Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'
March 8th, 2012
08:44 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'

Pascagoula, Mississippi (CNN) – Mitt Romney swept into Mississippi Thursday to make his case in a state where he doesn't expect to win.

The former Massachusetts governor, who has struggled to woo voters in the South and faces a string of upcoming contests below the Mason-Dixon line, appealed to a group of about 120 Mississippians by feeling their pain.

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Romney rattled off three stories of people he had met at campaign events - a father worried about health care costs for his special needs child, another man who wondered how he would pay for his daughter's education and a soldier back from Afghanistan who struggled to find work.

"A lot of people hurting right now," he summed it up, and blamed President Obama for not following through on his campaign promises of economic turnaround from 2008.

"Since this president has been president, the cost of gas has doubled," Romney said. "Not exactly what he might have hoped for, and he says 'well it's not my fault.' By the way, we've gone from 'yes we can' to 'it's not my fault.'"

The re-jiggered lines in Romney's speech come a day after a campaign aide acknowledged the candidate was "working to establish a stronger connection with lower-income voters, with voters who are struggling."

In Ohio's primary, which Romney narrowly won, exit polls showed him trailing rival Rick Santorum among voters who made less than $50,000 a year.

The swath of Southern states that will vote in the upcoming days – Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama – have been hard hit by the economy. In Mississippi, where Romney makes another appearance Friday, the unemployment rate is over 10%.

Faced with an uphill climb in the South, Romney asserted in an interview with radio station WAPI that he hoped to walk away with some delegates in states such as Alabama, where he is not favored to win.

"That's of course what this is all about, getting the delegates necessary to become the nominee," he said, echoing his campaign's relentless focus on a numbers game they say Romney's opponents have no chance of winning.

In Mississippi, Romney did try out some Southern charm, telling his audience he was "an unofficial Southerner."

"I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and things," he joked. "Strange things are happening to me."

But the ultimate compliment came from Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who endorsed Romney in Pascagoula.

"He just has a warm, comfortable way about him," Bryant told reporters. "I like to see a man when he's holding a baby. And he looks like he's held a baby before."

Also see:

Obama and Romney ahead in ad fight

First on CNN: Santorum super PAC hits Alabama and Mississippi airwaves

Obama releases movie trailer a week before campaign film's debut

Cindy McCain defends Palin over HBO film


Filed under: 2012 • Mississippi • Mitt Romney
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. mark99er

    Whoops. Should be SPECIFICALLY! MY bad

    March 9, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    There he goes again sticking his silver foot in his mouth.

    March 9, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  3. Jilli

    Romney is so blatantly phony and cynical that he makes me mouth-vomit.

    March 9, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I think it is becoming embarassingly obvious that Mitt Romeny has spent his entire life living in a bubble. Every time he steps out into public he is at an "away game", completely out of his comfort zone. He always has an nervous, almost agitated undercurrent of near panic in his demeanor when he is on the stump. You know what I mean?

    March 9, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  5. Wendy

    Willard has 16 grandchildren and goofy govenor of mississippi gushes that willard knows how to hold a baby just right. lol and the gop still can t figure out why their voter turnout is low?

    March 9, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. Independent Voters

    Romney will lose against president Obama...Romney is out of touch with american people.

    March 9, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  7. TJeff1776

    Jilli....YOU are in good company with Santorum. He runs around vomiting at people's remarks ALSO.

    March 9, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  8. Wake up people

    I'm not talking about all Southerners either. All racists aren't in the south. Michigan is full of them.

    March 9, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  9. Sorensen

    Romney continues to behave like a total idiot. Maybe because he is one!

    March 9, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  10. GI Joe.

    To quote Flo "he can kiss my grits".

    He'll get the vote of southernors who make $200,000+. Because they will benefit most from his tax cuts that finally put a end to social security and medicare.

    March 9, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Romney is our only hope.

    March 9, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Solid

    Rudy NYC said,
    "He always has an nervous, almost agitated undercurrent of near panic in his demeanor when he is on the stump. You know what I mean?"

    This is seriously the most accurate description I've seen anyone say about his demeanor. Well played, good sir.

    March 9, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. Joe Schmo

    Romney is our only hope.

    March 9, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    "I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and things," he joked. "Strange things are happening to me."
    -----------

    this is the worst. He doesn't have a clue and it's so painfully obvious. I hope Newt takes this idiotic line and runs w/ it because Mittens has once again provided plenty of ammo to his opponents with his verbal gaffes. "57 states" rebuttals from any of you $2.50 a gallon Newter gas price sheep?

    March 9, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  15. Wendy

    Willard the people in mississippi like things too. they would like the minimum wage to go up. you did say that you feel their pain didn t you? doesn t mississippi have a state song? we are sure you will bring down the house when you croack out the yellow rose of texas in tx. keep practicing that drawal

    March 9, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  16. spenteco

    Mittens likes the South so much he is having Bain look into buying it. After the deal is closed he can sell off all the ya'll sayers, the poor, and minorities that he doesn't need to keep up his landscaping and household chores. Then he can have all the GRITS he can ever want to not eat. Enjoy.

    March 9, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  17. JKR79

    Telling people you like grits and say y'all will not appease Southerners Romney. You aren't an "unofficial Southerner". How could you be? Have you spent more than a few days down here? Romney isn't comfortable anywhere, including Mass and Michigan and were not as stupid down here as you might believe, Mitt. The only trouble is the other three may be mroe sincere, but they're twice as scary.

    March 9, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  18. JKR79

    Telling people you like grits and say y'all will not appease Southerners Romney. You aren't an "unofficial Southerner". How could you be? Have you spent more than a few days down here? Romney isn't comfortable anywhere, including Mass and Michigan....and were not as stupid down here as you might believe, Mitt. The only trouble is the other three may be more sincere, but they're twice as scary.

    March 9, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. Tex71

    "I like grits..?"
    ?!?!?!
    !!!!!!
    "I used to wonder how to pay for my kids' education, too," Romney said with a grin. "My team of accountants couldn't agree whether it would give me a better tax break to take it out of their trust fund, or pay for it out of pre-tax residual income from dividends!" The crowd fell silent. "Aw, come on!" grinned Mitt. "You know...dividends!" More silence.

    March 9, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and things," he joked.
    ---------------
    Governer, those things in your grits are called shrimp.

    March 9, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "He just has a warm, comfortable way about him," Bryant told reporters. "I like to see a man when he's holding a baby. And he looks like he's held a baby before."

    Wow. Just wow. (And he likes grits, too!) I'm reminded of all the amazement I felt living in the south while my husband was an Army man 30 years ago. Guess some things just never change....

    March 9, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. thomas

    I like grits , I like Trees , I have five sons who avoided military service during Americas longest wars.

    Romney is our only hope ?

    March 9, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    I live to vote against Mr magic underwear man. Nov, cannot come soon enough.

    March 9, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  24. Publius Novus

    "Romney rattled off three stories of people he had met at campaign events – a father worried about health care costs for his special needs child, another man who wondered how he would pay for his daughter's education and a soldier back from Afghanistan who struggled to find work."

    Romney's plans: 1) "Fix" special needs healthcare by repealilng the ACA. 2) Help pay for higher education by cutting student loans. 3) Fix unemployment of veterans by giving them a new war to fight in Iran.

    Yep, Romney feels your pain all right.

    March 9, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. GonzoinHouston

    Hmm, a man concerned about health care for his child; a man concerned about college for his child, and a soldier back from the wars seeking work. All three of these are people who have benefited from Obama's policies, and the Republicans want to cut or repeal all these policies. And Mitt uses these stories for HIS stump speech? We're through the looking glass!

    March 9, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
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