Romney thinks twice after 'fire people' comment
May 24th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney thinks twice after 'fire people' comment

(CNN) – It brought nearly immediate attacks from his rivals, and even a mocking ringtone: Mitt Romney's January comment that he "likes being able to fire people." But in an interview published Wednesday, the GOP candidate acknowledged that it is one moment that makes him "try and be a little more careful in what I say."

"I have to think not only about what I say in a full sentence but what I say in a phrase," Romney told The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, because comments are "taken out of context, you'll be clipped, and you'll be battered with things you said."

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Romney made the "fire people" comment at a New Hampshire campaign event in January while taking audience questions.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," he said. "If someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

The comment was one in a series of statements that were then used against the former Massachusetts governor to paint him as out of touch with average Americans.

Days before the "fire people" statement, Romney - who became a millionaire over his career in private equity - said there were times he was concerned for his job.

"I know what it's like to worry about whether you're going to get fired," Romney said. "There were a couple of times I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip."

And at a campaign stop in Florida last June, Romney joked at a roundtable with voters that - like them - "I am also unemployed."

Adding that he is "networking," Romney then said, "I have my sights on a particular job that I'm working for."

– CNN's Gregory Wallace and Justin Lear contributed to this report.

Also see:

Obama campaign expands Bain attack and general election ad buys

Poll: Romney takes lead in Florida

Palin endorses Utah's Hatch in Senate race

Arkansas, Kentucky primaries pose challenge for Obama


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. ToldUso

    I regret Mitt Romney

    May 25, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. Sherron

    Why these days must people be constantly apologizing for expressing their opinions? I thought we had free speech in this country. But apparently these soft Americans are offended if anyone sneezes in their direction!

    May 25, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. Justacomment

    So Mr Romney, if you were to get elected, I'd like to be able to fire you if you don't provide the service that I need... think about that one buddy!

    May 25, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. RomNuts

    If you're among the 1 percent, Romney's got something for you. Otherwise, if you vote for him, you're voting against your own interests.

    May 25, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. jim

    "There were a couple of times I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip." And then I'd have to live off of my dad's investments. $10 million a year is subsistance living where I come from.

    May 25, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    the problem isn't the full sentence, it's a problem with the perspective. As president, you can't simply fire the people you don't like, they're citizens, you have to deal with them.

    it's about growing the type of society we want with the people we have, we can't just vote people off the island. The whole thing just speaks to lack of perspective.

    May 25, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  7. jim

    Sherron – if you think free speech means no one can disagree with you, you are obviouisly a republican.

    May 25, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. Steve Lopez

    He is just showing his true colors. All of them. The GOP/Tea Party are for themselves and their rich friends. Period! Wake Up America!!!!

    May 25, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. Carl

    Wow, it took him this long to realize that comment was inappropriate during times of economic hardships and high unemployment?

    May 25, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. uncle bob

    The problem with Romney's "I like to fire people" speech is that he actually "likes" to fire people.

    Sometimes you need to terminate someone, but actually enjoying doing just makes you cold and heartless.

    May 25, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. Hawk in Texas

    You think bush was bad? you ain't seen nothing yet if this joker is elected president. move over george w. here comes herbert hoover the second.

    May 25, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Mopery

    Romney was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

    May 25, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  13. gypsyalso

    i get oh so tired of stuff being taken out of context. i too would love to fire some of the people that provide services to me – first on the list would be the company that fills our prescriptions. we have to use them – they are incompentent and make way too many mistakes. provided by the employer so we have no choice. yes, we are fortunate to have medical and prescription coverage – but when your meds arrive in unusable condition time after time -

    May 25, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," he said. "If someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."
    ----------------------–
    And that boys and girls is how Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital. If people's jobs did not turn a profit, they were fired.

    People need to understand that private equity is a very different beast from venture capitalism. Gov. Romney is trying to blur the line and confuse people on the issue.....and succeeding at it. The two businesses operate at opposite ends of the life cycle of a company. Venture capitalists are the job creators, helping companies to get started or helping companies expand. The private equity firms are the private banks that take companies through bankruptcies, leveraged buyouts, at the end of their life cycle. The lattter is not about job creation. It is all about profit, which is the business that Bain Capital was in.

    May 25, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. beevee

    Let's face it. This guy is a corporate boss type and he likes to fire people at will. The truth just came out of his mouth inadvertently. Some times true feelings come out as slips. A compassionate perosn (CEO) would have said – I lke to people give chances to improve before extreme measures are taken.

    May 25, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. Vorpalblade

    Romney understands the common person about as much as the common person understands gnats. We're just irritants that he waves away, casually.

    May 25, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  17. Ed

    The real problem is that he doesn't think at all.

    May 25, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  18. beevee

    Let's face it. This guy is a corporate boss type and he likes to fire people at will. The truth just came out of his mouth inadvertently. Some times true feelings come out as slips. A compassionate perosn (CEO) would have said – I lke to give people chances to improve before extreme measures are taken.

    May 25, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
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