Romney quickly moves to clarify misstep
April 30th, 2011
12:22 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney quickly moves to clarify misstep

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."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Why would he clarify a comment that sounds just like the rest of the hateful racebaiting idiots of the GOP? A comment like that would probably get him more votes with the tea-bigots.

    April 30, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Debbie

    All speeches, forum answers are planned and practiced. Either the writers were not thinking or it was planned to spur interest. News good or bad is still news. My question is that why did Romney not question this use of phrase in the planning session? He was either clueless which shows his being out of touch with people or he agreed with it.

    April 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. dandelion

    wow. I hate Mitt and even I can see he didn't mean anything by it. It was an innocent bad choice of words is all

    April 30, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Sgt Schultz

    Memo to Mitt...you are not and never will be Ronald Reagan. Quit digging up the past and pretending in that bird brain of yours that you are the next Ronald Reagan to bring back the glory days of a corrupt and dysfunctional Republican Party.

    April 30, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. lynn

    First the GOP promised jobs if they were elected 2 yrs. ago. Now they make the same empty promises if they're elected to the WH. Nope, won't happen. Why should a company hire more employees and cut into their profits. It's all about making their investors happy and less profits is a hidden pitfall for the GOP. No jobs, more profits. More jobs, less profits.

    April 30, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Brian

    What to say??? "Not intended to be a factual statement" or set another place at the dinner table Sarah and Michelle cuz Mitt has just decided to come for dinner.

    April 30, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. twiddly

    Ok, so he made a freudian slip that displayed his underlying racism, and he caught him self on it right away.
    Not a good thing, but at least he's not foaming at the mouth like uber-racist Trump.

    April 30, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Tony

    Metamorphically speaking, Obama is going to hang the Massachusetts health care plan around Romney's neck. Also, Republicans are really helping families making ends meet by taking health care away from them, gutting government services and giving the rich more tax cuts.

    April 30, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. every1knows

    Why would anyone care what Romney says anyway? Obama 2012!

    April 30, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Richard in Houston

    They used to say people were crackers meaning they were silly or crazy. Well Romney is just crackers.

    April 30, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. judith

    Another Republican making a stupid racially charged remark. Romney is a loser of epic proportions. My God, could this crop of Republican wannabees be any worse?

    April 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Darron R. Brown, M.D.

    The economic downturn that began with the Bush Administration is thankfully coming to an end thanks to President Obama. Mr. Romney is only interested in politics, it seems, not the welfare of America or it's citizens. Forget about his "hanging" phraseology, lets take a look at Mr. Romney, the man, and ask how trustworthy he is.

    April 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    The high gas prices situations is just another Republican strategy...noticed how all the candidates and radio talking heads started using it last Wednesday,after the president made his birth certificate public?......We voters are not stupid, the Republicans need to tell us what they will do to fix the problem instead of telling us what the problem is!

    April 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Richard T.

    Once again, GOP canidates say something that is really nothing but hate, to get crowd appeal from the far right and then claim it is not what they meant. Have they no shame?

    April 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are at it again using their "Code Words" and then attempt to clarify what it means. America has an ugly history that we must never forget but we must be respectful and loving of our brothers and sister as the creater intended. Enough is enough.

    April 30, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Humint

    Just another right wing racist. But then again he's a Mormon and you've never met more of a racist than a Mormon.

    April 30, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. B

    I thought that this would happen, Romney and his pathetic cohorts trying to pin Gas prices on Obama..

    The Republicans and their corporate buddies more than likely in bed together on gas prices that would help the GOP in their efforts to use Anything to derail the President. I think that the American people understand what is being attempted and it is mostly about systemic Racism in this country

    April 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. david

    " Your not sorry Mr.Romney,your Gop? Always remember Gop,'The Economy fell during the Bush years! Our President had the "Bravery" of trying to get us out of Bush-Cheney Wars, run away "White Collar" crime on Wall Street(which is still going on) and "Taking on the second Worst Economic Disaster in our History!! Thank the "Heavens for "A person of great intelligents in the Oval Office!!!!! 2012

    April 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. michael MN

    Sorry , 8 years of GOP policys decimated the working class , the income gap has not been this high since the 20 s when we ironicly went into the great depresion

    April 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Dave

    Poor Mitt... It doesn't matter what you say and it doesn't matter what you think. You're just George W. Bush with a vocabulary. You will never be President and that is a fact. Get over yourself.

    April 30, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Rev Mkell,

    I think he meant what he said! It a comment of common usage! It does not promote physical harm or racial overtones! So why is this news?

    April 30, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    Who cares!!!! Gas prices are HIGH because the Republicans are causing that – With their "stock" in the oil companies and always wanting to give the "subsidies" and TAX BREAKS – Toppled with the fact that they will do anything to make President Obama a "one-term" president – Works well with what is going on now.

    High prices in food – because gas is HIGH!!! High prices in GAS -because of NO REASON, but to make the American people ANGRY because of it. The outcome will put the blame on the president!! Forget about job-creation that was promised throughout all of 2010!!!

    GAS should not be HIGH!! The ONLY reason why is because it's ELECTION season!!! The Republicans do not care about the middle class or the poor!! Their goals are to keep the RICH – RICH- the POOR – POOR – the Elderly Sick – the Lower Class "pregnant" and dying from "preventative" illnesses – And they will go through every means to do so!!! Please America – Realize this and WAKE UP!!!

    April 30, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. centrist democrat

    I am in no way a republican, and not a fan of Romney either, but what he said was NOT intended as a lynching reference. If anyone implies that he meant it that way, or makes a big deal of it, then they are being as disingenuous as the right wing nuts are being about things Obama says and does. If we have to get stuck with a republican as our next president, and God forbid we do, Romney would at least be carrying the torch of sanity in that otherwise insane party. In other words, I could live with him in the White House.

    April 30, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Bill, NY

    I don't think Romney mis-spoke, it actually is what he was thinking. Most people are hiding behind the shield of: you can't criticize the president without being called a racist. When you look at how they are going at him(birther BS) you cannot help but believe that a majority(not all) of these people are TOTALLY RACIST!!! The president is further hampered by the Republicans, Tea Partyers and Conservatives trying to hamstring him every step of the way and then trying to heap more blame on him. The right(they should be called the wrong) are being bankrolled by very wealthy interests that they truly serve and not the average citizen. The goog people of this country need to realize that there is a concensus among those(not all, but most) who control the wealth in this country that the standard of living in this country is too high and that the first way to go is to attack the unions, then attack the worker in private industry and do away with the minimum wage and any and all benefits for the US worker. They feel they should have the right to pay us a buck a day. NO ONE can undo the damage done to this country in the eight years of the Bush Madministration in two or three years. If the average Joe in this country does not wake up to what Mr. Romney and his ilk have in mind for us, we will soon find ourselves crossing the border into Mexico for work.

    April 30, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Nellie Bly

    I'll forgive Romney. We all say things that we instantly realize aren't phrased correctly as soon as we hear our own words.

    April 30, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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