Romney continues ’47 percent’ style rhetoric in explaining defeat

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News

In his first major interview since Election Day, Mitt Romney on Sunday essentially delivered a more politically correct version of comments he made throughout 2012, when he suggested President Obama won because of the “gift” he gave low-income people, minorities and young people in the form of “Obamacare.”

Speaking to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, the former Republican nominee avoided controversial rhetoric, but stuck to the general theme that Obama won because minorities and young people backed the president because he provided them additional government services, especially health care.

This explanation is controversial of course because Obama won huge margins among minority and young voters in 2008, before he had enacted the health care law and other legislation. In fact, Obama’s performance among young and black voters was essentially unchanged from 2008, except that he LOST among white voters between ages 18 and 29 in 2012,  after winning that bloc in 2008. Most political experts say Obama’s wider margin among Latino voters in 2012 compared to 2008 is a function of anti-immigration language and policies advocated by Republicans, including Romney, in the years between the two elections, not the health care law.

WALLACE: Looking back, how do you rate yourself as a presidential candidate?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I see my mistakes and I see my flaws and I did better this time than I did the time before.

(LAUGHTER)

MITT ROMNEY: And — and I won’t get a third chance. I’m not doing it again.

The weakness that our campaign had and that I had is we weren’t effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities. That was a real weakness.

We did very well with the majority population, but not with minority populations. And that was a — that was a failing. That was a real mistake.

WALLACE: Why do you think that was?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think the ObamaCare attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated in a — particularly among lower incomes. And we just didn’t do as — as good a job at connecting with that audience as we should have.

WALLACE: What does the Republican Party need to do to reach out and attract more voters?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, first of all, I lost and so, I’m not going to be telling the Republican Party, come listen to me, the guy who lost is going to tell you how to win.

WALLACE: But you must have — you must have some ideas.

MITT ROMNEY: But — of course. But among those ideas, clearly, we have to do a better job bringing minority voters in to vote for Republicans and that’s Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities. We’ve got to do a better job taking our message to them to help them understand why we’re the party with the ideas that will make their life better.