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. joe public 1

    No Mitt, they understood you clearly, they just preferred the other guy. You lost because you continually insult the inteligence of the people you deme to be in the 47%. Sad part is, you don't realize when you are doing it.

    September 28, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  2. Name

    Dude, seriously. It's been a year.

    I understand if you have aspirations for next election, but shush already. There's nothing left to clear up.

    September 28, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Mark

    The party of opportunity? Republican party is not well understood at the Hispanic community? I'm eating cereal at my computer, and I just spit a mouthful of granola and milk all over my keyboard. That's just hilarious.

    September 28, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  4. Bill

    His largest strategic error was running.

    September 28, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  5. Starblazer

    GOP = Get Out Pedro. That's all we need to know.

    September 28, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. svann

    The gop isnt against hispanics perse, just against making immigration any easier.

    September 28, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  7. Yellow Bumble Bee

    Nobody posts on these political stories because they can't – eventually the CNN moderator flags everybody's email address for a comment that violated their strict standards. Freedom of speech? Only if you post comments that are politically correct.

    September 28, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  8. Jim

    That wasn't his problem. His problem was that he is so creepy!

    September 28, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Comen

    Poor Romney... still thinks the Democrats play fair. He said, "I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country." Unfortunately that noble and good stance is not as good as what Democrats, their DoJ, and Obama were offering – a free for all system that gives illegal immigrants everything they want paid for by working citizens and legal immigrants, and also chance to vote for democrats multiple times due to no accountability of the voting system.

    September 28, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  10. cbp

    Not sure that this was Mr. Romney's biggest error. Did he change his positions to get the very Conservative wing of the GOP to support his nomination? He left his roots in MA behind and seemed to dismiss what he did there and then taking new views. He sent many of us right back to the Democratic candidate.

    September 28, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  11. H. Ogg

    Mitt Romney's "largest strategic error" was insulting 47% of the electorate.

    September 28, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. Calcommuter

    Oh Mitt, there were so many reasons you werent elected. That little incident with the recording when you talked about the 47 percent? Or that your stance on issues changed depending on whether it was the primary or presidential campaigns? Etch a Sketch? Or that the national affordable healthcare plan that was based on the health care plan you signed into law in Massachusetts, yet you were against it? No Mitt, you had many problems.... Maybe one of your clones will explain it to you.

    September 28, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  13. dinaosullivan

    Romney's problem in strategy is that he was not honest, thought he was a shoo in to win and didn't respect that the people saw right through him and his phony GOP party. This man is delusional.He still thinks he is relevant.

    September 28, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  14. zappo15

    His largest strategic error was that he ran for president.

    September 28, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  15. mike

    Of course hispanics were against the repubs....according to them, Mexicans should be able to come and go into and out of the United States as they please.

    September 28, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. One Eyed Pirate

    Breathing... Breathing was his largest error.

    September 28, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. Peter

    September 28, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. shan22044

    One of the seven habits – seek first to understand, then to be understood. It's not the Hispanic community's fault that they didn't "understand" his stance on immigration reform.

    Actually, there's a big chance that they DID understand something – that he doesn't understand them.

    September 28, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. motorfirebox

    Dying himself like an oompa-loompa may not have been much help, either.

    September 28, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. vickie dile

    I grew up in a large hispanic family being a democrate was expected. It has always been viewed as republicans only look out for the rich white people. And democrates look out for the poor spanish people. It stems from the prejudice that happened with the older generations. I think these views still hold to this day. Past down from generation to generation. It is a stereotype that will always be around.

    September 28, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. joe

    i think it was not revealing his tax docs.

    September 28, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  22. ep tor

    And he still doesn't get it. His party IS anti-immigrant almost to the point of bigotry. Normal Hispanics simply don't trust the GOP and never will. He also bad mouthed poor people. Turning his back on Romneycare to appease the Teapeople made him look weak and a flip-flopper especially since Romneycare was about the only successful accomplishment he had while Governor of Massachusetts.

    September 28, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  23. equality for all


    Dear Mr. Romney

    You lost because the republican party is branded as anti gay, anti black, anti women, anti immigration, anti choice, anti medicare, anti medicaid, and anti 47%.

    Being associated with the religious right and tea baggers did not help your cause.

    Mr. Romney, I suspect you are a good man but the republican party, especially, with Ted Cruz at the helm will doom the party forever.

    September 28, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  24. Anonymous

    not in touch with real american world .to hard to trust not main stream religon.retired sick or disable voter's or older workers cant buy his and his posse views or beliefs. half of americans are single divorced unmarried no rich familys to help us out of ourhigh taxes for people making under 60to120k

    September 28, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  25. james

    no, i'd say his biggest misstep was saying he doesn't care about half of america, that'll do it

    September 28, 2013 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
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