A week after losing the election to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big "gifts" that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.
In a conference call Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Romney said the president had followed the "old playbook" of wooing specific interest groups — "especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people," Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.
"In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups," Romney said.
"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift," he said. "Free contraceptives were very big with young college-age 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."
The president's health care plan, he added, was also a useful tool in mobilizing African-American and Hispanic voters. Though Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers — 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics voted to re-elect Obama.
"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," he said. "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."
Romney said that while Obama "made a big effort on small things," Romney's message had been about "big issues."