Republican Senator-elect Ted Cruz blames his party's poor performance with Latinos on Mitt Romney's infamous '47 percent' comment.
"You want to know why Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote?" he said Thursday night at a gala for the conservative American Principles Project, reports the Huffington Post. "Tone on immigration contributed, but I think far more important was '47 percent.'"
The first Latino senator from Texas was referring to Romney's claim that he didn't have to worry about 47 percent of Americans because they are dependent on government and wouldn't want to vote for his policies anyway.
"'We don't have to worry about them' is what the clip famously said," Cruz added.
"I cannot think of an idea more antithetic to the American principles," he said.
He blamed the Republican Party, and not just Romney, for failing to convince voters that they cared about them. He also criticized the Democratic Party for painting the Republicans as against women's rights, and for hurting the economy.
Cruz, a Tea Party-backed candidate with Cuban roots who beat out Democrat Paul Sadler to claim retiring Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat, said he thinks Latinos actually agree with Republican policies on jobs and education, the party just needs to do a better job of convincing voters. The speech fueled speculation that Cruz is considering a 2016 presidential run.
"No one is going to vote for you," Cruz said, "if they think you don't like them."