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. ChekovMerlin

    Latino population understood you very well. 1) It was apparent that you cast them as part of the 47%. 2) "Self-deportation" was self explanatory and you emphasized that. They understood. It was you who didn't and still don't understand most Americans.

    September 28, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. sparky

    LoL! His error was he didn't make promises to the Mexicans he didn't intend to keep!

    September 28, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Jennifer NY

    You lost because a) Americans are terrified of a Mormon president, and b) PR deficit...people believed the lies of Steve Axelrod and Joe Biden.

    September 28, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. BDC

    Gotta love politicians. They never admit they're wrong, they' just criticize the people who voted against them for 'not understanding' their position.

    September 28, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. thedude

    Haha he still doesn't get it.........

    September 28, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. Becky White

    Everyone understood you just fine. The problem is that people don't like to vote for someone who doesn't like them (47% of the country that is).

    September 28, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Shining

    The guy still doesn't get it. He lost because the republicans didn't come out and vote for him, not because of hispanics. He still looks at people and only see colors but not issues. That is why he lost.

    September 28, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. ohsnap

    I voted for the first time last election because of Mitt Romney. The possibiity of him or anyone like him becoming the President shook me out of complacency. The fact that a year later he STILL cannot be a gracious loser and accept the fact that he ran a bad campaign and is simply not the people's choice shows me I made the correct choice. He is one sad and dangerous individual.

    September 28, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Bobby

    This reminds me of an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Barney Fife, who can't carry a tune in a bucket, goes to this singing audition and of course doesn't get the part. He comes back and tells Andy, and his explanation is that the number he selected was just over their heads. They didn't get it, he explained.

    September 28, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. smako

    Mitts biggest problem was that he gave a sermon while 'Bama was giving a Punch and Judy Show. He played it clean and I knew long before election day that the pubbies were doomed. Still a great side story was the CEO that had to lay people off because of the cost of 'Bamacare, and laid off people with Obama stickers on their cars.

    September 28, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. samuel

    He lost because he is a liar, who does give a sh ** about anyone but money. He failed to pay his share of taxes. He cold hardly deeply has hatred for all non whites

    September 28, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. oldbones24

    Mitt honey, you love money too much. Money is more important to you than people or ethics. You sold out American workers to make a buck.

    September 28, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Hugh_Mann

    ...other than the fact that he came off as a complete Bozo and an etch-a-sketch two-faced liar. What is most telling is that he talks like he actually believes the stuff that he said....Embarrassing, to say the least.

    September 28, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. EdL

    No mistakes caused him to lose the election. He lost because he is not convey himself as being a good politician. Obama is a polished politician.

    September 28, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. J R Brown

    He lost because he didn't offer things like amnesty, in-state tuition and 30 million dollars in college grants in California to illegal immigrants....and Democrats did.

    September 28, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. BD70

    5No lost because of who you are and the words that came out of your mouth. 47%?

    September 28, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Ken

    Obama beat Romney for many reasons, but the key issue is that Romney was, and probably continues to be, a tax cheat.

    September 28, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. John Rgood

    Democrats lie, Republicans lie. It just so happens at this time we Hispanics have chosen to be lied to the most by Democrats. Worry not, others will get their turns.

    September 28, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Frank Lopez

    What to understand? You hate us. Period. Why is that so difficult for you republicans to admit? Say it.

    September 28, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. victor yao

    Come on Romney, you don't care about the hispanics.

    September 28, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. John

    We don't need more people in our country legal or not.

    September 28, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Get Educated

    For everyone's information who refer to Hispanics/Latinos as brown, we've got news for you! Hispanics/Latinos are members of the White race, fyi. There is no such thing as a Hispanic or a Latino race. It is an Ethnicity. So stop being ignorant already or go ask any County Clerk or the State that has birth certificates and they will tell you that Hispanics/Latinos are white. Therefore, also please cease using slurs like colored. They are not colored. Have you seen true Hispanics/Latinos without the tanned American Indian influence, many of whom are white-skinned, blond hair, blue eyes. Go to Mexico City and many other places and you'll see! So, please stop the ignorance already as you know who you are who use these terms.

    September 28, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. RoseMarie

    So now he is saying Hispanics did not understand him. As if Hispanics were idiots. This is precisely why they did not vote for him: He is unable to recognize his mistakes. "Self-deportation" is not difficult to understand. I think it was very clear for everyone. Hispanics can't be fooled, Mitt.

    September 28, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. RMC

    How stupid do you think Latinos are? We understood you completely and that is why we didn't vote for you. Your party is not one of inclusion. It's a party of exclusion Señor ... only WASP need to apply to the Republican Party.

    September 28, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Glenn Doty

    Um... No.

    Obama won by a full 4% of the U.S. popular vote. 10% of the U.S. vote was Hispanic. Had Romney pandered to them, and spent enough money to make them somehow forget the the republican party has been waging a racist campaign against Hispanics for decades, and managed to make the vote spread for Hispanics balance at 50/50... That would have tied the nationwide vote.

    However, the nationwide vote doesn't mean anything. Obama won in Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Had Mitt managed to dupe 20% more of the HIspanic voters to support him, he might have won Colorado, Nevada, and Florida... and he still would have lost the electoral college resoundingly.

    Of course, spending that much money trying to dupe Hispanic voters would have cost him support with other voters, so it might have served to flip NC, MO, and IN for Obama... but that is all unknowable. The short version: Romney could not possibly have won under any conceivable campaign strategy.

    September 28, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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