Republicans Pile On Romney For “Gift” Remarks

Top Republicans on today’s morning news shows were unrelenting in their criticism of the man who, up until just 12 days ago, was the de facto leader of their party:

If Mitt Romney has any friends left in the Republican Party, they’re in hiding.

On the Sunday talk shows, senior Republicans, former Romney surrogates and prominent conservatives piled on their defeated presidential nominee for telling donors that he lost because President Obama bought off minorities and young voters with “gifts.”

“It’s nuts,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean, first of all, it’s insulting. … The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.”

Rumored 2016 presidential hopefuls in the party saw an opportunity to distance themselves from Romney.

“I absolutely reject what he said,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on “Fox News Sunday.” “We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people us we have to like them first. And you don’t start to like people by saying their votes were bought.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an on-again, off-again advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, said Romney’s comments were especially damaging among Hispanics. He said Romney fueled the fire of their disenchantment with the GOP that grew when the ex-governor pushed a policy of “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants and their children.

“We’re in a big hole, we’re not getting out of it by comments like that. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of our rhetoric on immigration, and our candidate Romney and the primaries dug the hole deeper.”

Carlos Gutierrez, a top Hispanic surrogate and adviser to the Romney campaign, said he was “shocked” by the comments. “I don’t know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Much of this, of course, is an example of what I noted yesterday. Having lost the election, there really is no future for Romney in the Republican Party, no reason for Republican politicians to listen to him or curry favor with him, and no reason for them to fear him. Consider what a difference just two months make. When Romney’s 47% remarks were revealed in late September, the party rallied around him because he was the nominee and that’s what you do for your party nominee. Now, though? Romney has no coalition inside the GOP, no favors left to call in, and no serious claim to the 2016 nomination. More than any recent major party nominee, his political career ended on the night of November 6th. We may see him show up at a conference or something in the months to come, perhaps CPAC will invite him back, but other than that I’d be surprised if we see him in public very much. Given all of that, there’s no longer any reason for these politicians to defend Romney, especially when what he said was so monumentally stupid.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rachael M. says:

    Republicans with dreams of future career advancement have no choice but to distance themselves from these types of comments, or face the prospect of the comments being used against them in the next election. Hell, they probably will be used anyway.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    When in Rome….

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Of course in fact there’s nothing in Romney’s remarks that Republicans disagree with. This is conservative ideology. They just don’t want it spoken of publicly. Contempt for half the American people has to be morphed into the right dog whistle rhetoric.

    They also condemned Mourdock and Akin who did nothing but state conservative ideology clearly. But of course Republicans don’t conclude from this that their beliefs might actually be kinda stupid. No, no, it’s all just fine so long as no one tells the voters.

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Pretty ironic statement there coming from Newt “Obama is the Food Stamp President” Gingrich.

  5. JohnMcC says:

    Interesting that the Republican Party now is three out of three in choosing Presidential candidates that they reject whole-heartedly after the campaign/administration: GWB, Sen McCain and now Gov Romney.

    I realize that GWB doesn’t fit the same paradigm since he actually was President but the exception sort of proves the rule, seems to me, because they reject him most strongly.

    I bet it’s because liberals say bad things about them.

  6. Robert Bell says:

    Doug: “When Romney’s 47% remarks were revealed in late September, the party rallied around him because he was the nominee and that’s what you do for your party nominee.”

    If that’s really true, then why should one ever trust anything someone in a party says?

  7. Fiona says:

    I don’t think much of anyone inside the Republican Party actually liked Romney even when he was the nominee. His contemptuous attitude toward anyone he didn’t see as an equal–and that includes pretty much anyone including the Republican primary also-rand–wasn’t going to win him a lot of friends. Now that Romney has gone down to a pretty major defeat, they’re not about to waste their opportunity to crap all over him.

  8. bill says:

    well, he’s right but you’re not supposed to say it like that.