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. Jerry

    Mitt had the wrong political base to be talking up immigration reform – he had to pacify the hard right to get the nomination and could not get the boat pointed out in the harbor soon enough. Such will be the fate of many national GOP candidates unless they are willing to cut loose the radical right – and plug the whole in the middle caused by wealthy. They gotta cut them loose, too.

    September 28, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Shorty

    Go get another $500 haircut and leave us alone.

    September 28, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. KG

    Remember the speech when Romney was talking to a largely Hispanic crowd on Univision? Romney's "handlers" used dark makeup on his face to make him look more Hispanic. You can google "Romney brown face" and see for yourself. If he paints his skin darker, I don't understand why Hispanic voters wouldn't like that.

    September 28, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. BahoWetpu

    the country probably would've been much better off with Romney as our Head Coach.
    Coach Obama is 'my way or the hi-way' and Team USA has become more divided.

    September 28, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Doug

    Romney did not appeal to the lazy masses.

    September 28, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Gene Hoglan

    Nobody's gonna vote for the guy who looks like their boss.

    September 28, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. jim

    Let's not dwell on the past. He lost. Move on with your lives.

    September 28, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. MiddleAmerica

    Wrong again Mr. Rommey and Blake. Stop listening to the pseudo National Socialist of the Republican party. The same people that I am convinced would support the 1936 version of Hitler. You made the same mistake John McCain made. McCain by running with Sarah. You just did it with Paul Ryan.

    September 28, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    How come all white supremacist groups vote Republican? Are the Knights
    of the Ku Klux Klan and the Tea Party more friends or enemies??

    September 28, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Charles

    No Mit, It was because you are an empty suit. They understand you and that is why they or I did not vote for you.

    September 28, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Realpolitik

    When your party puts ideology over practicality, loss is inevitable. The GOP can claim to be sticking to conservative principles, but the end result of conservative principles is a large number of people left behind, toiling in poverty. What good is providing opportunity, as the Republican Party likes to claim to do, if the majority of people can't take advantage of those opportunities?

    September 28, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Eric

    Deciding to run for president?

    September 28, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Lavon

    So Mitt lost the election because Hispanics were too stupid to understand him? Well........they were smart enough to peg him as an elitist racist so I guess maybe they DID have their thinking caps on afterall.

    September 28, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. bob123666

    his biggest mistake was running. he's the obama of republicans. only thing is, mitts white. and yes the racism is obvious. mitty would have been a rubberstamp for the shmo's in dc. at least obama tries...he fails but he tries. he fails because of crybaby boneher and his lynch mob called the republican held house won't have a black man succeed.

    September 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. RichardSRussell

    Who are you?
    Why should we care?

    September 28, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Cindy

    He is still clueless and out of touch if he thinks this is his strategic error.

    September 28, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. RichardSRussell

    Who are you?

    Do you think anyone cares?

    September 28, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. yeaosays

    Actually his biggest mistake was getting into the race in the first place.

    September 28, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. mark stevens

    My Gawd, How out of touch with reality can you be? Stop these once a month "interviews". You lost because you didn't want to lead america, you lost because you made it perfectly clear that you thought you deserved to be President.

    September 28, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. yeaosays

    Romney tactical mistake was running for office in the first place because of thinking it was for sale.

    September 28, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. widow

    Well you might say that yes.. but you had 93% of the black population that voted vote for Obama... tell me that had nothing to do with race? Clinton did more for the black community in his first term than Obama's entire career and he never got near 80% let alone 93%. This was largely won on race. What idiot would vote for a guy that just wasted 7 trillion and wants the government to control even more of your life? seriously.. the stupidity is overwhelming!!

    September 28, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. DaveOgilvy

    Ha! More like the Hispanic community was offended by his immigration policy. Mitt's largest strategic error of the 2012 Presidential Race was deciding to run.

    September 28, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. AnaHadWolves

    Oh, I dunno, Mitt. I think Latinos understood your "message" quite well: "Get the Hell outta the US and go home."

    September 28, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. 60minuteman

    I'd bet $10 Thousand Dollars, that wasn't his only error of the campaign.....

    September 28, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. woodin59

    After all this time....Romney and the GOP still don't get it. Spewing spin nonsense out to segments of the population isn't going to do anything more for them without substance to back it up. The GOP ideology well is contaminated with "its our way or no way" "we know better" In the internet age, every mis-step, mis-spoke, claims, track record and history can all be fact checked, exposed, challenged within minutes by those who want the truth and real tangible game plans.

    September 28, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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