The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are reporting that Mitt Romney told a group of donors he believed his campaign was ‘superb,’ but they lost because of President Obama‘s ‘gifts’ to Latinos, blacks and young voters, including health insurance and help with college loans, “amnesty” for children of undocumented immigrants and free contraception.
Upon hearing the remarks, Latino conservative Republican Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, who supported Governor Romney, said the comments were a “slap in the face’” and called them disturbing. ”He lost the election by making comments like that to Latinos,” he says, adding, “apparently Governor Romney doesn’t understand why he lost.” If Romney had taken a different tone, especially on issues like immigration, says Aguilar, he would have been extremely competitive and could have won the election.
From The Los Angeles Times: “Romney argued that Obama’s healthcare plan’s promise of coverage “in perpetuity” was “highly motivational” to those voters making $25,000 to $35,000 who might not have been covered, as well as to African American and Hispanic voters. Pivoting to immigration, Romney said the Obama campaign’s efforts to paint him as “anti-immigrant” had been effective and that the administration’s promise to offer what he called “amnesty” to the children of illegal immigrants had helped turn out Hispanic voters in record numbers.”
“Latinos didn’t vote because of entitlements,” says Aguilar. ”They voted for Obama because they felt the alternative was worse,” argues the Hispanic Republican.
Aguilar adds that “frankly, it’s a validation of some of the remarks he has made in the past — it’s a little bit disturbing for those of us who supported him and defended him.”
Republican consultant and NBC Latino contributor Danny Vargas says, “Are there some percentage of Hispanic voters who voted for Obama because he was able to promise them something they were asking for?” That might account for some votes, but not for the 17 point decline we are seeing from 2004.”
“The reality is that it’s less about political favors, and it’s more about engagement and dialogue,” says Vargas, something he urges his party to do to regain the numbers they had just eight years ago.