The new spiritual leaders of the Republican Party have come out swinging against Mitt Romney for his controversial remarks on a donor conference call about why Barack Obama won reelection.
According to the New York Times, Romney said Obama had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.” Romney also mentioned other recipients of Obama’s largesse:
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 … 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.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was the first to slam Romney on Wednesday, saying:
No, I think that’s absolutely wrong. Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote. And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.
Jindal was joined by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who called the remarks “an analysis to donors” and continued, “our mission should not be to deny government benefits to people who need them.” He continued that the GOP should work to make sure to reduce dependency without demonizing those who need government help:
… less people need government benefits. I don’t want to rebut him point by point. I would just say to you, I don’t believe that we have millions and millions of people in this country that don’t want to work. I’m not saying that’s what [Romney] said. I think we have millions of people in this country that are out of work and are dependent on the government because they can’t find a job.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Romney’s comments “inappropriate,” adding, “It’s wrong, it’s not true. What we’ve got to do is say we want every vote, we want to take care of every citizen in our state.”
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also weighed in: “The campaign is over and what the voters are looking for us to do is to accept their votes and go forward and we’ve got some big challenges that need to be solved. I don’t know the full context of them but I don’t agree with them.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad agreed: “I don’t think it’s helpful. I guess my feeling is that we need to turn the page, and we need to focus on the future and not make excuses for the past.”