Romney: Obama won with 'gifts' to certain voters

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is telling top donors that President Barack Obama won re-election because of the "gifts" he had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters and because of the president's effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant.

"The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift," Romney said in a call to donors on Wednesday. "He made a big effort on small things."

Romney said his campaign, in contrast, had been about "big issues for the whole country." He said he faced problems as a candidate because he was "getting beat up" by the Obama campaign and that the debates allowed him to come back.

In the call, Romney didn't acknowledge any major missteps, such as his "47 percent" remarks widely viewed as denigrating nearly half of Americans, his lack of support for the auto bailout, his call for illegal immigrants to "self-deport," or his change in position on abortion, gun control and other issues. He also didn't address the success or failure of the campaign's strategy of focusing on the economy in the face of some improvement in employment and economic growth during the months leading up to Election Day.

Obama won the popular vote by about 3.5 million votes, or 3 percent, and won the Electoral College by a wide margin, 332-206 electoral votes. Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks showed that Obama led Romney by 11 percentage points among women and won better than 7 of 10 Hispanic voters and more than 9 of 10 black voters.

Romney called his loss to Obama a disappointing result that he and his team had not expected, but he said he believed his team had run a superb campaign. He said he was trying to turn his thoughts to the future, "but, frankly, we're still so troubled by the past, it's hard to put together our plans for the future."

Romney's finance team organized the call to donors. A person who listened to Romney's call provided details about it to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the call was private. The Los Angeles Times first reported Romney's remarks.

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