(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.
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he doesn't care about poor people and he likes to fire people.............ummm?
oh yes, Mitt, now you will have to stop and think about how you really feel. Guess from now on won't know what is truth vs fiction.
I like being able to fire people, sometimes it has to happen. I also hate firing people, especially when children are involved. But, when it is in the best interest for the company and especially the employees that have to work with that person.....they have to go!
Mitt Romney is a man I would never trust. He grew up in a world of anyones dreams, with the ease that being a multy- imillionaire gives you to take everything for granted.. As an adult he's never had a bill he coulldn't pay., never a medical problem that money was no object for a successful outcome.,,,Plumbing gone bad....car broken down...never,never a concern for the things only acquired with money.. It is impossible to think that anyone in this financial position could have a clue,of, nor even care to consider. the millions of families in our great country who don't know what it is to NEVER have worry about money..It's impossible to think that the top one percent of the men and women in the U.S.are in this position and the republican party is working to keep it that way!!!! I guess heaven will have to help the rest of us!!!!!!!!!
Ask him about Social Security and Medicare – two programs the Ryan Plan (supported by Romney) would trash. I've seen conservatives talk about the fate of these programs but the solution is something they don't want to talk about. Regarding Social Security – simply remove the cap (about $106,000.00 per year) on the income subject to Social Security taxation. Let everybody pay some Social Security deductions on every dollar they make. Regarding Medicare – simply add a single payer option to the current plan and quit supporting just the rich, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, and HMOs.
The other problem Romney has to be careful about is if his comments are taken in context.
He's repeated the firing people remark in other arenas as well. He fired a lot of people to fill his pockets. What's the beef?
The problem with Romney is that he doesn't understand the "average person" who has a limited income. Romney has been well off his whole life so I don't know if he can understand the cost of food and fuel among other things.
Romney has to be careful because he slips up and reveals his true character occasionally.
Mr. Romney promised that he would be far more careful in the future
and he would avoid saying anything that was true or that he actually believed.
And if Obama said he would fire people who didn't provide good services, nobody would lift an eyebrow.
Romney doesn't or hasn't had to work to make a living...only to become more wealthy. Big difference from most of us.
He should have thought twice before running for President and propagandizing the American people with a bunch of right wing garbage.
Romney likes feeling powerful. It's why he likes to fire people, and it's why he wants to be president. He has no vision for the average American.
I will never vote for this guy even if the earth was hurdling out of control and about to freeze over into solid rock my ballot would be mark for Obama and Romney name would be scratched out.
Move FORWARD Obama2012
I want to see a debate between Romney and Paul.
I wonder if he would have second thoughts after starting an all-out war with Iran.
Probably not – he wouldn't be in danger.
Mitt's got the Etch-a-Sketch out.
The American people like to fire people too Romney. You are next.
although he's a rich, out-touch fool i'm a teacher and there are several poorly performing people on our staff that i'd love to fire too. problem is our union makes it financially impossible to do so and it gives the rest of us hard-working teachers the bad rap we have.
Romney can't stop putting his foot in his mouth. What would happen if he wins in the fall? I don't like Obama all that much, but I really don't like Romney.
I'm not a fan of Romney by any stretch, but a problem with government is that it is virtually impossible to fire anyone without having a mile long paper trail. Trying to let go of unproductive federal workers (and there's a fair number of them, believe me) is a full time job in and of itself.
Forgive the man for holding people accountable!
It's not what you say as much as it is what you mean and we know Mitt Romney meant it. I will be voting for Obama.
Obama 2012? Think about that twice.