Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol says that Latino voters decided to support President Barack Obama over former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 because they wanted government handouts like free health care "and thought Obamacare provided it."
During a panel discussion on Fox News Sunday, Kristol told host Chris Wallace that the Romney campaign believed that the candidate's so-called "self-deportation" policy -- which encouraged undocumented immigrants to deport themselves by making their lives in the U.S. more difficult -- had very little impact on the election.
Kristol explained: "This was the line that the campaign took and they claim their polls showed and focus groups showed that lower-income Hispanics were not put off by what Gov. Romney said during the primaries about self-deportation and his attacks on Gingrich and Perry for being more moderate on immigration, but that they like the promise of Obamacare and that even though the national polls showed that Obamacare was unpopular among a majority of the public that this helped him with lower-income voters and especially Hispanics."
"I personally think it's a bit of an excuse to explain away the damage he did to himself with what he said about immigration and in the fall," the conservative pundit admitted. "And also on Obamacare, maybe he did lose some votes on Obamacare for those that didn't have health insurance and thought Obamacare provided it."
"I think one can say that Gov. Romney didn't prosecute the case against Obamacare terribly aggressively, and to be fair to the governor, the Republican Party as a whole didn't prosecute an alternative proposal for health care to explain to the uninsured, how we're going to -- Republicans are going to take care of your problems more effectively than the Democrats."
In a conference call with donors after the election, Romney had insisted that Obama bribed Hispanics, African-Americans, women and youth voters with “gifts” like “free health care” and “amnesty for children of illegals.”
Watch this video from Fox News' Fox News Sunday, uploaded March 3, 2013.