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. Matthew Zibreg

    Mitt Romney's largest error from 2012 was thinking that he wouldn't be as polarizing to the Republican Party as every other "Tea Partyist", Conservative, and Republican that's currently elected. We can't form a single cohesive bond among ourselves and expect to be able to win elections? Yeah that sounds logical. It's disgraceful what moron's like Romney, Boehner, Perry, and Michelle Bachman have done to my party.

    September 27, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Ingex

    His biggest strategic error was the abortion issue. Since 2005, Romney has consistently said that he is "pro-life" and believes abortion should be legal only in the case "of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother." He lost women voters right there.

    September 27, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. joe

    your largest strategic error was being a devoutly religious right wing wingnut.

    Other than that, you had a good chance.

    September 27, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. Paul

    He still doesn't get it. It is not that they do not understand your thoughts on immigration, it is that they do and that you would not have supported their needs.

    September 27, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  5. alex

    What a crock! McCain was Hispandering like it was no tomorrow and how many Latino votes he got?

    September 27, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. THR

    This thing on???

    September 27, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. Hemlock

    Hey Mittens! The Hispanics still don't trust you, give it up.

    September 27, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. russ el

    He still doesn't get it.

    September 27, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  9. zeb Minas

    Mitt is still in a dream world... His biggest mistake was not reaching out to the Hispanic community so they could better understand the GOP point of view on immigration? That they don't understand the GOP position?

    September 28, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. cee-dog

    Two words that sunk Mitt: "Self deport."

    Say what?

    That doesn't sound like reform that sounds like La Migra.

    And Mitt pandering to the so-called Tea Party. Them and twenty five cents will lose you a presidential election every time.

    September 28, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. Dennis

    Mitt Romney's biggest blunder was running for President.He has absolutely zero in common with the vast majority of Americans.Unless you're a Mormon,of course.

    September 28, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  12. ngc1300

    Romney's largest strategic error was running for President.

    September 28, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  13. archer

    Elections are not about strategies. It is not a game. It is about policies and principles.Romey's policies and principles were flawed. He lost.

    September 28, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. Craig

    Interesting. It is undoubtedly true that the GOP made little or no attempt to connect with the hispanic community. However, let's face it: The GOP made little attempt to connect with anybody except old white guys...either the really rich ones, or the really poor ones who bought into the spin and lies. In truth, Romney lost because he not only wasn't like most voters he didn't much care that he wasn't like most voters. He's never had to live hand to mouth, worried about losing his job, wondering what he'd do if there was a medical emergency, or any of the other things most of us think about a lot of the time. Nope, we didn't elect him because he showed us that we weren't worthy of joining his segment of society. He also, just for giggles I guess, managed to take positions for, against, and unsure on almost anything that came up. Heck, I'm still looking for the VIP entrance so I can get away from the nail ladies.

    September 28, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  15. Donna

    Trust me dude, that was not your biggest problem.

    September 28, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. mike hardy

    You Are So Wrong. You're Biggest Mistake Was Letting The meatgrinder Known As The Republican Primary Process Change Who You Are!

    September 28, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. Jim Beam


    Why do we continue to revisit the fine points of why Barney Fife lost ?

    The GOP cares as much about the masses of the American people as Al Qaeda does to Christians.

    ......and gridlock and dysfunction serve a very real purpose–keeps the stacked deck stacked.

    September 28, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. J.A.

    No! Your biggest error was that you and the GOP did not and still do not comprehend the fact that this country is not 'Whites' only land anymore. It belongs to all, therefore the power is with all. The 47%-er, "Corporations are people too, my friend", being very unprofessional during debates and did I mention lying....yeaaaah, the American people do not like Liars!!

    September 28, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  19. Dream On


    September 28, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. MikeyZ

    Your biggest strategic error was aligning yourself with a party out of touch with reality.

    September 28, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  21. Schmoogalicious

    Outreach? You mean like trying harder to hide the fact that the GOP is the party of bigoted old white guys who despise people with brown skin and "foreign" names?

    September 28, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  22. marjee123

    mitts error was he couldn't over come FIVE MILLION MORE VOTES that President Obama got that he didn't

    September 28, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  23. marjee123

    Mitts error was he couldn't over come FIVE MILLION more votes that President Obama got that he didn't.

    September 28, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I don't see the misunderstand/misinterpretation – self-deport means get the hell out, after you do the housework and lawn care. Mitt, still full of crap like the rest of the GOP. Without Mitt in the White House the Morons won't permeate the courts and draconian restrictive, recessive mindset.

    September 28, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  25. notamused

    what about the "47%" remark Mitt?

    September 28, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
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