Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking more than a year after he lost to President Barack Obama, acknowledged Friday that his campaign failed to attract minority voters.
"The place that my campaign and I fell short was probably in being able to speak openly and effectively to minority populations. We didn't get as many African-American voters as we should have, didn't get as many Hispanic voters as we should have," he said on "CBS This Morning." "Across the board, we need to do a better job explaining why it is that our policies will lead to higher wages, better health care, better schools."
The need to appeal to minority voters is a familiar Republican refrain, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in the party's postmortem report on the 2012 elections that the GOP needs to do a better job with outreach. Romney lost minority voters by a huge margin -- Obama won 93 percent of black voters and 71 percent of Hispanics, according to exit polls. Former President George W. Bush won about 11 percent of black voters in 2004, and about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Romney's analysis of the minority vote in private, however, was much darker than his comments Friday. In a conference call with donors last November, he said that Obama won reelection because of "gifts" to black and Hispanic voters, such as providing health insurance to low-income people.
Romney, who supported "self-deportation" of undocumented immigrants during the Republican primaries, said Friday that they should be eligible for citizenship. "I don’t think those who come here illegally should jump to the front of the line, or be given a special deal -- be rewarded for coming here illegally -- but they should have a chance, just like anybody else, to get in line and become a citizen if they’d like to do so," he said.