Romney on ‘poor’ comment: I misspoke
February 3rd, 2012
02:51 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney on ‘poor’ comment: I misspoke

(CNN) – One day after Mitt Romney took heat for a comment he made about the poor, the Republican presidential candidate characterized his remark as a “misstatement.”

“I misspoke,” Romney said Thursday in an interview aired on KSNV, a CNN affiliate in Las Vegas. “When you do I don’t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong, and I misspoke.”

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Romney made the original comment in an interview with CNN on Wednesday morning, in which he said he was not "concerned about the very poor" because there is a safety net in place for them—but added, "if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that."

Opponents of the former Massachusetts governor quickly pounced on his remarks and took them out of context in attacks against the candidate. Republican presidential rival Newt Gingrich especially criticized Romney over the comment.

Romney spent Wednesday afternoon clarifying his statements, saying his prime focus was to help the middle class, a group he sees as “most hurt” by the Obama administration. He argued the poor and the wealthy have not been as harshly affected because systems are in place to protect them.

But Thursday was the first time the candidate acknowledged that he had misspoke, a rare moment for a candidate known for his discipline on the campaign trail.

Romney, who won Florida's primary earlier in the week, will compete in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.


Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (639 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I think Gov. Romney's remark about the poor has far outshadowed his remark about the rich "doing just fine." Because if the rich are "doing just fine," then why does he keep saying that a tax increase on the top wage earners would hurt the job creators.

    If Romney earns his money mostly through *capital gains*, why is he so opposed to letting the Bush Tax Cuts that set the rate on *earned income*, not capital gains? And, why does he say that raising that earned income rate would hurt the job creators? Earned income is not investment income.

    February 3, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Mike

    "I misspoke" does not give you a pass Mitt. Normally the first thing out of a persons mouth is what they truly believe, and I believe you truly feel that the very poor are taken care of and don't need any help.
    Liar!

    February 3, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. w l jones

    I misspoke while talking to head of state now we at war for my mistake. Said enough.

    February 3, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Just call me Al

    We must have a lot of poor people writing entries.

    February 3, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. ja

    the subconscious reveals our truths, enough said

    February 3, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. Jay

    I believe he meant to say that he made them poor by stealing their jobs in the name of greed, and he's not concerned about them.

    February 3, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Laurie

    He is not worried about the very poor because they are not going to vote for him anyway. He is not worried about the very rich as they will vote for him. He is pandering and a pro at it.

    February 3, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. KatR

    While it's refreshing that a GOP presidential candidate admits he misspoke it's obvious that he doesn't understand the facts. There is no middle class anymore Romney! There are only the poor and the rich nowadays. You're fighting for an economic class of Americans that doesn't exist!

    February 3, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Robert

    Betcha $10K he was thinking about himself in the Oval Office when he said it...

    February 3, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. GoNewt

    By the way, he did not elaborate on which part he misspoke. He was getting hammered by the left for 'not caring for very poor" and he was hammered by the right for liking that America has a safetly net at all as they'd prefer to end food stamps and let poor die. So Romney is trying to cater to both the right and the left and the middle by not saying what exactly he misspoke. Very political and Washington-like. Whis guy is not an outsider that can fix anything, he's a guy whom Trump and the likes need to protect them from taxes.

    February 3, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. lyn

    Romney you are dishornest, you mean what you said, Stop saying you missspoked you knew exactly what you think and care about the poor . We the poor people are not stupid RICH MAN . " OBAMA 2012"

    February 3, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. Anon-i-mouse

    Even though I have no use for Romney, I can give him a 'pass' on this. The intent of what he meant was clear even if the wording choise was poor. There are lots of other reasons to not like him, but I think this is just unnecessary drama. Let's stick to the issues, please!

    February 3, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. Expat American

    This really isn’t a problem. No need to make such a big fuss over this.
    Because every single Republican voter who supports Romney is already a millionaire; or a mutli-millionaire.
    There isn’t a single poor, or ‘very poor’ Republican voter out there. As displayed so clearly in the Global Media’s coverage of the McCain/Palin hate rallies of yesteryear.
    I’m thinking these same educated, world travelled, wealthy Republicans will be out again, burning their crosses and grillin’ their hot dogs.
    Every single recipient of government assistance is, of course, a Democrat.
    Correct?

    February 3, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. NVa Native

    Mitt spoke as he believes – as most GOP does – that the poor are poor by choice.
    They say it in so many ways – "It is the poor's fault that they are poor because they are comfortable being poor".
    Just like their claiming falsely that slaves were given food & shelter and therefore had a "good" life.
    It’s a very corrupt perspective that is an insult to every hard working American.

    February 3, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. mattusa

    It doesnt really matter. they will pick mitt anyways. and their are enough ignorant people who will vote for him just to get a black man out of office. same old usa as always.

    February 3, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Olivia

    My husband, children and I are barely surviving. We work and we're still struggling because we don't qualify for such 'safety nets'. Mitt is not concerned about poor tax paying citizens because he's not one. I am so glad I'm a registered voter! Minus one for Mitt.

    February 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Coracii

    He didn't mis-speak, he got caught telling the truth about his feelings towards the less fortunate in the country. He doesn't care about the poor, he doesn't care about the middle class. He's worried about his fellow multi-millionaires and that's it.

    February 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Eiolgj

    We all know that the comment was taken out of context, but the whole context was troubling. He said that if there is a problem with the safety net, he would "fix it." But he favors some of the plans that would gut the safety net. Besides, we don't know if he has ever met any poor people, at least to the extent that would give him time to understand the problems of poverty, so how could he possible even think of the solutions? He claims that he didn't inherit his money. Maybe technically not, but he grew up with privilege and apparently doesn't have a clue as to the advantages that has given him in our society. I'm not against wealth, just against arrogance of wealth.

    February 3, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. justin

    How dare anyone be taken out of context. 'My grandmother was a 'typical white woman' and people in PA clutch their 'guns and religion' and ...on and on we go and find, oh my gosh....everyone does it. Who cares what they SAY as they DO things quite differently. So, let's just HOPE we get it right THIS time in listening to these people. Odd how it seems the honest ones somehow elude the voters vote time and time again. But...maybe this time will be different. LOL

    February 3, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Frank Garrett

    I understood what he meant. We do have quite a safty net for the poor, its the middle class that is now on the verge of extinction in this country that needs the help. The poor will keep complaining no matter what you give them, they see Romney's mishap as a free ticket now.

    February 3, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    You have a bad habit of misspeaking Willard. You're so out of touch with working class citizens that you don't know how incidiary your remarks are until you get criticized for them. "I'm running for office for Pete's sake."

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND

    February 3, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. Kevin

    He also misspoke when he said "I don't care about the super rich" Every policy he wants to make will benefit the super rich. The only "people" he cares about are corporations.

    February 3, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. JohnReedjr

    He spoke the way he sees the world. The rich in their place, the poor in their place and the middle under control, and he aims to keep it that way.

    February 3, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. TheTraveler

    So, so typical of not only of Romney, but all these jerks. They say EXACTLY what they mean the first time then they retract it. It doesn't get more two faced than that in my book.

    "Say what you mean, and mean what you say."

    February 3, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    You didn't "misspeak" Robot, you accidentally gave us an inside look into your elitist, soulless, uncaring, psychopathic mind. One or two random slip-ups can be excused. You, however, continue to make the same sorts of elitist, out of touch comments, like "corporations are people too, my friend!" and your endorsement of the Ryan plan, which would shred the same safety net you currently claim exists to help the very poor so you don't need to care about them. Yeah right.

    February 3, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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