. Keith

    We have listened to Republicans bad mouth immigrants for 16 years now. It wasn't just Romney and with the kind of advise they are getting they will not get Latinos back.

    You can't expect them to vote for you if they are afraid that you are going to deport grandma.

    November 11, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. giggity

    man the GOP is going to extinct like the dinasours

    November 11, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  9. IvotedforObama

    As long as the racist wing of the GOP dominates they will never get minority support.

    November 11, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  10. Norvy

    Then, Mr. Gutierrez, why did you support Romney, when it was clearly obvious how little he cared about Latinos? You must have been sick to your stomach to continue working for his campaign. At what cost, Mr. Gutierrez, to your dignity? Did your political career mean more to you than the prosperity and well-being of your culture?

    November 11, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. Wes Scott

    I prefer to call the GOP what it truly is – Fascist – in the classical definition of the word. They are an elitist, statist, corporate oligarchy that shuns freedom and fairness for the sake of enriching the wealthiest at the expense of everybody else.

    It appears that most Americans are finally figuring out that the GOP does NOT represent the founding principles upon which this nation was formed. Personally, I am not even sure they know what the founding principles are, and if they do know, then they obviously do not care. Instead, they pick a guy who wears magic underwear, says he came from the planet Kolob, believes that all people can become god, thinks that 47% of Americans are lazy and just want a government handout, believes in selling off American companies and sending our jobs to China, and then they try to psychoanalyze why they lost the election.

    As Forest Gump's mother would say, "Stupid is as stupid does."

    November 11, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. The Truth!

    At least it finally comes out that Mitt Romney is entirely willing to change what he believes in order to win an election. What a surprise, never saw that one coming...

    November 11, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. RJW

    If Gary Bauer thinks that the reason Republicans lost was because of abortion, he's right. Look at the Senate races in Indiana and Missouri. Those worked out well, didn't they? When will the nutjobs in the far right of the Republican Party realize that people DON'T CARE about the social issues. Stay out of everybody's lives. Concentrate on the things that matter. If you want to keep pushing things like abortion and being anti-gay, go ahead. But you are going to relegate yourselves to being losers for a long time to come. Face it, your time is up. Social issues are dead. Move on.

    November 11, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  14. tadesse

    I became Democrat because I was so scare of Republicans during primary, al negativity and lies, that tone about inmigrant, specially the answer from candidates and the reaction from the audience about hypotetical question by the moderator Wolfe about someone who got sick but didnt have insuranc.I said to my self who they love when they said I love USA if not the people? the most amaizing thins was there was no one candidate who disagree with those who were saing " let him die"

    November 11, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    The GOP/TP is a party of extremists, too far right for their own good. They said they want religious freedom and small government, then they demand the government push their religious. The want the spanish to died for them in the battlfield but they want them to stay in US.

    Now, the extemists want to double will be interesting for 2014 & 2016.

    November 11, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Brian

    The whole Republican Party has been "far-right" since Nixon. Oh, pardon me.

    November 11, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Any Politician that sound like Pete Wilson, Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio with Extreme right wing agendas on immigration Will never get more than 30% of latino votes!..

    November 11, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. jay

    Family story time: In the 1950's my father traveled to New York. He rode with a black cab driver from the airport. That cabby asked my father how many kids he had, my father answered three. The cabby grinned and said he had ten. He told my father it was a matter of time until his race was in the minority. It took sixty years, but that cabby's prediction is coming true.

    November 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Michael, Chapel Hill

    If Illegal immigration and issues associated with it could bend and election, US citizens should SERIOUSLY THINK ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.

    November 12, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Republicans can fool themselves by saying that Romney lost the election because he made mistakes, but that's not what happened.
    Romney campaigned very well.
    The world is moving ahead, but the Republican Party is choosing to be left by the side of the road for social reasons.

    November 12, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  21. Maria L Washington

    The Republican Party look at people who don't look like them as threat to them. so it's hard for them to connect with new ideals, they want everything to be the way they it or they want except anything different, but I'm here to tell them we are different and we are here to stay. We are not affaird to stand up for what we believe and our value's are great.

    November 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  22. Alfred E. Neuman

    Isn't it great when your advisor's bring you the bad news when it no longer matters. Where were these dullards during the campaign. Even these are the kind of people that Romney would have surrounded himself as president it was good for the country that he lost!

    November 12, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  23. Name

    Mitt Romney never stuck to his ideas and he primarily failed to attain an adequate amount of votes from the Hispanic community. Let this be a lesson learned for the next president republican candidate in 2016, to win an election you need the Hispanic vote.

    November 12, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  24. Fladabosco

    I have to wonder how well a truly reasonable candidate would ever fare in the GOP. Would they be listened to at all? I don't mean someone who agrees with what I think, but someone who actually delivers thoughtful answers to complicated questions instead of just slogans or slamming someone else.

    I don't suppose this is limited to the GOP. In the late 1970's I got locked in a room with my 4 band mates, George McGovern and his wife for an hour while they did the security sweep. He was very nice to us and he thought about every question we asked and he actually presented both sides of each issue. I remember thinking 'this man is thoughtful. He can never be president."

    November 12, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  25. ModerateTheGOP

    Well, some of the mistakes weren't Romney's. It didn't help his campaign that his party can't detach itself from those who seem to be only a half a step away from declaring that a woman who is raped must be stoned to death because God wouldn't have allowed such a thing to happen unless she was impure.

    November 12, 2012 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
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