Carlos Gutierrez, Mitt Romney’s director of Hispanic outreach, slammed the former GOP presidential candidate’s claims that minority voters supported President Obama because he bribed them with “gifts,” suggesting that Romney may not have even known that his comments were offensive. Romney made the remarks last Wednesday, in a post-election call with donors.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Gutierrez took umbrage at the remarks and called on Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform that could help them win over Hispanic voters:
CANDY CROWLEY (HOST): You know what Mitt Romney has said. He is talking to a group of donors and talking about the Obama campaign. He said that he went out and gave a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped would vote for them and motivate them. specifically the African-American community, the Hispanic community, and young people…. What do you make of that kind of argument?
GUTIERREZ: I was shocked. I was shocked, and frankly I don’t think that’s why the Republicans lost the election. I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong. […]
CROWLEY: And you would admit, though, that your candidate said a lot of things seen as anti-latino. You yourself said that they fear the Republican Party, and he was the head of it.
GUTIERREZ: He failed at that. And that is true, and, you know, the unfortunate part and we were just talking about this, I don’t know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting. The language, the attitude, the body language, that’s what Latinos watch.
A growing number of Republicans are distancing themselves from Romney’s claims, while prominent lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have re-started negotiations aimed at achieving comprehensive reform “that would create a limited guest-worker program and enable illegal immigrants already in the U.S. with no criminal record to pay fines and eventually apply for legal status.”
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are calling for a narrower approach and are considering a DREAM Act-like bill that would allow young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country.