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. FLIndependent

    Okay, all you Romney supporters that say because you think he's been a successful businessman that he would a great president – why do you want someone that may have business skills, but certainly does NOT have diplomatic skills to be our president and the Leader of the Free World? The President has to be well rounded and be able to deal with many issues, not just our economy. President Obama does this quite well and I just don't see where Romney would do this country justice in the global environment.

    March 9, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Grits. They're soft, gooey, malleable, don't stand up straight, don't hold any real positions on any given political/policy issue and if you bother to talk to them, you're wasting your time. What a perfect analogy for Mittens.

    March 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Me

    Romney also spoke to a man who makes $235,000 a year, emphasizing to the voter that he sympathizes with his kind, the poor.

    FYI, Mittens, I love New England clam chowder but that doesn't make me a New Englander.

    March 9, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. lynn

    i like trees in my grits

    March 9, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Stan asked:

    But what does he eats his grits with. That will tell you if he's genuine or not.
    -----------–
    He's already told you, "things". I've already tried to tell him that those "things" in his grits are shrimp.

    March 9, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Nellie Bly

    I don't trust a politician whose jeans always look brand new.

    March 9, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Foreverwar

    Romney with staff prior to visit: Romney -"What is a grit?"

    March 9, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Whatever

    The grits in Mississippi are exactly the right height!

    (campaign staffer whispers to him) Those were the trees sir, in Michigan, remember, your 3rd home state, or was that your first, I can't keep it straight. Anyway, grits are food, you eat them.

    (Romney hitches up the fake smile, and addresses the crowd) Which is, of course, to say the CUPS that you serve the grits in are exactly the right height here!

    (staffer smacks himself on the forehead) BOWLS? The bowls I mean!

    March 9, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Mitt's a twit but he likes grits.

    March 9, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. sensible

    @spenteco
    You forgot to say Mitt would have all Mississippians declared 'illegal immigrants' and ship them to Mexico!

    March 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Independent in NC

    Romney has foot and mouth disease. He just insulted some people that talk different and eat different than he does. I like bagels and philly cheesesteak and nothing strange has happened to me. Leave grits alone, what next livermush.

    March 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Wake up people

    Well I live in Michigan but I don't like cherries.... Does that mean I am not a Michiganian?? This guy changes like the average person changes underwear.

    March 9, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Mitt

    I would say anything to please anybody. After all, I am a politician AND I have record for flip flopping. I just Go with the Wind!

    March 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Obama Cares

    He never ate tgrits before now,bet'cha. Eating grits is beneath his privilige. He's trying to be all things to all people and failing miserably at being himself.

    March 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    FLIndependent – Okay, all you Romney supporters that say because you think he's been a successful businessman that he would a great president – why do you want someone that may have business skills, but certainly does NOT have diplomatic skills to be our president and the Leader of the Free World?
    =============================================================================================
    Obama had ZERO skills and experience yet you had no problem with that. What's the issue all of sudden?

    Romney couldn't do any worse than Obama has done. I have come to understand why he always wants to lead from behind. It is much easier for him to push our allies under the bus from that position.

    March 9, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    @James Wilson – The federal government did pick up the tab on security at the Salt Lake Winter Games. They picked it up directly in the form of Department of Homeland Security. Those federal dollars to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee were not solely for the purpose of security. They still had a fund raising shortfall to make up.

    Besides, do you actually think the Bush administration would have trusted the security of the Olympic Games to a bunch of folks who had no access to national intellligence? Or even would have brought those people into the national intelligence loop? If they did, then Bush administration was much dumber than I ever thought.

    March 9, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. sensible

    Rmoney is the 1.........%!

    March 9, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. diridi

    I like Flip-Flop. I like CA gals....heee...

    March 9, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. WIMPY38

    Now if I saw Mitt "noodling" for a Miss. Catfish, then I'd be convinced he was a Southerner.

    March 9, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Gary

    This guy is such an idiot. He doesn't have a clue what grits are much less what they taste like. I just find it incredible that anyone listens to anything that comes out of this morons mouth.

    March 9, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. anagram_kid

    "He just has a warm, comfortable way about him," Bryant told reporters.

    Do 'warm' and 'comfortable' have different meanings in Mississippi than the rest of the world?

    Obama 2012 – Because he can hold a baby AND lead the free world

    March 9, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. ST

    I like gritis, I like trees! What has that to do with election??? Sorry, this man Romney has no clue at all how to sell his ideas. Or may be has nothing to sell.

    March 9, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. sensible

    Meriam.....wait until it's your job he comes looking for!

    March 9, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Calvin

    Romney is the 1% of the 1%

    March 9, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Hmmm. First he likes some trees, and then he likes some grits. Hmmm. Me, TOO, dude.

    March 9, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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