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. VEW2012

    No Mitt, your biggest mistakes were being bought by, and pandering to the 1% who bought you. Add to that flip-flopping on your Massachusetts healthcare plan and not understanding healthcare is a right not a privilege reserved for only those who can afford it. Plus, not understanding you cannot undo your lifetime of privilege which leaves you with no true understanding of the lives of the other 99%. You opened your mouth an proved time and time again you had no clue about the lives of people who did not inherit wealth that placed them several rungs up on the ladder to success. The GOP is bunch of old very rich white guys who are out of touch with mainstream America.

    September 28, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Lee Sterne

    How true: what greater opportunity could one have than the opportunity to "self deport"?

    September 28, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Kelcy

    After taking time to ponder he is still in la la land if the things that trying to PR hispanics that the GOP is the land of opportunity for them. His problem is he still thinks that ALL people are stupid just because the far, far right tea party base is.

    September 28, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Scott

    "I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community," said Romney.

    You said that you supported self-deportation. Nothing hard to understand about that.

    September 28, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. boshmo

    Oh I think that Hispanics understand the GOP position rather well, but if Mr. Romney wants to pretend that Republicans haven't spent the better part of the last decade demonizing immigrants then have at it.

    September 28, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Mike

    No Willard, your greatest strategic error is being a twit.
    If you believe in America so much, why do you keep your money in the Cayman Islands?

    September 28, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. charlie

    I did not vote for Romney and i know a bunch of registered Republicans who did not vote for him. They did not trust him to run the country

    September 28, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. RCM

    The House run by the Republican party has shown that the Republican party is against any change to immigration reform.

    September 28, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Jean Fetting

    He's totally delusional. He (and so many other 1%ers) needs to broaden his horizons to include some "commoners."

    September 28, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Mymy

    The Hispanics understood his immigration plan better than he did... well depending on who he was talking to, and what day it was, and how much money was being given at the event. The only thing advertising on the Spanish speaking channels would have done is to further infuriate the Hispanic population for HIS lack of understanding and lack of a backbone. Believe me, the debates were translated, and the issues were talked about in the republican primaries, they saw how far right he went in an attempt to appease the tea party.

    September 28, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. s

    he lost nearly a year ago and he's still trying to figure out why. there are so many reasons . . .

    September 28, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Michael Jaroff

    Romney's so called position on immigration reform and that of his party was understood perfectly by Hispanic voters. He was trying to get away with talking out of both sides of his mouth and they nailed him for it.

    September 28, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. tara

    Every time republicans talk about what went wrong in the last election, they blame the communication of their message and refuse to acknowledge that the message itself was vile.

    September 28, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Stephanie in Toronto

    Romney still doesn't get it. The Hispanic community didn't understand. They understood. Romney is the one who didn't understand and the cycle continues. The very phrase blames someone else AGAIN. Romney will never accept responsibility unless something goes well. Then he basks in the sunlight. Otherwise, others are always to blame. Stay out of the lights, Romney, you don't belong there.

    September 28, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Andrew Jackson

    Why is this even being printed for discussion? Didn't Mitt Romney's son and later another report reveal that he didn't want to run for President – that at a vote of the inner circle 10 of 12 wanted him to run and he was one of the two that didn't. He never wanted the job – this is by far the most remarkable fact that has never received enough play. This could further give weight to those that say he was bought – controlled and manipulated by "other power brokers" If this is the case – why doesn't the media look into these factors on a more regular basis. Again – the guy didn't want to be our President. Regardless of party, philosophy or passion for your candidate – if he or she doesn't want to be there I certainly don't want them to be there.

    September 28, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. T in Dallas

    Poor Mitt. He still does not get it. You can't PR your way into the Hispanic community after launching hateful attacks for decades.

    September 28, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. jill

    What an embarrassment he is to the melting pot that is the USA. He is a true elitist, and it showed. Dismissing half of the voters hurt him badly. And for that I am grateful. We would not only be handing over our country to the highest bidder, we would most surely be in another senseless war.

    September 28, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. wonderabout

    Oh Mittens! They got you just fine – they also get the "party line" too – All one has to do is listen to Ann Coulter's rants about how immigration reform will be the downfall of the party.... Let's just say that most people "get you" and we don't want you or your party's lies that are smokescreens meant to mislead and make the majority of citizens slaves to your elitist 1%

    September 28, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. The Other Bob

    His largest error was having utter contempt for large segments of the population. Promulgating absolutely no workable solutions to the nation's problems didn't exactly help, either.

    September 28, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Stobal

    Can this guy or his wife ever make a statement about Hispanics without insulting them? He obviously thinks that Hispanics do not have the intellectual capacity to understand his party's position on immigration. I think they understand the GOP's position better than he does, and the main reason he lost is because of his utter disrespect for the Hispanic community.

    September 28, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. William yates

    Give it a rest. No one wants or needs to hear about how to lose an election, or how to pander America for pity.
    You seem to have such a high opinion of yourself to the point where you insist on keeping yourself in the mix
    while deep down you realize your failures define who you are. In other words, you're only as relevant as
    your last gig... loser. In becoming a loser, you taught America how to blatantly lie whenever it suited you or
    in order to sway public opinion to gain an edge in an election outcome that had already been decided before you
    stepped on the bus. You ran knowing full well you were going to lose. Even your loser speech on election night
    showed how shallow and pretentious you are, the gold standard of the fake, plastic corporate persona who only cares
    about profit despite the costs. America is better off watching you disappear into the sunset of your failure.

    September 28, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. w

    "I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community," said Romney. "

    Oh your position and the position of your party is VERY well understood by the Hispanic community Mr. Romney... and THAT is why you lost the Hispanic vote by "40%"! The "not well understood" part is you and your party's problem!

    September 28, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Alex

    As a Latina who votes, I truly understand the position of the Republicans regarding Latinos, women's issues, affordable care act, economic development and many other issues. We are not just a one issue voting group and we do know the negative, hostile tone against Latinos that the Republican party has taken over the many years. Not hard to understand why we don't vote for Republicans.

    September 28, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. BR

    No Mitt! What you offered was a chance to earn a living, the majority does not want to earn a living. They want it handed to them.

    September 28, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. yogi

    He still doesn't get and neither do Republicans, they keep thinking that it is how they communicate their message. Well, the majority doesn't buy their ideology no matter how you spin it. The Republican mantra NO has been heard loud and clear over the years, and now it will be our turn the favor and vote them all out in 2014 and beyond, so we can finally get some work done again, and not just for the 1%.

    September 28, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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