Romney Hispanic chair to create super PAC
Carlos Gutierrez says party must pursue pivotal voting block
After Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans failed to garner the support of the nation's fastest growing minority group in November's election, Carlos Gutierrez, the man who led Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters, said he and Republicans advocating for immigration reform are creating super PAC in hopes of repairing the party's image among the pivotal voting block.
In an interview set to air in full Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley, Gutierrez also sharply criticized Romney's remarks made on a call Wednesday with donors following his loss in last week's election. Romney explained his loss in part by pointing to "gifts" President Barack Obama gave to certain groups that allowed him a victory among certain groups.
Gutierrez, the former secretary of commerce, said he was "shocked" by Romney's comments.
"I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn't belong," he said. "We are the party of prosperity, of growth, of tolerance. I mean these immigrants who come across and what they do wrong is they risk their lives, they come here and they work because they want to be part of the American Dream."
The super PAC -- Republicans for Immigration Reform -- will be created with Charlie Spies, who worked for Romney in 2008 and was a co-founder of the largest super PAC backing Romney this election, Restore Our Future.
Gutierrez's super PAC, he said, expands to immigrants beyond just the Latino community and hopes to create a path to legalization for undocumented workers.
"First they have to be legalized and then you have to find a way to get into a line for the green card, but first some sort of legalization for the workers who are here. There'll be requirements and we'll have to negotiate some sort of requirements," he said.
During his campaign, Romney sought to bridge positions that appealed to both Hispanic supporters and the base of the Republican Party. Initially Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act, advocating for a path to residency, not citizenship, for undocumented immigrants serving in the military and later gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida that Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.
Admitting his candidate said a lot of things that were seen as anti-Latino, Gutierrez said he didn't know if Romney "understood that he was saying something that was insulting."
He added: "Perhaps it's just a lack of knowledge, a lock of intimacy with the community, but it bothers me when I hear someone use the term 'illegal alien.' I understand it's a legal term, but when a Latino hears that it is just, they cringe at that."
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