Republican Tim Pawlenty, who served as the 39th governor of Minnesota, said his party lost the 2012 election because it needed better marketing and a better product, not because President Barack Obama handed out “gifts” to minorities.
In an interview with C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program, which is scheduled to air 10 a.m. Sunday, Pawlenty disagreed with Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who told his big donors in a conference call last week that his election loss resulted from Obama being “very generous” to the African-Americans, Latinos and young voters, who make up his core constituencies.
“I do think if you look back at the election of 2012, when you have a product that you put into the market place – Republican perspective – and the market place doesn’t buy it, you either have to have better marketing or a better product,” Pawlenty said. “And so this is a wake up call for the Republican Party to first of all have better marketing and that involves a lot of things.
“Clearly as the discussion unfolds, Republicans need to do better with female voters, blue collar voters, Latino and Hispanic voters,” he added. “So there’s a need to better market, but we also need to have products that sell better. And that doesn’t mean you change your philosophy, but I think President Obama first of all, just tactically did a better job getting out the vote in his campaign. No. 2, he, at least at the margins, was better able to connect with people in this campaign and then they made that judgment. But I don’t think it’s a matter of people looking at the election and say, ‘I’m going to vote because of gifts.’ I think they looked at it and said which one these candidates would they prefer because leadership considerations and also who can also understand their needs the best.”
This is a very different assessment of the election loss from the one Romney gave during the conference call.
Romney told the wealthy donors, “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.”
Several Republican governors have already started distancing themselves from Romney, saying those views were not shared by the party. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called Romney’s gifts claims “absolutely wrong.” He also said it was time the Republican Party focuses on getting 100 percent of the votes and stop dividing the American voters.
Pawlenty, who is now the president and CEO the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Financial Services Roundtable, said there’s a lot more to Obama’s winning the re-election and that it isn’t as simple as saying he gave out gifts.
Obama’s margin Among African-Americans voters was 93 percent. Among Latinos it was 71 percent and 60 percent among young voters between ages 18 to 29.