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. Name. dr. kline

    PLEASE move on.. already. . I now the nation has.

    September 28, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. America1st

    Wow, still living in a different reality than the rest of us. Your biggest error was not running for President of the Cayman Islands.

    September 28, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Puranappu

    ROmney's biggest error was his " teflon face and plastic smile".

    The moment I saw him I knew he was fake.

    I am a Canadian.

    September 28, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Louis

    'Mittens' lost for a lot of reasons: 1. He decided to run, 2. He chose Paul Ryan as a running mate, 3. He doesn't understand or care about anyone who is not wealthy and a white male, 4. He thought that the only people who voted for Obama were lazy, unemployed, and living off the government., and 5. Many years ago he thought there was nothing wrong with transporting his Irish Setter in a carrier on the roof of a car long distance--evidence that he has no common sense and can't admit when he's made an error in judgment, I am a white female who understood his positions on many things and could never have voted for him even though I'm an Independent.

    September 28, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. steve

    So is this a flip or a flop? Seriously Mitt is not a bad guy and was a decent Governor, he is not the right guy at this time.

    September 28, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. CoryT

    Wow. Color me surprised...not. The GOP party seems to have the ability to point fingers everywhere but at itself. Good simple logic would reason that you lost because you were the worst candidate, Mitt.

    September 28, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    i love it how you bash romney that he was the worse canidate, because obama is just such much better let me tell ya....i mean obama is just doing wonders for this country eh? You guys are so blind no wonder are country is the way it is and other country's are laughing at us...

    September 28, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. mfstout

    THIS is why he lost. He is lost. Hispanics were never going to support him in large numbers. The fact that he's even thinking about this, not to mention throwing out ridiculous theories, makes it abundantly clear that Mitt was clueless then and remains clueless now. He was never going to be President. He is never going to be President. Get over it. Stop it. Stop it!

    September 28, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |

    so much better* obama is a wuss he might as well have his ego centric , im ashamed to be an american saying wife be the president i mean she does wear the pants right..ok now you guys can defend the worst president after i post this .. 3 -2 -1 go ignorant people i command you to.

    September 28, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Tony Torres

    The man is delusional, he imagines things would have gone differently if he did or do that but no matter what his core beliefs are and that most of Americans (except the die-hard, nutty branch of the GOP) could see right thru him. Romney is lying to him self and us when he claims he could have won, if he did this different or this other thing different but their was no way he was going to win (or anyone else) with the mentally the GOP in general spews.

    September 28, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. a_writer

    Even now, Mr.Romney absolutely refuses to come to terms with the obvious reason for his loss. His paroxysms and convulsions every couple of months, post defeat, is just a feeble attempt and insecurity to face the obvious. Let's try one more time – "Mr.Romney, majority of the Americans felt that you are not as qualified as Mr.Obama, to be the President – just as simple as that".

    September 28, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. judewalker0220

    We sure would not be in this mess if Mitt had won. I would bet big time on that.

    September 28, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. sally

    What Romney doesn't understand is that he has some real drawbacks as a candidate. He is tone deaf, makes many political blunders, and is cold.

    September 28, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Jonathan Brister

    I agree... We as conservatives need to focus on the Hispanic vote. Most Hispanics I've met are already hard working conservatives ...

    September 28, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Maia6@mojo

    Mitt is in denial. He didn't get it then, and he doesn't get it now, which is why he never will or should be president of all of the people. You can't continually change positions and then blame the voters for misunderstanding your positions. You can't insult the half of the country who supported your opponent by insisting they all depend on the government and are victims. I'm a hard- working female who makes six figures and happens to be black. Why Mitt felt the need to insult any voter is beyond me. I didn't vote for Obama because he's black or because he's a democrat. Frankly, I can't stand either party right now. Although I think Obama overanalyzes some issues before making a decision, I'd rather have someone in office who
    thinks before acting. The man is far from perfect, but he has helped get us through an economic meltdown,
    various natural and domestic tragedies, made the decision to get OBL, and has tried to help others with
    Obamacare. I can't think of any decision Obama's made that has intentionally harmed anyone. Mitt ran
    because as his wife said, they thought it was "their turn". Sorry, but occupying the Oval Office is not a right
    based on your financial success. It is a privilege, and I think Obama understands this.

    September 28, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Mitt Romney

    Of all my many many mistakes and strategic errors, I am going to blame the Hispanics.

    It makes sense to me. Better than taking responsibility and accepting that I blew it.

    September 28, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Name

    "Hispanic" mestizos don't want opportunity, they want freebie handouts to help facilitate their invasion and takeover of this Nation, and the democratic partyiis dumb enough to hand it all over to them on a silver platter.

    September 28, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. dufus

    What? I thought his biggest strategic error was running in the first place! haha

    September 28, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. The Valeyard

    Typical Republican mentality. 'The problem isn't our policy, it's these people's misunderstanding of our policy. We don't need to change anything about ourselves, the voters just need to change their minds and vote for us.'

    The GOP is trapped in the past and stubbornly refusing to evolve with the rest of the country, anchored by a core voting bloc of evangelical conservatives that will not accept anything resembling adaptation with the times from their party. Clear-headed Republican politicians who could potentially bridge the divide between their party and the rest of the U.S. population run the risk of being booted out in election primaries by fellow Republican politicians who are only too eager to cater to this regressive voting bloc in order to attain office. Only in the GOP does the term "moderate" carry a pejorative connotation.

    The Republican Party has pigeonholed itself and they know it. It wasn't a problem for them when the majority of the American voting population was white, Christian, and socially conservative but those days are fading further and further in the rear-view mirror with each passing year. Think about this: Mitt Romney won the majority of white votes in the 2012 election by a whopping 20 percent margin, and President Obama STILL got more total votes overall. Not only that, but he's the first U.S. president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a plurality (51 percent or greater) of the popular vote in two consecutive elections. Even recent two-termers George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan didn't muster that level of consistent majority support from voters. The core voter demographics to which the GOP panders are no longer a large enough portion of the U.S. population for them to secure elections. Couple that with their party's built-in aversion to change and you have a recipe for a political party that will only grow more marginalized with time.

    September 28, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. HJC

    Mitt: The choices last November were: Obama or Obama-lite

    September 28, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. This girl has serious issues

    Yep, another narcissistic politician.

    September 28, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Oops

    No Matt, your biggest mistake is being a White American instead of being a White Mexican American....I could be mistaken but your grandfather did bring your father who was born a Mexican to the United States as a child, but because of your white skin and money you disowned your roots in favor of money and power. Therefore your roots refused to provide you with water. Just ask any ethic group would they vote for one of their own if that person first did not acknowledge they are one of them and worked against them. Black Americans have a word for it and it is Tom. Our current half white Irish President (a true Black Irish) addressed this problem by writing a book to show that he was black enough even thou the closest he came to a Black Community was when he went to NYC as an adult.

    September 28, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. sgreco

    Good to see he is still as dense as a plank.

    September 28, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. wholelotanothin

    Will the real Mitt Romney please, please, please present himself? Not one single person really knows you, knows what you stand for and what it is that motivates you other than the millions and I mean mega millions you have in the bank. We the people were turned off by you.....after all how can you relate to the vast majority of American's when sir you have more money than All the Bushes, Clintons and Obama's combined?

    September 28, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. KR

    Here's a clue: How did you get the nickname 'etch-a-sketch', Mitt?

    September 28, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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