Whit Ayres is cofounder of Resurgent Republic, a Republican group that advocates conservative government policies. His firm provides polling and strategic advice to Republican candidates. He was the guest at the March 8 Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C.
The outlook for President Obama's reelection:
"If you look at the big picture, it is not a pretty picture for the president. You still have roughly 60 percent of the country thinking we are on the wrong track."
The Obama campaign's financial advantage over Republicans:
"Money is not going to be a problem for the ultimate [Republican] nominee. And the fact the Obama administration may have a billion dollars … the marginal advantage of an additional dollar when you go from $700 million to $800 million is relatively little."
"Doing better with nonwhite voters ... is the great challenge of the Republican Party going forward.... If we don't do better among Latinos, we are not going to be talking about how to get back Florida in the presidential race; we are going to be talking about how not to lose Texas."
Whether Mr. Romney can win Latino votes after talking about 'self-deportation' in GOP debates:
It is "not quickly forgotten, particularly in the Latino community, but the No. 1 issue in the Latino community is the economy and jobs; it is not immigration."
Whom Romney, if he is the nominee, should choose as vice president:
"It is likely the selection will be someone that would not only be acceptable to but would excite the more conservative voters who have been tepid toward Governor Romney.... It would help if they would be able to give a great speech."
Republican candidates' reluctance to criticize Rush Limbaugh for crude comments in a contraception controversy:
"There is a natural reluctance ... to kick your own when they screw up."