September 27th, 2013
06:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Hispanic outreach: Mitt Romney’s largest error from 2012

(CNN) – Mitt Romney has had some time to reflect on what went wrong last November. His main conclusion: the Hispanic community didn’t understand his immigration stance well enough.

"The largest strategic error was not investing sufficiently, particularly in Hispanic TV and Hispanic outreach to help Hispanic voters understand that ours is the party of opportunity," Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the lesson to be learned for GOP presidential campaigns of the future.

Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 40%, a loss seen to be in large part spurred by the perception of the Republican Party as antithetical to immigration reform.

"I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community," said Romney. "I want to see immigration reform. I said that during the campaign. I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country. I'd like to do that."

Exclusive: Romney disagrees with House GOP ‘tactics’ on Obamacare

Romney’s comments offer some of the most revealing insight into his thoughts on immigration and its role in his 2012 defeat to President Barack Obama.

Debates on how the GOP should adapt itself in the years to come have found a split between elements who think Republicans need to reach out better to Hispanic voters and those who view any immigration reform or pathway to citizenship as amnesty for lawbreakers.

The GOP has a long way to go if it wants to attract Hispanic voters, according to a new poll released Friday.

Half of Hispanics identify with the Democratic Party, according to the Public Religion Research Institute poll, compared to the 15% who identify with the GOP.

But the problem is more than just party identification, says the survey. Forty-three percent of Hispanics identified that the phrase "cares about people like you" more appropriately describes the Democratic Party, while 12% say the same for the GOP.

–CNN’s Dan Merica, Sherisse Pham and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (948 Responses)
  1. Kareen

    His party is the party of Opportunity?
    OMG Romney, you will never learn.

    September 29, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. FG

    Mitt who cares, just go away!

    September 29, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. LCSWquilter

    He is so sadly mistaken to say the hispanic population didn't understand his position on immigration. The problem was that they did understand it and rejected it. Romney has not learned his lesson that De Nile is not just a river in Egypt.

    September 29, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    He wishes that was his only strategic mistake.

    September 29, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. greg

    I believe that his position excluded working class Americans of all backgrounds.

    September 29, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. fmjk

    Mitt - it's been a year. It's not about you. No one is even wondering what you think.

    September 29, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. notogop

    He should go enjoy his wealth and only share his opinions with people who agree with him. BTW, that would be the minority of the US population. Appears he hasn't figured that out yet.

    September 29, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Dave Harris

    Romney won the Republican primary precisely because he refused to show any compassion for Hispanic immigrants, promising to make them all "self-deport". This pleased the xenophobic Republican base and was how he defeated Rick Perry, who as governor of a nearly half-Hispanic state could not for political reasons be such a jerk. If he had tried to flip-flop before the general election, the morons in his own party would have abandoned him. He lost because he's a Republican, and their lies, irrational hatreds, and general craziness make them unelectable.

    September 29, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Dana

    No Mittens, your largest strategic error was being an out-of-touch elitist. You went on record disparaging half the populace, while refusing to disclose your tax records, from which we could only assume you want to keep it secret that you haven't paid your share.

    September 29, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Ellen

    I still say it was the "mom jeans".

    September 29, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Butch

    Romney lost because he is an out of touch elitist, a snob, and he refused to be consistent on core issues. Also, the fact that he was a member of the republican party during a time of tremendous inner party conflict did not help his cause as well.

    September 29, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. William

    BS, it was because he came on like a hard-charging neocon in the waning days of his campaign, nearly promising to attack Iran outright etc. Nobody wanted for America to enlarge it's international theater then, that's what really happened.

    September 29, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. Tilda

    Why are you guys even interviewing him still? It's been a year since he lost, for god's sake

    September 29, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Name Darrell

    As with many in the GOP, they are led by GOD and are never wrong even when others can see the error in their ways.

    September 29, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. mike honcho

    Being a republican was the largest error. GOP is done.

    September 29, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. tomj

    Another very major mistake that Romney made was getting in bed with John McCain and McCain's warmongering! The country had already soundly and overwhelmingly reject John McCain's narrow mine and warmongering in 2008. What did Romney do, he invited McCain to campaign for him and GOP senatorial candidates with his war views. Needless to say Romney lost as did the senatorial candidates that McCain campaigned for. Just with Rooney's association with McCain cost Romney millions of votes. People were concerned if Romney had won he'd appoint John McCain Sec of Defense or State. In either office McCain wasn't qualified for and with McCain you'd get WAR.

    September 29, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. Chuck

    I am a Democrat, but I believe in a strong two party system. I like choices, and I like discussion of the issues. A two party system promotes discussion. However, the Republicans are really moving toward becoming a one issue third party. That is unfortunate. I have split my ticket many times. When I lived in Indiana I voted for Mitch Daniels for governor, and Daniels ended up being a really good governor. I never regretted my vote. Whatever happened to the Everett Dirksens and other moderates of the party that fought for what they believed, but compromised when they needed to?

    September 29, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. belinda

    They continue to make the same mistakes. Immigration reform, is the last thought on their minds. We are outraged and more determined than ever, to make sure that the GOP circus, no longer has the political power, to intimidate working American families, all over this country.

    September 29, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. albert J. Wilson

    Mr. Romney didn't geit it . neither does the Republican conservative rank. Hilary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. in 2016. There isn't a Republican to equal her. The Hispanic vote and women on both sides will determine the election.

    September 29, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. James

    Mitt who?

    September 30, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  21. Joe Murphy

    Why would you reach out to a largely illegitimate underclass?

    September 30, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  22. Butch McSnutch

    If we are all created equal why does he need out to special interests, many of whom aren't even legal?

    September 30, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  23. JSOTS

    Dave Harris -

    Your name should be RAVE Harris. Loved your post. Republicans will lose elections as long has they continue their focus-less view of human nature and needs for some kind of government. Small g, than you, to "huh, what's?" like Gov. Perry who seems to have been looking at hoisting the business end of his petard instead of looking out for anyone not white in this State. I'm white, I live here, and I see what's going on, and I have a great idea.

    PUT ALL WOMEN IN GOV'T POSITIONS IN TEXAS. Get rid of the guys. Durn near all men - dare I say the rest of the Republican "huh, what's?" in Government, as the holders of the reins - have failed the children, families, women, Veterans, those of Faith(s) let's give WOMEN the opportunity to end the reign of the Wild West Cowboys. They have augered in this State's standards of education, health care, security, personal freedoms of thought, etc... but what can you expect? Women understand politics; it IS 2013, right? So let them have a try. Leave as many MEN elected into public office as there now are WOMEN, and offer these patriotic Women four years to see what they can do, and how much the electorate approves or not.

    September 30, 2013 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
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