The Republican critics of Mitt Romney have had enough of their party’s failed presidential nominee. After Romney told donors his loss last week was due to “gifts” President Obama and the Democrats bestowed on women and minorities, Republicans are essentially coming together in a collective “go away, Mitt.”
On a conference call with top donors Wednesday, Romney doubled down on the “47 percent” remarks that dogged the final months of his presidential bid. Romney told some of the people who financed his campaign he lost because the key voting blocs that voted for Obama did so because Obama gave them free stuff.
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” to younger voters, Romney said on the call according to the New York Times. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women.” Romney said made similar points about African Americans and Hispanic voters.
For conservatives and Republicans trying to make the GOP friendlier to those groups, Romney’s comments have not been well-received. To say the least.
“Romney’s theory isn’t just wrong, it’s pernicious,” wrote Daily Caller conservative columnist Matt Lewis. “Here’s hoping he finally rides off into the political sunset.”
Many of Romney’s most vocal critics after “gifts” have been tough on Romney before. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jinal (R) initially backed Rick Perry in the presidential primary before getting on Team Romney in the general. Perhaps with his own presidential ambitions on his mind, Jindal excoriated Romney Wednesday for his “absolutely wrong” remarks.
Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who helmed Hispanic outreach for John McCain in 2008 and worked for Jon Huntsman in 2012, was also critical of Romney through the campaign for his failure to engage minority communities. She took to her Twitter feed after “gifts” to tie the remarks to his broader shortcomings as a candidate.
“Livid at Romney saying Obama won b/c offered minorities ‘gifts,”’ she wrote. “As if he didn’t alienate Hispanics enuf while running! Look in mirror, Mitt.”
David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter and longtime critic of the party’s lurch to the right, held up Romney’s latest comments as emblematic of his failed campaign.
“Mitt Romney was very wrong to see 2012 as a referendum on ‘stuff,’” he wrote in a blog post. “It was a referendum on the question, which candidate would do a better job promoting prosperity and creating jobs. That was the referendum that Romney and the Republican party lost. We lost both because voters did not believe in the job-creating magic of upper-income tax cuts - and because voters were unpersuaded that the GOP even cared that much about job creation, as opposed to wealth preservation.”
The long run impact of Romney’s comments probably have more to do with Romney than with the GOP. Republicans weren’t too interested in rallying around Romney after he lost to begin with, and now they’re much less likely to come to his defense. Romney’s reupping on 47 percent could make it harder for the party to move forward, however. The “gifts” comments is getting play in Hispanic media, ensuring that one of the key groups the GOP is hoping to woo will be well aware of what Republicans are saying is Romney’s final presidential campaign misstep.
The White House weighed in Thursday, saying Romney’s “gifts” comments suggest he misread the election returns.
“That view of the American people of the electorate and of the election is at odds with the truth of what happened last week,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.