Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney quickly moved to clarify a misstep as he metaphorically discussed hanging bad economic news around the neck of President Obama Friday night. His spokesman called stories about the gaffe "a ridiculous exaggeration of his actual comments."
It happened as Romney was speaking at a forum on job creation and spending last night in Manchester, New Hampshire, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.
Using a commonly-said phrase as he was discussing the economy, Romney told the crowd, "You remember during that during the Ronald Reagan/Jimmy Carter debates, that Ronald Reagan came up with this great thing about the 'misery index' and he hung that around Jimmy Carter's neck and that had a lot to do with Jimmy Carter losing. Well, we're going to have to hang the 'Obama Misery Index' around his neck. And I'll tell you, the fact that you've got people in this country really squeezed, with gasoline getting so expensive, with commodities getting so expensive, families are having a hard making ends meet. So we're going to have to talk about that, and housing foreclosures and bankruptcies and higher taxation."
But Romney then said, "We're going to hang him with that, uh, so to speak – metaphorically. You have to be careful these days. I learned that."
Romney did realize the wording immediately, stopping to clarify his comment. He had a slight smile and there was some laughter in the room that seemed to be playing off his reaction, not the original comment.
A Romney spokesman, Andrea Saul, said in an e-mail to CNN of any question over the comment, "It is not what the governor meant and that was very clear in what he actually said. It's a ridiculous exaggeration of his actual comments."
I think you'll lose badly Mr. Romney. All I hear from "presidential candidates" is a criticism and general talking point BS. You keep whining about jobs, maybe you should pull your head out and see that under Obama the monthly jobs report is turning solidly higher.
Please just shut up or give some concrete steps that clearly differentiate you from what Obama has done.
And it is so ironic you say the "misery index" as if Republicans care for the middle to poor class of this country. Shut up you "I want to be President so bad. I wish. I wish. I wish.", typical Republican trash.
The delusional Right slipping their pet subject of higher taxes on the Rich in with the price of gas, foreclosures and other economic pressures the middle and lower classes are dealing with. Nice try, Mitt.
Romney do not have a race problem he have a Obamacare problem.
How could Romney not be aware of the racial and historical context of 'Hangings' '? stupid! just another case of GOP foot and mouth disease.
He wants to pin all the economics problems with this country on the President. Politics as usual. If he knew how to fix the economics problems why doesn't he tell the republican party how to fix it. Oh, wait ! he wants to be elected FIRST.
Romney is a joke how can you put the economic mess on Obama when the jackass before him put us here. People this is a guy who put healthcare reform in place in his state similar to the new federal healthcare reform, but now is backing away. The republicans want all to suffer unless you can poke up enough money to lobby some great corporate empire.
Well, he's in the public eye and whatever he says will be scrutinized...and taken as however one will define it. So, watch what you say and think before you speak.
Again, the Republican campaign is all about smearing Obama without articulating a clear replacement policy.
So far, they are changing "Repeal and replace" for ACA, but where are the hearings and proposals for the replacement?
They have proposed revisions for Medicare that will effectively repeal the program in 25 to 50 years due to chronic under-funding.
Their jobs program is little more than tax breaks for the rich and big business.
Before I'll vote for you or any other Republican, I need to know what you propose to do - not just vague slogans.