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. mkuske

    Let's get real. Romney lost because the entrenched Republican establishment was both tone deaf enough and idiotic enough to run "Richie Rich" as a candidate when the rest of he nation was extremely sensitive to and embroiled in a debate about the inequalities of income distribution. Any Bozo with half a brain could have foreseen he would be painted as "out of touch" the second he accepted the nomination. Had they implored Ryan - or anybody with a more humble background - to run and head the ticket, the results would have been much, much different. BTW...the Republican establishment's tone deafness was a large motivator for me shifting to Libertarian.

    September 28, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Bill, NY

    Mitt Romney's Mitt Romney’s largest error from 2012 was entering the race in the first place.

    September 28, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. The Location Station

    Read another way, he's implying that his campaign and the RNC didn't do a sufficiently effective job of deceiving key voters. It's difficult to walk back or clarify the phrase "self-deportation", or explain the glaring lack of an otherwise thoughtful, credible and compassionate immigration policy. If he had such a policy, it should not have been difficult to express it. But he didn't, and couldn't, at least not one that would not in turn alienate the conservative white base. Why is the persistent default position of these people to engage in marketing, spin, half-truths and camouflage? And then, unsuccessful, to blame the failure to connect on a well-intentioned message to a poorly informed audience? A sincere, unadorned, b.s.-free statement of practical policy goals may actually have done more for his candidacy, but he couldn't walk out with a deal because the product simply had no legs. We have to wonder if people like Romney can step far enough away from their own high self-regard to understand why. We must owe them our allegiance and understanding, but they're certain they don't owe us a damn thing more than the privilege of hearing what they have to say, and of voting for them.

    September 28, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Captain BushMaster

    You lost because you made stupid remarks like "I'm a severe conservative". You failed to go after the President in the debates like you did in your Republican Candidate debates . You failed to force the President to explain why four Americans including an Ambassador were killed in Libya. Worst of all you failed to energize conservatives who stay home in droves because you are a milk toast Republican.

    September 28, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Smeagel4T


    September 28, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Natural Mystic

    I am glad to know he is still clueless.

    September 28, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Sheila

    the mitt-witt unfortunately lives near me in the san diego area.. using his wealth for weird stuff... someone asked about him running for mayor ..he declined to answer. So now he will support the Repub candidate here so the status quo of Repub gov't stays intact... i.e. hanging out with the lobbyists and higher up types who want the pig trough to be full for them to feed upon..the GOP needs to be removed.. too far right with Tea Potty's ..

    September 28, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. bclone

    Who is this Mitt Romney?

    September 28, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. jeff

    How would reaching out to Hispanics have helped if your message to them is that they are parasitic "takers" that sponge off your corporate "maker" friends, despite the fact that between subsidies and bailouts your Wall Street buddies have sucked way more money from hard-working Americans than anyone of food stamps.

    September 28, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Pat

    Here is a man who never paid taxes in 10 years running this country and never maning up to proving anybody wrong about it and a man who can well aford to carrying his own weight, having the poor and middle class supporting his way in this country.

    September 28, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Gloria

    Romney is obviously still grieving his loss to Obama. But no matter what he comes up with as to why he lost, to me it is quite simple: He was the wrong candidate. Many, many Republicans knew that, but by the end of the primary debates, he was all they had left. So they rallied around him.

    September 28, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. lean6

    This guy is absolutely clueless. It's not what you did or what you didn't do, Mitt. It's you!! Nobody likes you! It's hard to even put this into out of touch this guy is from the rest of the world. It's like he never was one of us regular people or something. Oh, wait...never mind.

    September 28, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Gilmore

    Mormonism is a cult. Thank goodness a cultist was not elected President. We have enough problems without going totally goofy.

    September 28, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. washingtonlibrary

    I'm supposed to believe the "47%" comment was one of your better moves? You lost because your party is a bunch of wing nuts.

    September 28, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. JF3

    I understood his policies well, and completely disagreed with him. A vote for him would be hipocritical of me, my past, and my roots as well as be a backstab to my friends and family.

    September 28, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Jake Wheeler

    Another sipc lover

    September 28, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Pilgrim1

    Romney's "biggest strategic error" was being Mitt Romney....

    September 28, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. shawn l

    Romney still showing that he lives in a fantasy make-believe land where the biggest mistake he made was "Not going after hispanics enough"

    Yeah, I mean, that whole 47% thing did you no harm at all huh?

    September 28, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |

    Mitt's mistake was trying to placate the Tea Party and be a centrist. Etch-a-Sketch didn't work. In the current political environment, that might be the only way a Republican can run for national office, and that's why all the responsible candidates stayed away, and that's why a Republican can't win a national election.

    September 28, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. JJ

    There are reasons why non-whites don't often vote GOP. Mitt is only one of them....

    September 28, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Becky Lou

    You lost because you were out of touch with the vast majority of Americans. Period. Why haven't you and your wife ridden off on your dressage horse into the sunset yet?

    September 28, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Step 1: Admitting you have a problem.

    Mittens, the problem wasn't HOW you said it; it was WHAT you said.

    Sheesh, give it up!

    September 28, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Mittens problem was voters understood too well EXACTLY what he meant about EVERYTHING. You can wrap it any way you want, it's still a turd.

    September 28, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Life long Republican`

    Mitt lost because he wasn't conservative enough? What the heck are you talking about? I'm 60 years old and have been a Republican all my life and Mitt came across as an extreme right wingnut to me. The problem is there are no TRUE Republican conservatives are labeled RINOS by the crazy loony toons that want to run the party. True conservatives do what's best for all of America and all of it's citizens and don't kowtow to the people who stuff their pockets with the most campaign dollars.

    September 28, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. kevin

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

    No, the problem was that the Hispanic community understood his position and the position of the Republicans very well.

    September 28, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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