The Cycle hosts took apart Mitt Romney’s claim that President Obama’s “gifts” cost the GOP the election.
Romney said on a call to donors that what the “president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.” (MSNBC is uncertain exactly when this call took place.) Romney cited the health care law allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26 as an enticement for young voters, as well as changes to the student loan repayment program and free contraception coverage. Speaking of Hispanic voters, he called “amnesty for children of illegals – the so-called Dream Act kids… a huge plus.”
Romney also told donors, “With regards to African American voters, ‘Obamacare’ was a huge plus — and was highly motivational to African American voters. You can imagine for somebody making $25—, or $30—, or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free healthcare — particularly if you don’t have it, getting free healthcare worth, what, $10,000 a family, in perpetuity, I mean this is huge.” A Romney campaign official told NBC News, “Governor Romney was simply elaborating on what [Obama senior strategist] David Axelrod had said about the Obama campaign’s effort to target key demographics, most specifically, women.”
The Cycle’s Steve Kornacki pointed out that Romney “spent the last month of the campaign, after the 47% tape came out, saying ‘Oh, no no no, I’ll be president for the 100%, disregard what you heard there,’ ” Kornacki said. “I think he clearly believed what he was saying in the 47% tape. I think this is pretty good confirmation of that.” Kornacki also criticized Romney’s attitude. “You’re supposed to be a little humble in defeat. You’re not supposed to be out there making excuses and blaming and all of that.”
The Cycle’s Krystal Ball took issue with Romney’s remark that offering free contraception had lured college-age women to the Obama camp. “It struck me because they said the Democrats are reducing women to abortion and birth control. Women are much more than that,” Ball said. “Rather than all that money going to Crossroads [Karl Rove's Super PAC], they should have just been giving out condoms and birth control! Much more effective.”
Co-host S.E. Cupp echoed her comments on Morning Joe earlier today that Romney faulted the voters. “Never a good idea to blame the electorate,” she said. “Never a good idea to say, you didn’t vote for me and it’s your fault for not seeing my greatness…If the GOP needed an easy excuse to back away from Romney, distance themselves, and start anew and move forward, Romney just gave it to them.”
The Cycle’s Toure called the Republican party’s focus on free stuff “corrosive to the GOP soul.” “It’s disgusting, it’s offensive, and it’s why they use the word ‘pandering’ when they talk about the way these groups get entitlements rather than the way liberals look at it in terms of protecting personal liberty and… helping the least fortunate among us,” Toure said.