Romney on ‘poor’ comment: I misspoke
February 3rd, 2012
02:51 AM ET
3 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. NorCalMojo

    Backtracking was a very bad move for Romney. He should have stood firm on his comments.

    He looks like a McCainesque groveler now.

    February 3, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Mike in NYC

    Nice try snappa ....as they say a good statistician can make ANYTHING look good. Its nice to say that Obama only raise the 'deficit' by 16% (which Is arguable) while Bush raised it 155% (also arguable), however, that is a budgetary issue. The deficit being the difference between the money you take in and the money you spend. HOWEVER the National Debt is something completely different that the deficit.

    The when President George W. Bush took office, our national debt was $5.768 trillion. By the time Bush left office, it had nearly doubled, to $10.626 trillion. So Bush’s record on deficit spending was not good at all: During his presidency, the national debt rose by an average of $607 billion a year.

    When President Obama took office two years ago, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. It now stands at $14.071 trillion. Now on the surface it may LOOK better (the debt ONLY went up $3.5 trillion – compared to Bush's $5 trillion). HOWEVER when you consider that Bush ran up the debt over 8 years and Obama ran HIS debt up in 3 1/2 yrs its a different story. During Obama’s presidency to date, the national debt has risen by an average of $1.7 trillion a year — or by a jaw-dropping $1.1 trillion more, per year, than it rose even under Bush.

    So puh-lease stop being an Obama apologist and use your brain for something other then left wing talking points.

    February 3, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. marcia

    Most of the people on this page probably secretly don't care about the poor either. But, that is a common trait of liberals...stupidity, ignorance, and the need to follow any body who says he's a liberal.Would you all jump off a cliff if Obama told you to? I bet you would!

    February 3, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Data Driven

    Hey "CNN Political Unit": how did Romney's opponents take his remark "out of context"? I would urge the presumably "straight reporting" unit to leave their value judgments out of the text. If I want punditry, I'll go read it.

    Romney's words were black and white, clear as crystal. He feels that very poor are "taken care of" with a social safety net that may or may not need "fixing". We'll see if Americans want a president that "isn't very concerned about the very poor" this November. I expect they won't.

    February 3, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'm a Democrat and support Obama and will vote Obama, but really people, I personally don't believe Romney, being a Mormon, meant what he said. Mormons are people who travel the World to help the poor, even their children. I'm not taking up for Romney but I believe in being fair and I too am poor.

    February 3, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. ohioind

    This is what is so corrosive to our political system; I heard the comments and I am not a Romney supporter but what he said I understood. You should clearly see what he was trying to say. He was not worried about the poor because there is a safety net in place. He was worried about the middle class where there is no help. It was obviously a pandering statement to the middle class. But I realy don’t believe that he felt that the poor should be forgotten.
    Then political opponents will twist what was said to bash him. And it works.. Why – because the people it works on are the ones who only read the headlines and don’t investigate for themselves.
    Politicians throw up so much smoke that the truth is muddied.

    February 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. DavidE7

    How can the term misspoke be used when every spoken idea is the result of consultants input? The sentence would have been the result of the consultants' decision that Romney should emphasize the needs of the middle class to undercut Obama's current theme. Never mind that Romney didn't know the middle class is not 95 percent of the population, his heart was in the right place in trying to please...the consultants!

    February 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Steve in St. Louis

    He just shows that the Republicans also have a Joe Biden.

    February 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. bypass 103

    Ok .. he said it in the interview, then the repeated it, then he said it on the bus and got angry at the reporter who asked him about it. This is a man who gave his kids One Hundred Million Dollars each. Please check his taxes and you will see it, and never paid 1cent in taxes for it. No he doesn't care about the poor. The said what he meant.

    February 3, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Triple A

    Holy cow!! A politician that can admit a mistake!! That is worth 2 in the bush. Usually we have to listen to stupider and stupider excuses. Takes a back bone to stand in front of the media and say, ya, I was wrong.

    February 3, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. John

    Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

    February 3, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. DavidE7

    I don't think Romney dislikes the poor. He just never thinks about them.

    February 3, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Jason

    There's a difference between "not being focused" on the very poor, and "not caring" about the very poor. If you're too stupid to tell the difference, you don't deserve to be President. Freudian slip much, Mitt?

    February 3, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Jack

    When a person, steps up and admits a mistake and take responsibility for what he or she said or has done, they have gained my respect Mr. Romney. President Obama, President Reagan, President Kennedy did it.

    These people I gain respect even if I disagree with their views. Nwet and the rest are nothing short of cheap slick salesman. Are you listening Rush, Sean, Donald, Pat and the rest of your cronnies

    February 3, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. DavidE7

    Some commenters on this thread are not making the distinction between the literal or concrete meaning of a sentence and the abstract or figurative meaning of it. No one is suggesting that Romney would ever deliberately SAY that he is not concerned about the poor. But they are reading into his awkward phrasing the underlying idea that he has no sensitivity to or compassion for the poor. And I think they have a valid point.

    February 3, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. joyce

    Mitt mispoke about the poor,the poor wil also have their turn to miss-vote for you!! And vote for obama lol.

    February 3, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. bcm

    He admits it was a mistake so say this. He doesn't admit that he meant it. He cares about the poor about as much as something he wipes off of his very expensive shoe!

    February 3, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. Brett, AZ

    Amazed2, that is one of the most ignorant comments I have ever read. Not only is the Book of Mormon full of statements such as, "Wherefore...if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth", but Mitt has given MILLIONS to charity each year. I don't care how much money you make, giving away millions of dollars is still a lot. So please, you can disagree with policies if you want. but don't be such a bigot as to attack someone on a religion you obviously know nothing about and ignorant enough to attack a person who gives so much for a lack of charity.

    February 3, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. funkymonkey

    And if Romney takes office, it will be the poor and the middle class that are most hurt by his administration. Heck, he'll probably even take down much of the upper class as well. Only the ultra wealthy will truly benefit with him in office.

    February 3, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Jerry

    Hey, unlike the illegal/clueles resident of the White House, Mr. Romney has the "audacity" to admit when he has made a "minor" mistake. Of course, from now on, Mr. Obama and his spiked Kool Aid drinking minions are going to make a huge deal of every single word he speaks. If most of the posters on this blogs really want to help the economy and the country; get of your fat Michelle Obama butts and go get a job.

    Don't be sitting at your computer all day trying to defend the indefensible (Mr. Obama's policies).

    February 3, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Joe Smith

    He misspoke. He meant to say "let them eat cake."

    February 3, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Tex71

    Hey sanjosemike: What do you suggest we do with those children? Will it make our country a better place if we starve them and shove them into ghettos for their parents' mistakes? Would that make you feel better? Funny how people like you are so offended that society pays a price for a few lazy poor people (most poor people work their butts off) yet you never even blink at the price we all pay for lazy rich people (some of whom actually make things, although most of them just make a lot of money because they have lots of money).

    February 3, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. bandgeek1

    The $crewing of the middle class started under Reagan. Just to be clear.

    Romney only sorry that his Freudian slip was caught on camera.

    February 3, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Martin

    Either this article fails to explain or Romney did, but if he misspoke then what did he mean exactly? In the interview he clearly said that he wasn't concerned for the poor, and "IF" there were holes like he doesn't know. To me, its like he's intentionally playing a 2d cartoon character that really only cares about the more fortunate classes. Raise the taxes on the rich?! 'Class Warfare and/or Socialism!!!' Help out the poor? 'Their okay they have safety net, but really should pay more taxes those slackers!!'

    February 3, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Name dwayne mapp

    sometimes no matter how much u try 2 hide it the mouth will expose the heart!

    February 3, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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