Obama's 'gifts' cost me: Romney

Published: Nov 16, 2012, 07:18 IST | Agencies |

A bitter Mitt Romney alleges he only lost the US presidential elections because Barack Obama bestowed presents on low-income voters, young Americans and minorities

A little more than a week after the election, Romney in a phone call with his national finance committee accused Obama of following the “old playbook” by bestowing favours on key Democratic constituencies in exchange for their support at the ballot box.

“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” said the defeated Republican presidential nominee, adding that young voters were also among the beneficiaries of Obama’s largesse.

Sour loser? Romney said that Obama used the old playbook of bestowing favours to win the elections. file pic

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” Romney said.

Obama garnered 51 per cent of the popular vote, while Romney got 48 per cent.

Goodies promised
Among the goodies Romney said Obama gave to his backers were “free contraceptives,” which were very big with young college-aged women.

The president’s controversial health care reform plan was another campaign plum that helped secure the youth vote, Romney said.

“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,” Romney told his backers.

“They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008,” he said. The conservative Mormon nominee locked up the elderly voters in the November 6 election, and earned a definitive 59 percent of the white vote.

But in addition to young voters, minorities rallied around Obama, with 93 per cent of African Americans, 71 per cent of Hispanics and 72 per cent of Asians casting a ballot for the president.

Romney said the perquisites on offer were particularly tempting to low-income voters.

“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,” Romney said. “I mean, this is huge.”

Sour grapes?
The former Massachusetts governor — whose landmark achievement while he led the state was a health reform program after which Obama patterned his own national health initiative — depicted the president’s medical care plan as a campaign bonbon his campaign couldn’t compete with.

For Latinos “free health care was a big plus,” Romney said during the 20-minute call.

“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,” he said, referring to a program introduced by the president this year allowing some undocumented youths to temporarily remain legally in the United States.

Romney seemed still rueful after last Tuesday’s vote, which his own campaign team had predicted he would win handily, and which numerous polls leading into the election said was too close to call.

“I’m very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said. “I know that you expected to win, we expected to win, we were disappointed with the result, we hadn’t anticipated it, and it was very close but close doesn’t count in this business.”

Jindal rejects Romney’s claims
Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal rejected Mitt Romney’s claim that US President Barack Obama won with "gifts" to minorities and young voters. “No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” said Jindal. “We have got to stop dividing the American voters,” he said adding, “Secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter 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.”

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