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. Rare

    Your biggest error was being an overly wealthy, clueless guber.

    September 28, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. Dover

    No Mitt....your largest strategic error was thinking the US voters would ever consider electing someone with used car salesman sleaze as president of the USA.

    September 28, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  3. Zwei Stein

    Hindsight is 20/20.

    September 28, 2013 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  4. ScottCA

    I think he lost us all when he put on his magic underwear, and joined his cult of space alien worshippers who think the garden of Eden is not only real but located in the US.

    September 28, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  5. MiBigAl

    Off into obscurity for Mitt the Twit. This article is 6 hrs old and I'm the 1st one to comment and I'm only commenting on the lack of comments. Apparently no one care what he thinks, I know I don't.

    September 28, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. Susan

    Romney was just the wrong guy. The GOP needs another Reagan, a guy who really believes in liberty.

    September 28, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. Mark Pajak

    Your largest strategic error is being born into a wealthy, white family, and amassing billions of dollars, while the average Hispanic makes $9/hr. That makes you an automatic disconnect from the Hispanic reality, and no public oratory can change that.

    September 28, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  8. biosciman

    That and the whole rest of the 47% of Americans thing.

    September 28, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. Capone

    They Hispanic/Latino community understands the GOP immigration platform very well, which is why they opposed Romney.

    September 28, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  10. ryche

    Quit trying to pander like the dems do... its beneath you... If mexicans cant see that the party for personal responsibility is the one they should be voting for... and if they allow themselves to take the easy way out.. as the blacks have done for generations. and vote on who will continue the free gravy train, then let them continue to vote democrat, and America can wind up the same way their mother country has wound up.. broke, unsustainable economy and a leech society that continues to take and take, instead of give and give...

    September 28, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  11. colleen

    How many years ago was this "news" ?

    September 28, 2013 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  12. cjacja

    If Romney thinks all he needed was more "hispanic outreach" it just shows his total disconnect with the voters. This shows a total non-understanding.

    The GOP will continue to have problems until they understand to make real changes and accept the reality that they will never deport 11 million people. Also they need a counter plan to explain how THEY intend to get everyone health coverage. They need to have a better idea and show how even MORE would be covered at lower cost.

    They need substance, not spin.

    September 28, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  13. khic

    America needs to come back to God in whom their founding fathers trusted, and upon who's laws the Nation was built strong. Then she will no longer be afraid of the terrors by night, or the arrows that fly by day.

    September 28, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  14. Bush is STILL a traitor and on the lose

    "...understand that ours is the party of opportunity,"

    September 28, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  15. woweverynametaken

    Nice try, but I'd say his biggest strategic error was getting caught on a mic saying 47% of americans have a freeloader mentality. That one event pretty much destroyed the centrist image that he and his team worked so hard to cultivate.

    September 28, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  16. M

    What's with these Republicans who think the problem is that their message isn't getting through? It's getting through just fine; it's simply that people are rejecting it.

    September 28, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  17. Thereals

    Nice try, but I'd say his biggest strategic error was getting caught on a mic saying 47% of americans have a freeloader mentality. That one event pretty much destroyed the centrist image that he and his team worked so hard to cultivate.

    September 28, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  18. mark

    His "largest error" was thinking he could be elected.

    September 28, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  19. Nick

    "Nothing's wrong with me! Everyone's just too stupid to get it!" -Mitt Romney

    September 28, 2013 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  20. Clement Arbruster Bodog Castlenut, Jr.

    Mitt Romney's greatest campaign mistake was running as Mitt Romney

    September 28, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  21. Rememberwhatbushdid

    Simply not true once again. His party is not the of opportunity...unless you already own a successful, huge corporation, enough so you can buy your representation and run everything. Everyone else fend for yourself...even while Romney and his buddies send more and more of your jobs overseas so he can make more money. The party of opportunity... When will their sophistry end?

    September 28, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  22. Tanate

    I dont like him or his oponent; but if this clown would have embraced the Mexican heritage of his grandfather, he would have won the hispanic vote by a landslide and another person would be in the charge right now. "Pero el que es guey, hasta la coyunta lame".

    September 28, 2013 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  23. Joe

    Wow lost 40% of the Hispanic vote???? I'm guessing that the GOP will come up with a bill that only Caucasians can vote now??? This guy should reevaluate his binders full of women!!!

    September 28, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  24. John

    Mitt Romney's stance on the issue of immigration, along with that of the majority of the elected Republican Congresspeople, fails to so much as recognize that the "legal immigration" process might take a little too long for people who are facing execution at the hands of repressive governments and/or cartels. To expect that the legal processes of immigration or asylum are to be understood and abided by those who have been systematically abused by the destructive nature of organized crime is illogical and immoral. While it may be true that not all illegal immigrants are victims of organized crime, to say that Republican 'immigration reform' would bring "more people legally to our country" is a vapid statement that offers no solace to the persecuted refugees who need immediate relocation. Our country is blessed enough that most members of our population would likely have the foresight to google "foreign immigration policies," before illegally crossing a border. Refugees likely do not have the same ability or knowledge to access those avenues of information. The refugees from the heavily rural areas of less-industrialized nations, those same areas where drugs are often grown and where entire communities of farmers have been threatened into servitude by cartels, those immigrants do not likely have broadband internet or the luxury of time to await a bureaucratic analysis of their fate. While there is no simple or straightforward way to differentiate those who immigrate illegally for personal financial gain vs. those who immigrate illegally because they fear for their lives, isn't it best to err on the side of compassion? If you were subjugated by violent oppressive forces, would you not look to escape as quickly as possible?

    September 28, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  25. Glider2001

    Romney is still delusional about his loss. His delusion is merely a reflection of his detachment from the social mainstream and his unmitigated arrogance. Of course, that pretty much sums up most of the GOP.

    September 28, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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