Ashley Parker at The New York Times reports that “Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.”
A week after his loss, Romney hosted a 20-minute conference call–“described as a ‘spin and grin’ by someone who dialed in”–with his national finance committee and sought to blame his failure to be elected President on a allegedly cynical ploy by President Obama to woo special interest groups–especially people of color and young voters–with presents. Romney went on to describe Obama much like notoriously noxious Rush Limbaugh has: President Obama didn’t win because his policies and plans resonated with more voters, but because he is a type of Barack O’Claus, doling out goodies left and right to the undeserving moochers and maggots. Or maybe a male Oprah Winfrey. (“YOU get a car! YOU get a car! Everyone gets a new car!”)
Young people, explained Romney, were given the gift of forgiveness of college loan interest. “Free” contraceptives provided by Obamacare (actually, contraceptives being covered by medical insurance just like erectile dysfunction medications, not “free” birth control) won over college-aged women (like Sandra Fluke?) and young adults were allowed to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until they turned 26. Not only did Obamacare appeal to young folks and young, fertile women, said Romney, but black and brown folks liked it, too.
The New York Times elaborates:
The president’s health care plan, he added, was also a useful tool in mobilizing African-American and Hispanic voters. Though Mr. Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers — 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics voted to re-elect Mr. Obama.
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Romney also expressed frustration that he had failed to defeat Obama (clinging to the idea that it was “very close”), noted that he realized everyone was very disappointed, and that his loss had not been anticipated. Clearly no one on Romney’s staff paid attention to any polls or statistics outside of the Republican infobubble of FOX News.
Romney asserted that his campaign was about “big issues” like military strategy and foreign policy (perhaps Romney’s demonstrably poor grasp of foreign policy (during the third presidential debate, when he wasn’t embarrassingly misinformed, he appeared to agree with all of Obama’s decisions), geography–such as asserting that Syria was Iran’s “route to the sea,” his ability to offend most of the United States’ allies during his summer tour overseas, and his chickenhawkish saber-rattling about Iran were more off-putting than he thinks), a strong economy (despite the criticism by tax policy and economics experts that the Romney/Ryan plan was “mathematically impossible” and sought to extend the Bush tax cuts for the 1%, something many voters strongly disliked), creating jobs (something Romney himself has never managed to do as a vulture capitalist, unless you count off-shored jobs) whereas Obama focused on “small things.”
Romney did express some appreciation to his supporters during the call. One assumes that they were not in the group of campaign volunteers who found themselves stranded and unable to pay for taxi rides home as Romney rushed to cancel their staff credit cards, cancel a planned expensive fireworks display over Boston Harbor (funny, I don’t recall Obama celebrating his Election Day win with an expensive eff-you pyrotechnics display), and (one imagines) yelled at his webmaster for leaking the pre-prepared “President-Elect Romney” website ahead of schedule.
The New York Times quotes Romney:
“I’m very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said on the call. “I know that you expected to win, we expected to win, we were disappointed with the result, we hadn’t anticipated it, and it was very close but close doesn’t count in this business. [So] now we’re looking and saying, ‘O.K., what can we do going forward?’ But frankly we’re still so troubled by the past, it’s hard to put together our plans from the future.”
He added half-jokingly that the close-knit group, which excelled in fund-raising but was ultimately unable to propel Mr. Romney into the Oval Office, could even help with “perhaps the selection of a future nominee — which, by the way, will not be me.”
I hope that is a promise, Mr. Romney.