Schumer calls Romney comments 'candor,' 'gaffe'
April 16th, 2012
03:23 PM ET
2 years ago

Schumer calls Romney comments 'candor,' 'gaffe'

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's suggestion at a Sunday closed-door fundraiser of eliminating one federal department and scaling back a second was a "hot mic moment," Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said Monday.

Romney's campaign characterized the candidate's comments - overheard by reporters on a sidewalk as he spoke in a Palm Beach, Florida back yard - as ideas, rather than policy proposals.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go," he said, according to a report by NBC News. The Department of Housing and Urban Development "might not be around later, and the Department of Education would be "a heck of a lot smaller," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Schumer sought to capitalize politically on the overheard remarks during a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee. He told reporters the candidate was embarrassingly honest in his comments, which go beyond the plan he outlines on the stump.

"Now it's safe to predict that this was a hot mic moment that will linger for Governor Romney," he said. "Everyone knows that Mitt Romney has had his share of gaffes in this campaign. But in this case, it was not misspeaking. This was a raw moment of candor where he gave his unvarnished views."

A spokesman for the President Barack Obama's reelection campaign said Romney's comments should be seen in the context of a closed door meeting and made by a candidate with a "penchant for secrecy."

"Americans expect the opportunity to be able to evaluate candidates based on their records and their policies," Ben LaBolt told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta. "To be able to lift up the hood and kick the tires and make that determination before election day and what is clear is that Gov. Romney is trying to make the specifics of his policies off limits for the American people."

Before the call, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul emailed reporters that "it's ironic the Obama campaign would accuse anyone of not being forthcoming," considering Congressional hearings held Monday into apparent extravagant spending by the General Services Administration under the Obama administration.

It was Romney's campaign which last capitalized on a so-called open mic moment, when reporters heard President Barack Obama telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he would have more "flexibility" after the November election.

"The idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he's not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming," Romney said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Romney also called Russia the United States' "number one geopolitical foe," a remark which drew rebuke from the Russian president himself.

On the DNC call, Schumer suggested Romney's Sunday comments would resurface.

"Mitt Romney probably hoped these comments would never leave his backyard fundraiser," Schumer said. "They're going to reverberate in the campaign for time to come."

Also see:

Obama re-election team increases fundraising haul

Buffett Rule would barely dent debt but fits nicely into Obama's theme

McCain: I agree with Ann Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Charles Schumer • Mitt Romney
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. king

    Lesson mitten doesn't run the repubs party, the tea trolls does, and he better get instep, because if he don't bring the country to the extreme right, where every one for themselves, he'll never see another term.

    April 16, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Steven Colo

    I assume that Romney has no clue that a major portion of the DOE's funding goes to nuclear defense work. He's basically proposing eliminating the United States' nuclear capability.

    April 16, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    "I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go," he said, according to a report by NBC News. The Department of Housing and Urban Development "might not be around later, and the Department of Education would be "a heck of a lot smaller," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    ---------------

    funny but these "ideas" sound more like policy to me. Ideas would be "maybe we do this, or that?" Not "I'm going to take a lot of...."

    April 16, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Just Say No to Flipper

    The rightwing hatemonkeys were collapsing on poutrage on their fainting couches when President Obama made a factually accurate statement to Medvedev, yet those same GOBP cult members will ignore that Rmoney is doing something much worse: conspiring behind our backs with is predatory friends in the 1% to further corrupt our system and gut the America that serves the poor and middle class.

    April 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney's biggest weekend gaffe was when he said stay at home moms don't learn "the dignity of work."

    April 16, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    Rmoney's campaign has been a string of non-stop gaffes.

    April 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. WatchDawg

    One has to ask, how does Mitt manage to walk...it seems he always has at least one foot in his mouth...I guess he can't be flip-flop...just a flopper...

    April 16, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    Mormons CANNOT be trusted;
    Mormons ONLY like other Mormons;
    Mormons LIKE war unless THEY are fighting;
    Mormons HIDE their true feelings/plans; and
    Mormons LIE a lot.

    No thank you.

    Obama 2012 for ALL Americans NOT just Mormons.

    April 16, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt McCain won't spell out his plans. Ryan won't say how his smoke and mirrors budget saves money. Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 16, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Why bother even asking Romney about his plans? He'll have a different viewpoint as soon as he shakes the old Etch-A-Sketch! All of the GOP never has told us what they would have done with the economy if placed in President Obama's situation – a crashed economy, two wars, broken mortgage industry, failing auto industry and 8.5 million jobs lost BEFORE he took office. Even a Monday morning quarterback makes some claim... what would they have done? Let it all come crashing down and let the fat-cats enjoy their offshore money in what's left of the US?

    April 16, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Nsikan

    Rick calls it "Vulture Capitalism" and I agree with him.

    April 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Mitt Romney probably hoped these comments would never leave his backyard fundraiser," Schumer said. "They're going to reverberate in the campaign for time to come."

    If Schumer is suggesting that there is a vast emptiness between Mittens political ears, I'd have to agree.

    Memo to TeamRomney: Keep working on that "get it right" thingy ... so far, Etch A Sketch Mitt just isn't "happening".

    April 16, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    So according to Willard any women (other than Ann) who takes care of her children instead of working is not learning "the dignity of work"? If that's true why doesn't Ann get off corporate welfare and go get a job and please don't mention her MS and breast cancer as millions of women suffer with these issues and are FORCED to work – and given her husband's chance of being president – these same women would LOSE their jobs and healthcare. Ask yourself is this about YOU the American people or about the Romney's and their neverending quest to be gods.

    April 16, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney, the Great Flip Flopper, must receive approval from Tea Party censors and Rush Limbaugh before speaking candidly to an audience or the media.

    April 16, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Well, flip-flop. Bain-capital.

    April 16, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Willis

    mitt says, look I dont care if your out of work you need Food stamps to feed your child. My buddies need elevators for their 12 cars for theie 12 homes!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Willis

    Mr personality will do away with unemployment. Its is much more important for his Posse to have a few more Rolls Royces.

    April 16, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. John

    Forget about your sick kid, my guys need more maids & butlers!!! Bad Bashop!

    April 16, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. kimberly

    I love how people still think mittens has a shot! its cute!

    April 16, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Is this the big rollout of the Romney Reset?

    "Better recall him back to the pits, boys."
    "Turn him over. Shake some sense into the man."
    "He's still acting like he always has."
    "Okay. Let's take him back to the main shop."

    Later, back at the main garage........
    "His transmission seems to be stuck in one gear."
    " Well. ..... Fix it."
    "That's all he's got, just that one gear, M."

    April 16, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Willis

    My name is Richie Rich Romney & if I be yo Prez come Jan,YaLL get majic underwear for da whole family.

    April 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Pander Bear

    He's going to take HUD, Education and HHS and combine them into the Department of Losers. Then he's going to give Billionaires a tax break with the money he saves.

    April 16, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Andrea Saul must need a stiff drink after she finishes her work of cleaning up the mess her boss leaves behind on a daily basis. Obama cleaned house at the GSA, with the head resigning after firing several people connected with this fiasco: we're still waiting to have Romney produce his tax returns, hoping that he will follow in the great tradition his father established. Romney wants to neuter our nuclear capability, or place all of it under military control: the DOE and the old AEC were designed to be under civilian control so it begs the question of does he really want all nuclear plants to be under military control? It shows how truly clueless he is when it comes to our government, which departments have what functions, and why they have those functions. Of course, we can always rely on him to change his mind, depending upon which way the wind is blowing and where the checks are coming from today.

    April 16, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Willis

    Dats wat Bishop does in his SECRET Tabby Nackle meeting with The other WHITE, WHITER & WHITEST. Da Bishop hates minorities & poor people. After he beats his puppy.

    April 16, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Mittens slipped by letting the truth out, that's what a gaff really is, the truth slipping out. I'm sure that the majority of Americans knew where mittens was, but now for those that were still snowed, the snow is beginning to melt away.

    April 16, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
1 2