The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Five 2016 Contenders Who Are Throwing Romney Under The Bus

After Mitt Romney lamented that President Barack Obama had won re-election due to giving “gifts” to African-Americans, Latinos, women, and other members of his coalition, many Republicans have taken the opportunity to distance themselves from the failed presidential candidate.

Notably, most of the Republicans who have spoken out against Romney’s misguided election postscript are considered to be rising stars of the party — and potential presidential nominees in 2016. Although it seems premature to discuss the next presidential race, as Benjy Sarlin points out in Talking Points Memo, the immediate aftermath of a presidential election goes a long way toward forming the field for the next one. After all, almost exactly four years ago today Mitt Romney penned a New York Times op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” which would come to define his entire campaign.

With that in mind, the reaction to Romney’s “gifts” remarks may well be the first litmus test for the 2016 Republican primaries. Here are five potential candidates who responded by throwing Romney under the bus:

Bobby Jindal

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who recently admonished his Republican colleagues to “stop being the stupid party,” ripped Romney’s comments at the Republican Governors Association opening press conference.

“No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” Jindal said. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote. And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream… So, I absolutely reject that notion.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore via

Susana Martinez

Also at the RGA, Susana Martinez blasted Romney for hindering the party’s efforts to expand its tent. After calling Romney’s remark “ridiculous,” the popular New Mexico governor added, “That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party, our comments that are not thought through carefully.”

Photo by “Robotclaw666” via

Chris Christie

Christie — who drew the ire of many right-wingers when he effusively praised President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy (and declared that he didn’t “give a damn” if Romney traveled to New Jersey to survey the damage) — continued the process of distancing himself from Romney during a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“You can’t expect to be a leader of all the people and be divisive. You have to talk about themes, policies that unite people, and play to their aspirations and their goals and their hopes for their family and their neighbors,” Christie said.

“Do I wish he hadn’t said those things? Of course,” Christie added. “But on the other hand, I”m not going to bury the guy for it.”

Photo credit: Associated Press

Kelly Ayotte

New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, who was on Romney’s shortlist for vice president and has become one of the public faces of the Republican Party’s Benghazi inquiries, shot down Romney’s remarks during an interview on MSNBC.

“I listened to the comments, I don’t know what the context fully was. I don’t agree with the comments,” Ayotte said. “I think the campaign is over and what the voters are looking for us to do is to accept their votes and then go forward. We’ve got some big challenges that need to be resolved.”

Photo by “marcyn” via

Marco Rubio

Florida senator Marco Rubio, who was an outspoken Romney supporter during the presidential campaign, was more delicate than many other 2016 contenders in his criticism of Romney — but he did criticize him just the same.

“I don’t want to rebut him point by point,” Rubio told Politico. “I would just say to you, I don’t believe that we have millions and millions of people in this country that don’t want to work. I’m not saying that’s what he said. I think we have millions of people in this country that are out of work and are dependent on the government because they can’t find a job.”

Rubio also noted that “our mission should not be to deny government benifits to people who need them.”

Photo credit: AP/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Hillary Clinton

Critics mocked former President Donald Trump after the Republican abandoned his lawsuit against New York Attorney General Laeticia James on Friday, hours after a Florida federal judge fined him for the “strategic abuse of the judicial process” for political purposes.

Keep reading...Show less

Trump rioters outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021

Youtube Screenshot

Arrests continue to be made as more information is revealed and investigations continue into the U.S. Capitol riot that occurred on January 6, 2021. Most recently, on Wednesday, three active-duty Marines were arrested for their participation in the insurrection, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. Identified as Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate, and Dodge Dale Hellonen, the three men were arrested on four charges each in relation to their participation in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol two years ago, reported.

Since Marine Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, who was taken into custody in May 2021 on nine charges, the three men are the first active-duty military members to be arrested in connection with the failed insurrection. Records provided to indicate that all three work in jobs connected to the intelligence community, have been enlisted for more than four years, and have been awarded good conduct medals in the past.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}