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. mitchaurora

    probably the biggest mistake was being Mitt Romney.

    September 27, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. beavus

    Mitt – you obviously have too much time on your hands! Get a life and forget about it

    September 27, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    His biggest mistake was to be born and raise a Mormon and still believe that the so called prophet of that cult as a direct line to God ....The Mormons are a scary cult with scary history that where as racist as they come and only allowed blacks folks to be in their so called priesthood in 1978 ...Black people would not have voted for him .....and latinos where the next in line when it come to racial descrimination

    September 27, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  4. Obe

    Please go away.

    September 27, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Lester

    How condescending. The Latino community understands his position on immigration perfectly well. That is why we told him ADIOS, our casa is NOT you casa.

    September 27, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. Marko Polo


    Blame it on the Hispanic vote? No, you were simply an unpalatable jerk. Not much else to say. Your best bet with the American people is to exercise silence.

    September 27, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. orionsaint

    So it wasn't that he seemed like a time travel from 1985?

    September 27, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. GeneK

    Romney's largest tactical error in 2012 was talking. Once people heard him say what he really thought, he was finished.

    September 27, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  9. Mike Gentile

    Had very little to do with the loss.
    Allot of his own base did not come out and he lost the women vote 2 to 1.

    September 27, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. TM

    Willard, your first, and most lasting, comment on immigration was about "self-deportation" combined with a self-serving story about how YOU would be harmed politically by the immigration status of landscaping employees. You saw NOTHING in the issue beyond how it MIGHT affect your personal political ambitions. Whenever you spoke about the hispanic community, did you ever once cast them as something other than providers of menial day labor? Why would hispanic voters support you when you speak of them not as fellow citizens, but only as people fit to tend your lawn, or clean your bathroom? Hispanic voters had no problem hearing the message you sent.

    September 27, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. Steve Fielder

    Sorry, Mr. Romney, but your "outreach" to Hispanic voters fell flat because those same voters saw you embrace the most radical, anti-immigrant factions of the GOP in order to secure their votes. You tried to have it both ways, and ended up being seen as a cynical opportunist.

    September 27, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. Matt

    Why is Romney still being reported on? He is last year's news. Something is fishy.

    September 27, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. KC Yankee

    They understood his stance just fine. That's why they voted in droves for Obama.

    September 27, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. todd

    Romney reflects on 2012 campaign: "I didn't spend enough money on Spanish ads."

    I don't think that's what went wrong Mitt ol' buddy.

    September 27, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. fasfaf

    Like sucking their buts would have won you Cal....

    September 27, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Jez

    Please Romney – go away and stay away.

    September 27, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. calvin

    Wonder if he still has his binders full of women ?

    September 27, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. Mitt Romney's Dog

    Oh Mittens, America just didn't like you. Just go away.

    September 27, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. See Novak

    Never had a chance. When Harry Reid accuses him of not paying taxes for 10 years, and the Media expects Romney to explain himself rather than Reid citing his sources; well, that says it all....never had a chance.

    September 27, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. Jon

    And this is "news" worthy of covering because....?

    September 27, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    He lost because he's a republican that nobody wants

    September 27, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  22. Matthew Charron

    Mitt Romney's biggest mistake is that he ultimately fell into the category of a typical politician. His mouth said things before his brain could stop it from coming out. He lost by over 3 million overall votes... To a non-business man.

    September 27, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. Larry

    He still doesn't get it – the secret is out on republicans. The party of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich is completely consumed with greed. May they all go to hell – don't pass go on the way.

    September 27, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. Majorbatguano

    Sorry Mitt Romney ... but your biggest strategic error is being Mitt Romney

    September 27, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  25. JJ

    No. Your largest strategic error was opening your mouth.

    September 27, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
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