Bad loser Romney blames defeat on Obama 'handouts'

The Republican Party is still grappling with its electoral trouncing last week. But Mitt Romney has already worked out why he was thrashed at the ballot box: President Obama's "gifts" to minorities and illegal immigrants, college-loan waivers to young people and free contraceptives.

The swift micro-analysis came during a conference call between Mr Romney, pictured, and Republican donors. He had failed them, he said, because the President had pursued a policy of targeting certain interest groups with lavish sops (in contrast to his strategy of "talking about big issues for the whole country"). Particular attention was devoted to "the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people".

"In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups," Mr Romney said, according to The New York Times. He spoke of the administration's offer of what he termed an "amnesty" to the children of illegal aliens, a reference to the proposed Dream Act, which would bestow legal status on a small group of illegal immigrants who arrived in the US before the age of 16.

"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift," he explained. "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. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

Obamacare also brought out the minorities, he said, failing to mention campaign missteps such as his comments, taped secretly, that 47 per cent of Americans were government-dependents who would vote for the President no matter what. "You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year... getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity – I mean, this is huge," he said. "Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus."

Although Mr Romney displayed some contrition – he told donors he was "very sorry we didn't win" – it took little time for his observations to stir controversy, not just among Democrats but Republicans seeking to put 2012 behind them. Louisiana's Republican Governor, Bobby Jindal, seen by many as a potential presidential nominee for 2016, said Mr Romney was "absolutely wrong", adding "we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 per cent of the votes, not 53 per cent."

Obama advisor David Axelrod couldn't resist reminding the public of the infamous campaign gaffe, tweeting that Mr Romney was "still looking at America through that 47 per cent prism".