Mitt Romney has broken his post-election silence, blaming his defeat on Barack Obama's policy of bestowing "gifts" on Hispanics, black people and the young.
The former presidential contender's call from beyond the political grave was immediately condemned by fellow Republicans, who will need support from those same voters to have any chance of eventually reclaiming the White House.
Romney's gaffe was made in an all-too-familiar setting, as he addressed wealthy donors on a conference call, apparently unaware that reporters were also listening.
"The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them," Romney said, specifically listing "the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people".
He complained that for young people the "forgiveness of college-loan interest was a big gift", while Hispanics had been wooed with the promise that children of illegal immigrants would not deported, and black voters were won over by "free health care".
The 65 year-old added that "free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women" as he explained why he lost the competition for female voters by 11 points.
Romney's remarks in front of a small audience of millionaires echoed his secretly-filmed claim, at a fund-raising event, that "47%" of the country would automatically back the President as they were dependent on government welfare.
Republicans quickly turned on their former candidate after his latest remarks, with Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, rejecting the comments as "absolutely wrong". "We have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 per cent of the votes, not 53 per cent," said Jindal, a one-time contender to be Romney's running mate.
The governor said that after the election defeat, Republicans must not be seen as the party of the wealthy.
Since the election, Romney, a former private equity executive, and his wife, Ann, have retreated to their home outside Boston.