Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney quickly clarified comments he made regarding Medicaid Friday, saying he had in fact been familiar with the entitlement program in the early 1990s.
At a town hall in Sioux City, Romney told an audience he had once been unclear about the particulars of the program.
"You wonder what Medicaid is, those that are not in all this government stuff," he said. "I have to admit I didn't know all the differences between these things before I got into government. And then I got into it and understood that Medicaid is the health care program for the poor, by and large."
Romney first ran for Senate in 1994.
Later, on a campaign charter to South Carolina, Romney clarified to the press he had been exaggerating. He said even before he ran in 1994 he had worked with health care companies and was familiar with the industry.
"He didn't know the particulars and the ins and outs," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. He knew the difference [between Medicare and Medicaid]."
Medicare is the health care assistance program for the elderly, while Medicaid is designed to help people with low incomes.
The Democratic National Committee sent around Romney's original comments and said the former governor was out of touch.
During his Iowa remarks, Romney told the audience he was concerned about the poor.
"I want to make sure we have safety net," he said, adding: "I'm not terribly concerned about the rich. The rich are doing fine."