Romney blames Obama win on 'gifts' to black, Hispanic, young voters
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at Watson Truck and Supply in Hobbs, N.M., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. (AP / Evan Vucci)
Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 11:58AM EST
LAS VEGAS -- Former Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama won re-election last week because of the "gifts" Obama had provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of his effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrants.
"The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift," Romney said in a phone call with top donors Wednesday. He cited immigration proposals aimed at Hispanics and free contraception coverage that appealed to young women. "He made a big effort on small things."
Romney said his campaign, in contrast, had been about "big issues for the whole country."
White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed Romney's assessment Thursday, telling reporters travelling with Obama aboard Air Force One that policies allowing more young people to go to college or stay on their parents' health plans are good for all Americans and the economy as a whole.
"I think that view of the American people or the electorate and the election is at odds with the truth of what happened last week," Carney said.
Romney also didn't acknowledge any major missteps and said his team had run a superb campaign.
By contrast, many Republicans are questioning their strategy after Obama's strong win, with some saying they must reach out to Hispanics and others as their core demographic, aging white males, shrinks.
Growing numbers of Hispanic, black and young voters overwhelmingly voted Democratic last week.
Top Republicans meeting for the first time since the election said the party lost its bid to unseat Obama because Romney did not respond to criticism strongly enough or outline a specific agenda with a broad appeal. Many had assumed that an election with the struggling economy as the top issue would favour a businessman like Romney, but he was weakened by his constant shifting on sensitive social issues like abortion.
In conversations at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas, a half dozen party leaders predicted the Republicans will lose again if they keep running the same strategy.
"We need to have a brutal, brutally honest assessment of everything we did," said Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor who is widely seen as one of the Republicans' sharpest political operatives. "We need to take everything apart ... and determine what we did that worked and what we did that didn't work."