Carlos Gutierrez, who was Mitt Romney‘s advisor on Latino outreach, said yesterday that Romney lost the Hispanic vote because of “xenophobes” in the GOP. Gutierrez, who was the Secretary of Commerce under former President George W. Bush, added Republicans are “scaring the heck out of” Latinos.
“The Hispanics I know were scared of the Republican party,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in a blunt assessment of Romney’s loss,” according to the Huffington Post:
“I think it has to do with our incredibly ridiculous primary process where we force people to say outrageous things, they get nominated, and they have to come back.”
Gutierrez worked under former President George W. Bush, who won around 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 — over 10 points more than Romney won this year. The Latino vote was a pivotal part of the 2012 election, and it is widely acknowledged that the Republican Party could be forever damaged if it can’t win over more Latinos in the future.
He said extremists in the party were fully to blame for Romney’s loss, pointing to “the anti-immigration talk, the xenophobes.” “It’s almost as if we are living in the past,” he added.
“Mitt Romney made some mistakes,” Gutierrez added. “I think the disease is the fact that the far right of the party controls the primary process.”
In December, Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act if he became president, saying instead he would support a path to residency – not citizenship – for undocumented immigrants who served in the military, but not other DREAM Act proposals.
Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida that Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.
At a Republican presidential debate in January, Romney said he favored a system of “self-deportation,” a policy that involves making economic conditions so difficult for undocumented workers that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities. That stance was derided both by Democrats and his Republican rivals.
Speaking Sunday, Gutierrez said Latino voters were scared of a Republican Party they regarded as anti-immigrant and downright xenophobic.
“They were scared of the anti-immigration talk. They were scared of xenophobes. It’s almost as if we’re living in the past,” Gutierrez added.
The proof, he said, was in the way Latinos voted: 27% cast ballots for Romney, compared to 31% who voted for Sen. John McCain in 2008 and 44% who supported George W. Bush in 2004.
“I would lay the blame squarely on the far-right wing of the Republican Party,” Gutierrez said.
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