WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: Mitt Romney Says Obama’s Gifts Won The Election, Some Republicans Push Back Against The Idea (VIDEO)

Republicans are ticked off at Black people, Latinos, women, young people and the rest of the 47 percent. Mitt Romney and his supporters are tossing around a whole lot of crazy reasons whey he lost the 2012 election.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Sonya Ross of the Associated Press, political commentator Armstrong Williams, political journalist Joseph Williams and “The Washington Post”‘s Michael Fletcher.

MR. MARTIN:  Welcome back.

Republicans are ticked off at black people, Latinos, women, young people – or, just – should I just say, the “47 percent” of the country?  A whole lot of craziness being tossed around out there by Mitt Romney and his supporters.

Here to talk about it [are]:  Sonya Ross of the Associated Press, political commentator Armstrong Williams, political journalist Joseph Williams and “The Washington Post”’s Michael Fletcher.

Folks, welcome to the show.  Clearly, there’re “Washington Post” cutbacks.  Michael still can’t afford a pocket square.


MR. MARTIN:  So – Armstrong, I don’t know what’s the deal, either, with you. Woke –


MR. MARTIN:  — up late, or something like that?

MS. ROSS:  — I can’t either.


MR. MARTIN:  But – yeah.  But you – you get a – you get a pass.

All right.  So –


MR. MARTIN:  — this has been an absolutely crazy week.  You see Mitt Ro- — Mitt Romney.  He comes out, and he’s talking about “gifts” being passed out like President Obama somehow is Santa Claus.  At some point, when will the Republicans learn to accept a butt kickin’ like a man?

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  You know, it – it is actually sad – isn’t it?  I heard Governor Chris Christie harshly criticize Mr. Romney for obviously the – you have to accept defeat in grace and also learn from it.  In fact, Romney needs to learn how to give – give the gift of communications in the Republican Party to blacks and Latinos and single women, and maybe they can change the – the dynamics of this party, who’s also headed off a fiscal cliff.

MR. MARTIN:  Speaking of communication, let’s actually hear Mitt Romney give his analysis of how President Obama kicked his behind on election night.


MR. MITT ROMNEY:  … the President – President’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and – and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote. I mean it’s a proven political strategy, which is give a bunch of money from the government to a – to a group, and guess what?  They’ll vote for you.  The – giving away free stuff is a – is a hard thing to compete with.


MR. MARTIN:  See, I remember after he spoke to the NAACP –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  [Unintelligible.]

MR. MARTIN:  — and he had a fundraiser, I believe, in Montana; and he sort of threw out this, “Oh, they want free stuff.”

To me, this is Mitt Romney playing that cute game Republicans have played a lot of times, and that is, “Oh, they want free stuff.  That’s what they want.”  And that’s the game he was playing here, and all of a sudden, Bobby Jindal, Christie, others – they are just jumping on him quickly because they recognize the nation’s not getting whiter.  It’s getting more diverse.  This doesn’t play well to the folks you’re trying to get to vote for you in the future.

MR. MICHAEL FLETCHER:  And so much for the idea that Mitt Romney was a candidate who was captive, made a bad candidate by a party that was pulling him in the wrong direction.  I think Romney’s now revealed kind of who he is.  I mean throughout this – I mean like you said, he threw out these ideas during the campaign.  They tried to talk about welfare and things like that, and they kept trying to use this kind of –


MR. FLETCHER:  — this kind of almost racial coding – exactly –


MR. FLETCHER:  — to – to –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  Well, they used code.

MR. FLETCHER:  Exactly.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  But – but the problem is that – that I don’t think that he’s an isolated view.  I mean I think you have people who came out and criticized him publicly, but more along the lines of like, “Hey, tamp it down.”  You know, “We are working on this sort of thing.”  I don’t necessarily –

MR. MARTIN:  Even Senator Marco Rubio was sort of –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — yeah, it wasn’t –

MR. MARTIN:  — “Eh, oka-a-ay.”  I mean Jindal came out st- — I mean –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  Jindal came out str- —

MR. MARTIN:  — hit – hit him much harder.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — well, Jindal came out strong, but Jindal’s advocated a lot of this stuff in the past.  A lot of these Republican people and the – the donors and the – the supporters who he was talking with – I’m pretty sure there were a lot of nodding heads on the other end of that telephone who didn’t necessarily think this was going to come out and be as harshly criticized the way it was.

MR. MARTIN:  Now, Sonya, you cover race, age, demographics – those things – [for the] Associated Press, and you hear some Republicans say, “Oh, no.  We don’t really have to change a lot.”  But the reality is the map has, indeed, changed.  You look at – and not just when it comes to Hispanics.  When you look at young folks, when you look at black folks.  And for President Obama to win the presidency with 40 percent of the white vote, and then you look at these western states.  They put together a map that, frankly, if you’re Democrats, you like how this map is going to look the next several elections.

MS. ROSS:  Well, I mean the symbolism of all of what you’re talking about is in the reaction that Romney had.  When black people heard this reaction from Mitt Romney, almost in a uniform chorus it was, “Yeah, let’s talk about gifts.  Where’s my 40 acres and a mule?” –


MS. ROSS:  — which was a – I guess, a euphemism for, “Remember that unkept promise?”

So, if you’re coming at us in a posture of wooing us as voters, you have a word to keep – or, you have a promise to keep – coupled with you just showed me who you are.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. ROSS:  And you’re not inclined to change this map we’re looking at?  This was more of the voters saying, “You’re not who we are,” it’s just – just as it’s incumbent upon the Republican Party to move to where the voters are, it’s incumbent upon the Democratic Party not to take those voters for granted in the manner that has been their historical habit also.

MR. MARTIN:  And I’d like to make that point, because I do believe that what you’re going to see – especially from Latinos – [is] you’re going to see a significant, internal-external game saying, “Look, we want results.”

We’ve made the point on this show that African-Americans had better go back to that internal-external game and say, “Look” – “Hey, look.  All right.  We sat back.  We chilled.”  “Okay.  Don’t say much.  Don’t ask for much.  Wait till the second term.”

The second term’s here.  I think a lot of people who voted for the President are saying, “Okay.  You’re there for the next four years.  Nothing after 2016 is promised.  There’s an expectation to deliver on what you promised or what we expect.”

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  Well, you know what?  I – I – let me – let me just say I – I do think that is an excellent point – an excellent point that Sonya made.  La- — Latinos, the LGBT [community], every other ethnic group – if they’re not satisfied with what is being done for their constituency, they will threaten to take their vote and their power elsewhere.  American blacks gave 93 percent of their votes to Barack Obama in this last presidential election.  They cannot just sit back and say “we’re going to wait” any longer.  “We’re going to demand that you change our communities – whether it’s about crime, whether it’s about education, whether it’s about jobs, whether it’s about small and minority businesses.  We’re going to demand that you make a change, because you’re not going to no longer” – and the Democratic Party.  It’s more than just about the President; it’s about the Democratic Party.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  “Don’t take us” –

MR. MARTIN:  House –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — “for granted!”

MR. MARTIN:  — Senate.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  The House, Senate – everybody.  “We’re here, and we’re going to bring our power to bear.”

MS. ROSS:  Well, there’s –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  But, see.  I think the problem –

MS. ROSS:  — actually – [crosstalk]- —

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — with that is the – that the Republican Party has done absolutely nothing to come close to competing for the African-American vote.  Therefore, the dynamic continues the way it always has been, because in the Republican Party, you have a party that’s almost actively hostile to African-American interests.  And given that, it’s very, very easy for the Democrats –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  That’s changing.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — to take –


MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — how is it –


MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — changing?

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — it’s changing.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  How is it changing?

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  You may not see the tide.  It’s changing.

MR. FLETCHER:  [Chuckles.]



MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — what I’m hearing –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — stay tuned.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — what I’m hearing –


MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — what I’m hearing is Afri- –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  No matter what you hear –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — what I’m hearing –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — it’s changing.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — is “Latino votes.”  What I’m hearing –


MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — is, “We’ve got to make” –


MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — “a shift on immigration.”

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — no, no, no.

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  I’m not hearing –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  It’s changing –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — anything –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:  — for blacks, too.

MR. FLETCHER:  Right, right.



MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — hearing anything –


MR. MARTIN:  Now – now –



MR. FLETCHER:  — I haven’t heard –

MR. MARTIN:  — now – now, Joe’s point?  You’re right.  I’m not hearing “black” in that mix.

You – Michael?

MR. FLETCHER:  I was about to say the same thing, but these things change quickly.  It wasn’t that long ago that George W. Bush was commanding 40-plus percent of the Latino vote, and now –


MR. FLETCHER:  — we’re –

MR. JOSEPH WILLIAMS:  — percent of the African-American vote.

MR. FLETCHER:  — right.  Exactly.  And that was about outreach, and we – and – and sort of messaging.  And these things can – can pivot quickly.

But I think you’re right.  I haven’t heard Republicans making any kind of appeal to African- —

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. FLETCHER:  — -Americans that seems to have any –

MS. ROSS:  The irony –

MR. FLETCHER:  — kind of – [crosstalk]- —

MR. MARTIN:  Hold tight.  Ho- —

MS. ROSS:  — the irony –

MR. MARTIN:  — ho- —

MS. ROSS:  — the irony in the whole thing is that it is treated as a foregone conclusion that the Latino vote delivered for President Obama.  Now he must deliver on e- — on immigration.  And with the black community, black votes delivered for President Obama, but it’s almost as if there’s a hanging back, saying, “Well, we don’t know whether we ought to challenge him or not.”