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. ThinkAgain

    @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."

    And the 47% of Americans are moochers confession had nothing to do with it? Ditto for, if you need money to start a business, just ask your dad for it? How about writing off $52K as a "business expense" for your wife's therapy horse? Speaking of her, the $900 tee-shirt and statement that it was "their turn" to be president didn't seem off-putting to you?
    And who can forget the advice to let the American auto industry go bankrupt, to heck with the million + jobs it would have taken with it? Then there's the idea of doing nothing while millions of Americans lose their homes, so "investors" can buy them up.

    Mittens lost because of who he is, what he's done and what he stands for. Thankfully, enough Americans had the sense to re-elect the man who's been leading our economy on the road to recovery, in spite of all the opposition from the likes of you and Mittens who seem determined to take our country down the tubes.

    September 28, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. Gavin

    Why did Romney lose? Lets see... He scared the CRAP out of the educated by declaring that he didn't believe in evolution and prefered the talking snake, the magic underwear, and a universe that is expained in one sentence... "god did it." He scared just less than half, around say 47%, by declaring people on SS and former vetrans who are a LARGE part of that group, as lazy people looking for a handout. He made immigrants feel unwelcome, minorities feel like mouchers, and atheists along with educated people feel unwanted.

    So who was left? The rich and the religious. Every year that goes by their numbers decrease. The rich get richer but there are LESS of them. The ONLY group getting more populous each year is atheists. A group Mr Romney doesn't like much. The Republicans need to get out of the business of turning America into a theocracy. Pandering to an uneducated religious base is NOT the path to the White House!

    September 28, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. Roy meddock

    Romney you came across as insensitive and out of touch with the challenges that most Americans face. That's why you lost. Plus people could see through your very thin veneer.

    September 28, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Christie

    Too little and way to late. Empty words are transparent.

    September 28, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. elaine viel

    Go away and please take your TeaPublican KOCHbot party with you

    September 28, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. dou44

    This guy is a 1/4 billionaire who lives in a bubble elitism as those in Hollywood do. Totally disconnected from 98% of the population, but anyone who serves in DC is a real sociopath anyway- GOP or DEM.

    September 28, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  7. Cecil

    Romney's biggest strategic error was he was out of touch of the reality of the middle class. He didn't have a clue. His 47 percent comment made that crystal clear and hit it out of the park for the democrats.

    September 29, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  8. Andrew

    Didn't lie as well as the other guy.

    September 29, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. Sophie Meyer

    Really? Self-deportation was unclear to them? Seriously?

    September 29, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  10. Carlos M

    Mr. Romney, believe me, we understood you very well. We also understand the republican party very well. Your party is alienating Hispanics so much that you won't recover in decades.

    September 29, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. Whatever

    Mitt Romney is so so out of touch with the average American. This is why he wasn't elected. Americans are sick and tired of the shell game politicians play on voters. His 47% remark was the nail in his coffin. He's totally out of touch.

    September 29, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  12. Pete

    Think again, Romney. The major point that blew it for you was your 46 percent of the voters gaffe; it took you to your knees. How dumb could you be saying that in public? Think it if you want to but you couldn't keep your mouth shut about it. That's what you did and it smacked you back in your face.

    September 29, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  13. Jason Glugla

    His greatest failure was in allowing the truth of who and what he is to be revealed.

    September 29, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  14. Whatever

    Mitt Romney is so so out of touch with the average American. This is why he wasn't elected. Americans are sick and tired of the shell game politicians play on voters. His 47% remark was downfall and eventual demise. Futhermore he revealed what he and people like him feel about 47% of the population. We're the expendable ones.

    September 29, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. Jae

    "I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood [by] the Hispanic community." (?) Oh, give it a rest, will you? Your party made its position VERY clear. And, you had FIVE years of campaigning to make your position known and you still ending up talking about self-deportation. So, either you're calling the Hispanic community stupid or yourself. My finger is pointing at you.

    September 29, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. Marc Nasdor

    Yes, try using the word Latino, Señor R'money. "Hispanic" is so 1492.

    September 29, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  17. Anonymous

    i think your biggest mistake was opening your mouth on the first day, and every day until the end of the last day, of your campaign. but, i am so very, very glad that you did.

    September 29, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  18. robert

    Its not that Hispanics didn't understand Romeny- it is that Romeny failed to understand Hispanics. Why is it that Republicans blame Hispanics or the american people for the misunderstanding? We didnt like what they were selling and they lost the most vital election because of it. In the end any good leader in a democracy tries to understand the people they seek to lead- not assume they will understand them instead. Monarchs and Dictatorships do that and there is a very good reason why none of them exist here.

    September 29, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. Kate

    Never ceased to be amazed why he didn't speak more about his Mexican heritage- his father was a Mexican citizen, born and raised as a child there- and Mitt spend a good stretch of his childhood in Mexico seemed to make no sense that he was not more transparent about his heritage and his roots especially wanting the Hispanic vote-

    September 29, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  20. jfc1

    People act like there was some kind of sophisticated, or even simple, sociopolitical reason that Romney lost. The reason he lost was extremely simple, entirely political and part of the fundamental nature of the United States of America in this day and age. His party split the nation along party lines and demanded complete obedience of their own members. This split extended to the states themselves and arguably the Republicans had an advantage there due to extreme gerrymandering. Unfortunately for them, despite years and years of gerrymandering, there still weren't enough Republican states to elect the Republican candidate to President. The Republicans will never win the White House back until they win 270 electoral votes. It's really that simple. They can do anything and everything they want to do and still win as long as they get those votes.

    September 29, 2013 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  21. Sam news for you....your biggest error was ever thinking you had a snowball's chance.

    September 29, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  22. Scott

    Everyone remembers his main attack against Rick Perry was that Perry was in favor of immigration reform and that Romney would not allow for any sort of amnesty. Treating every Mexican like trash did not win Mitt Romney any favors. Then Rick Perry imploded in a way that made even Dan Quayle look smart. Romney lost because he made his 47% comments that were offensive and because he had no reasonable ideas.

    September 29, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  23. Joe Plumber

    This guy is still flip-flopping because his lips are moving.

    September 29, 2013 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. Eric

    His largest strategic error was believing campaign commercials would be enough to mask a sub-par candidate.

    September 29, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  25. Kate

    You lost because you are just another empty suit from corporate America and made it clear (as did Anne) that you are clueless as to what average people's lives are like here in the US.You embody the plutocratic ideology of the GOP and we the people did not want your values. I don't believe it had anything to do with Mormonism.

    September 29, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
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