In a post-election conference call with over 400 donors, Governor Mitt Romney explained Obama won a second term because of policy gifts to Hispanic-Latino, African American, and young voters. The comments set off a whirlwind of criticisms and debates on talkshows and in the cybersphere.
What most are missing is the ironic way in which Romney’s comments will help the beleaguered Republican Party.
An understandably weary Romney, just hours after the election, gathered pollsters to interpret his stunning defeat. The Republican candidate claimed that Obama’s victory should be attributed to a host government freebies, a narrative that echoes the infamous “47%” comments made earlier on the campaign stomp.
Romney posited that the turnout of young voters and their greater support for Obama must be considered in policy contexts i.e., college finance, contraceptives:
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift… Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”
As for black and Hispanic voters, Romney asserted:
“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. 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.”
The GOP Response
The analysis was met with mixed sentiments in GOP circles. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal or Louisiana blasted the idea at the Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas , stating, “I absolutely reject that notion…I think that’s absolutely wrong.” Jindal’s comments have weight given his rising star within the GOP and recent service as a Romney campaign liaison.
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