Romney’s new ‘free stuff’ meme: Obama won because of the ‘gifts’ he gave blacks, Hispanics, young voters

Opinion

When Mitt Romney has a “private” conversation with donors, interesting things happen.

Back in May, Mother Jones magazine obtained secret recordings of a Boca Raton fundraiser in which Romney dissed 47 percent of the country as freeloaders.

This time, the Republican Party’s latest presidential candidate huddled with top givers to his campaign, and opined about the reasons for his loss last Tuesday.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Mitt Romney told his top donors Wednesday that his loss to President Obama was a disappointing result that neither he or his top aides had expected, but said he believed his team ran a “superb” campaign with “no drama,” and attributed his rival’s victory to “the gifts” the administration had given to blacks, Hispanics and young voters during Obama’s first term.

Obama, Romney argued, had been “very generous” to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. He cited as motivating factors to young voters the administration’s plan for partial forgiveness of college loan interest and the extension of health coverage for students on their parents’ insurance plans well into their 20s. Free contraception coverage under Obama’s healthcare plan, he added, gave an extra incentive to college-aged women to back the president.

Romney argued that the Obama’s health care plan’s promise of coverage “in perpetuity” was “highly motivational” to those voters making $25,000 to $35,000 who might not have been covered, as well as to African American and Hispanic voters. Pivoting to immigration, Romney said the Obama campaign’s efforts to paint him as “anti-immigrant” had been effective and that the administration’s promise to offer what he called “amnesty” to the children of illegal immigrants had helped turn out Hispanic voters in record numbers.

“The President’s campaign,” he said, “focused on giving targeted groups a big gift—so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

It was an interesting assessment by Romney to some of the donors who gave his campaign “gifts” of around $900 million — nearly twice as much as Romney said he had expected to raise — presumably because they believed Romney would give them the “gifts” of endless tax breaks.

To be sure, the Obama campaign benefited from record turnout and vote shares among black, Hispanic and young voters, all of whom matched or exceeded their 2008 levels.

NBC Latino: Romney: Obama won because of ‘gifts’ he gave Latinos, blacks and young voters

The Obama campaign’s National African-American vote director, Stefanie Brown, sent out an email Wednesday touting black turnout, noting that “more African-Americans voted in 2012 than in 2008,” and that in key states like North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia, African-Americans matched their 2008 share of the electorate, making up 23 percent of voters in North Carolina, 13 percent in Pennsylvania, 20 percent in Virginia and 13 percent in Florida.

In Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, the share of African-Americans in the electorate actually increased over 2008, by between 2 and 4 percent.

The Obama campaign wasn’t alone in pointing out how pivotal black turnout was to Obama’s success. New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote that: “Without the Democratic black vote joining with that of liberal whites and Hispanics… Obama would likely have lost half the states that he won.”

But Romney misses the point when he reduces that strong turnout — and the record 72 percent of Hispanics and two-thirds of young voters who preferred Obama over him, to a transaction in which those votes were exchanged for trinkets (I for one have not received my “gifts…”). He would do better to begin his assessment by looking in the mirror.