Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'
March 8th, 2012
08:44 PM ET
2 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. Tony in Maine

    Well – that would do it for me were I a REpublican. I'll bet he likes boiled okra too. And maybe fried pork rinds.

    Thank God I'm not a Republican.

    March 9, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  2. American

    The inauthentic politician, Romney, now adores grits, the little lakes, and trees at just the right height...lol
    Pandering nonsense for votes.

    March 9, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. frag

    Dear Mitt, if you want to win the South you will have to claim to be a born again conservative Christian. At least 50 percent of them will believe you, which is way better than the 5 percent you convinced with the "grits" thing.

    March 9, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. DJ in Texas

    As a native Mississippian, I'm slightly offended at Mitt's comments – " I'm learning to say ya'll and I like grits". If that's not stereotyping Southerners..................I'm from Mississippi and now in Texas. I don't say "ya'll". So, is it only Southern people who like grits. This guy is the biggest panderer I've ever seen. Why didn't he tell the people in Ohio, he likes grits? I'm sure they like grits as well. He comes off as wanting the presidency so bad (he's been running for several years now), that he'll say anything to get it. BTW – Under the GOP policies, the guy concerned about his health care would be in more trouble. Obama has come out with a plan FOR veteran returning home looking for work. Mitt needs to check his facts.

    March 9, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Dave

    Romney is by far the best candidate. He is intelligent and has a record of success in business, with the Olympics and as Governor. He does not have the soiled background like Gringrich, and he doesn't pretend to be a conservative like Santorum (who loves earmarks and works with unions and Michael Moore to get democrats to vote for him). Romney has also raised more money than other candidates (which will be important to run against Obama). Also, Romney polls better against the president than the others. Finally, Romney has more votes, states and delegates than the others. The choice is obvious for those who want to see the facts.

    March 9, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. paul

    As usual, a lot of vitrol from Internet posters. Seems like he was just enjoying himself and joking with a Southern audience. He is not claiming he is going to go home and have grits every morning, "American."

    March 9, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. Tony

    Romney is a Republican who does not expect to win in a Southern state. How can a Republican win in a general election without the South?

    March 9, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Chedar

    Romney said to Missisippi: "I like your grits". Sounds like a "Big" time politician.

    March 9, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Meriam

    Romney is the right person to get our economy turning around. His experience in balancing the budget, him a self made multi millionaire is itself an attestation to us Americans that he will turn this country back to it's greatness.

    March 9, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Chedar

    Romney come kiss my "GRITS"!

    March 9, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm going out on a limb here by stating that Mitt Romney is an embarrassment to all hard working Republicans throughout America. The fact that he keeps saying these foolish things is a testament to just how out of touch in he truly is. By continuing with these "anecdotes" of his, he apparently thinks folks are actually buying his BS. Says a great deal about how he really feels about the "common" folk. None of it good for the soul - or America.

    March 9, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    "Romney is by far the best candidate. He is intelligent and has a record of success in business, with the Olympics and as Governor."

    Typical nonsense the LSD groupies come here and spout on and on. Being a successful vampire capitalist by shafting workers and leeching off the taxpayers is NOT the kind of "success" America wants or needs in a presidential candidate. Nor do we need another tax cuts for the wealthy plan that makes our deficit worse, unlike President Obama's plan. Ask your boy Rmoney why he doesn't support the three quarters of Americans who want a millionaire tax. Oh, that's right, Rmoney is a millionaire and he cares only for his psychopathic 1% friends.

    March 9, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. SK

    I grow up in the South. Come on people wake up! Let us not be offended by little things that don't matter. We need a leader to lead us out of these mess that President Obama got us in to. I studied and scrutinized all the candidates and it is Mitt Romney who can get us back on our feet. Mr Santurom wants to be president but can't even file a simple form. We don't want another Obama in the white house. We have been lied to by President Obama.

    March 9, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. 2buttercups

    Oh brother! I don't think so, Mitt. Better luck in 2016.
    :)))))))))

    March 9, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. American

    It seems I was just enjoying the fun and joking, too, as a born-and-raised Southerner myself. I never claimed Mitt was going home to have grits every morning, "paul."

    But I can tell when a politician, such as Romney, is being ridiculous here just for votes. Sorry, not buying it.

    March 9, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Laverne

    @ Meriam: Because someone is a self made millionaire from making money off other people does not necessarily translate to being a money making machine as president. It is quite different on all ends and decisions that he was able to make on his own in the private sector won't work as president because there is this thing called "congress" that can stop and hold up a lot of stuff as President Obama found that out the hard way. The POTUS has offered some great ideas for them to only be stopped or killed in the house or senate. Another thing, he can't just "fire" people that don't do busines his way.........if he were lucky enough to win reality will set in quicker than a New York minute!

    March 9, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "Romney is the right person to get our economy turning around. His experience in balancing the budget, him a self made multi millionaire is itself an attestation to us Americans that he will turn this country back to it's greatness."
    ---------------
    "Captain, I've intercepted a Romneylan transmission, sir. It sounds like they're preparing for war."
    "Uhura, contact Starfleet. Tell them the Romneylans have crossed into the neutral zone, and that we are engaging."

    March 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    As much as Romney wants to appear as one of the "good old boys", his efforts look forced. He will always be a one percent Wall Street fat cat with $250 million dollars.

    March 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Romney is not a self-made millionaire, there is no Horatio Alger story here. Its the story of a SON of a self-made millionaire who clearly cannot identify with the people who's votes he is courting, and who makes Joe Biden look like a model of self-discipline.

    March 9, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. MK

    Fellow Americans, wake up! President Obama raised taxes on businesses and Corporations that drove most businesses overseas and profits of those businesses were invested overseas as well. Thus, it did bad for our economy and unemployment. These peddly little things you childish people are talking about are nothing! I don't care what Romney likes wether gritts, potatoes etc. I just want him to get in the white house and fix our economy and bring us jobs!

    March 9, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. sensible

    .......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.
    .....and the republicans want to repeal "Robama care", cut education, and cut unemployment benefits......how does that fit in?

    March 9, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. texan

    If he`s in Mississippi, he`ll LOVE grits !!!!! Why, one of his favorites will be possum`n taters..........................Yummmmmmmy !!!!

    March 9, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. texan

    SK, do remember Geo. W Bush !?!?!?!? economy cratered and we "had" to bail out Wall Street ( the biggest contributor to the collapse) ?????

    March 9, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Meriam

    Laverne, as a business owner, I will do the same firing as Mr Romney did to those people who are not profitable, people who are causing more money wasting/more liabilities. Romney,a very successful person in the private sector, he helped a lot of companies get back on their feet and saved them from losing their businesses. He also helped to save the Olympics when they were losing money and were at the verge of total disaster. Romney, a very experienced, intelligent successful attorney is the only highly qualified candidate to get America back on it's feet. I believe that his experience in balancing the budget, that makes him a very very successful person that he is, will make him a good president!

    March 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. sensible

    Since when is a being a businessman the primary qualification to be president? Can you name a businessman who has EVER been president?
    (not even a vulture-capitalist has made it to president) Know why? The primary job of Government is to PROTECT us from the excesses of business, from pollution to dangerous products to over-pricing. The 'founding fathers' knew this! If a 'vulture-capitalist' is elected, it is like the fox(not news) guarding the hen-house!!

    March 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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