Mitt Romney has a simple explanation for donors as to why his presidential campaign came up short: President Obama gave out too much stuff.
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, the former Republican nominee said during a call with donors on Wednesday that Obama had been “very generous” in doling out “big gifts” to “the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people” as well as to women throughout his first term. Benefits such as access to “free health care,” guaranteed contraceptive coverage, more affordable student loans, and “amnesty for children of illegals,” all combined to give the president a decisive edge in popularity.
“The President’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift — so he made a big effort on small things,” Romney said. “Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”
His explanation contained strong echoes of a leaked fundraiser tape earlier this year in which he told campaign backers that Obama’s strength came from the 47 percent of Americans who consider themselves “victims” and “dependent” on government.
“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said at the time.
At first Romney defended those remarks in a press conference, but weeks later he changed his tune and said his comments were “just completely wrong.” His latest conversations with donors suggest that he has moved closer towards his original views.
Despite complaints that the Republican’s campaign missed the mark badly on polling and turnout operations, Romney said he stood by his organization, which he called “a very solid team that got along.” He said there was “no drama in the campaign — not that everybody was perfect; everybody has flat sides, but we learned how to accommodate each other’s strengths and weaknesses, to build on the strengths.”
Romney told donors that he believed up to election day that he would win.
“I am very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said. “I know that you expected to win. We expected to win. … It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.