January 25th, 2008
08:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Romney: 'I'm not concerned about voters'

(CNN) – It’s a sound bite that probably wouldn’t play well without any context.

"Well, I'm not concerned about the voters," Mitt Romney said during Thursday’s presidential debate.

The statement came during a back and forth with moderator Tim Russert, after Romney was asked how much of his own money he has donated to his presidential campaign.

"We'll report that on the 31st of January, as required by law, and probably not a minute earlier. You'll just have to wait, Tim," Romney said.

"But why not tell the voters of Florida and across the country how much of your own wealth you're spending, so they can make a judgment and factor that into their own decision?" Russert responded.

"Well, I'm not concerned about the voters," Romney replied. "I'm much more concerned about the other guys on this stage. And we have some competitive information that we make sure that we use for our own benefit.

"But I can tell you this: I've raised more money than any other Republican in this race - raised more," he added. "Friends of mine have come together, people I knew in high school and helped raised money for me."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. James springfield mo

    This is the guy who has our own thank god fomer senater talent who did nothing in his years of substance he said in NH that he is no longher a senater because of unfortunate circumstance ya right all he did for us was a 1.2 million doller rock with the ten commandments! and play golf ny times hit him on the nose. hillary

    January 25, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Robert NYC & Miami

    This was the easiest and most boring debate I have seen. Ever! Nobody but Ron Paul stood out. And this Ronald Reagan crap has got to stop. Maybe they should mummify Ronald Reagan and bring him out and prop him up in a shrine.

    This was not a debate.

    The republicans will only bring, MORE OF THE SAME.

    January 25, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Amelia in Virginia

    Romney's comment, whether in or out of context, typifies why as a Republican I could never vote for him. He is arrogant and totally without a core or true conviction. Romney has always said whatever he needs to say to garner votes He cares only about winning and nothing for the people he claims to represent. John McCain is the best candidate for the Republican party. I predict that if either Romney or Huckabee is the Republican candidate, Republicans will support Hillary.

    January 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. James

    Mitt Romney is a two-bit, arrogant liar who is going nowhere fast. He does, however, seem to have a great deal of support from sociopaths and faux-news types, which probably explains why he spends so much time pandering to these loonies.

    January 25, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Mark, Tampa, FL January 25, 2008 12:03 am ET

    Romney won the debate, he'll win Florida and he'll win the nomination.

    And if he does, he'll lose big-time to whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

    January 25, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. linda

    why does russert think voters need that information to factor into their decision. I vote for someone based on their stand on issues, not how much money they have.

    January 25, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Walt, Belton, TX

    We've had sixteen years of this kind of arrogance. We don't any more!

    January 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. Tallynole

    Mitt, the truth comes out!!! Face it, Romney is a great looking but plastic politician who will say anything to get elected. Just remember how he pandered to the Michigan voters. Like he could really bring back the traditional jobs that that state is losing. But, hey, he will probably win the nomination.

    Too bad more Republicans don't realize that McCain is an authentic American hero who thinks independently every once in a while. Romney has never been through anything compared to what McCain survived while staying in the Hanoi Hilton.
    Go John McCain!!

    January 25, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Michael

    Man, the irrationality of conservatives shows through so well here.

    CNN put this in context, as did the other ten news outlets who reported this same story simultaneously because everyone had the exact same reaction: We know exactly what he meant to say, but it sure didn't sound right and opponents could easily exploit this statment out of context and make him look really bad. Conservatives, liberals, etc., all caught it, and all have been looking at it frm this perspective, and I have yet to see anyone actually use it as an attack by taking it out of context. Chill out and actually take some ime to read articles rather than irrationally lashing out with ad hominem attacks on supposed bias.

    January 25, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. The rock

    Romney, as stated by most columnists, was the better candidate last night for his answers and poise. McCain had only to list a number of people to consult about the economy. Clearly he was out of touch on the financial questions. Romney projected himseld like having a better grasp about how business, and government work. McCain had my supoort, not now. You cannot say that the US will be 100 years in Iraq. It did not work in Vietnam, get it McCain?

    January 25, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Fred, Charlotte, NC

    Romney's record on hiring minorities in his campaign and in his state house is absymal. His open hostility towards African Americans and that peculiar incident with the incoming Governor Duval Patrick plays very well in the South. That makes him the perfect Republican nominee and probably the odds on favorite to win the Presidency.

    January 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    I am very surprised there are alot Romney supporters bashing CNN and claimed they do not trust CNN and CNN is biased. As it maybe, why the heck the same group of people come back again and again to read CNN. No one is forcing you to logon to CNN and certainly no one is forcing you to read the articles.

    January 25, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Lou

    Yes, this is CNN and is FREE press in the USA last time I checked... If you do not like it you have choices...

    Romney is arrogant and a weirdo .. enough said.

    January 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. David.....Nevada

    None of the others disclosed how much money they've spent on their camps either. It's like wearing night visions goggles. Why would you wanna give your opponent logistical info to use against you other than at the prescribed and mandated time. The element of others not knowing how much and when or where your've used this money, might force a miscalculation by one of them to your advantage.
    Vote romney for responsible immigration and economics...

    January 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. chicagotrauma

    CNN is pathetic. Very slanted to print this as a headline. I believe "The Onion " more than CNN.

    January 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. bensonally

    Shame on CNN for making this a headline.

    Romney has good competitive reasons for not releasing that figure. The fact that he has put a lot of his own money into this race shows just what an honorable man he is. He could live comfortably the rest of his life on his wealth and he has chosen to contribute what will undoubtedly be a significant portion of it for the greater good, the voters.... What more honorable use?

    January 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. SFLouis

    Yes, that's right, Republicans. Defend Romney from this onslaught of negative press. Defend him well, and vote for him in your primaries. Hillary will grind him into a fine powder in the general election. I can't wait.

    January 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If he had said, "I will let them know what was spent according to the law," and nothing else, that would have been fine. To say in any way, in context or not, that he was not concerned with the voters, that show little regard for the system. I don't care if it provides the other candidates with a tatical advantage, it would have shown how much honesty you had by revealing the number. Besides, there is less than a week to the Florida primary. How could the other candidates get another ad made and on the air to counter yours?

    January 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. veronica lynne

    I caught this remark last night and thought it was a terrible answer.
    Kind of like when he said "I'd first check with my lawyers" when asked in a previous debate what he would do if there was an another attack.
    Mitt Romney is trying to buy the nomination. I think he stinks for America.

    January 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Mike

    It is a scary proposition that a man might be able to buy the White House. Romney is just what we need, another puppet for business coupled with subservience to the Mormon Church.

    January 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. OpenUpYourEyers

    How anyone would try to defend romney is in itself a joke. He is nothing more than a snake oil salesman; romney has told you everything you want to hear, when you want to hear it; and if it doesn't play well, he'll simply just say say what works best in the polls. Eg., Pro ABORTION? -Nah, pro-life seems to get you more voters these days -I'm pro-life, and always have been!!!. "I'm a hunter! -I have been all my life!!" I joined the NRA, like, a month ago!!! -see? -I'm just like you!! -vote for me!!! I don't have any lobbyists in My campaign -other than that guy who is in charge of everyone in my campaign ... but he's not involved in the day to day operations!! I have more money than everyone campaigning -See? I'm just like all of you voters !!! -I know exactly what's good for you!!!.
    How can you not feel ill watching this fraud talk ??? You can fool all of the people some of the time -but how/if this creep is fooling anyone at Any point is really a sad statement about out current affairs and politics. What ever happened to critical thinking and instincts in this country??
    It's not that the Dem's are so great; It's just after the last 7 years of such awful 'leadership' and rampant republican corruption, how can you not see through this for what it is?? -Have'nt you had enough of these people -yet???

    January 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. RTG, Clearwater, FL

    I was starting to pay more attention to CNN since it seemed more "fair and balanced" this political season, but, I may have to rethink that and find my information elsewhere. By my quoting Fox News Channel you may think I watch them all the time. That's not true either.

    I guess I watch CNBC more than anything – at least they talk about issues that matter to the public and have both sides on for interviews in a more objective way.

    You guys should be ashamed lifting a quote like that out of context (and you bumped this post from last night). I guess all I have to say now is,

    January 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Richard

    After what we have endured with the Bush administration and considering that all the Republican candidates are essentially Bush clones how can anyone seriously consider voting for any of these candidates in the genreal election. Haven't we suffered enough?

    January 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. SR in San Diego

    Yes, it's a terrible sound bite, but geez, this is about as lame an attempt at telling a non-story as I've ever seen.

    I personally think Mitt Romney would be a lousy President because he stands for whatever will give him power and tells the voters what they want to hear, not what they should hear or what he truly believes in (if anything). I'm a liberal Democrat and my candidate is Barack Obama.

    All that being said, I think this is shady journalism, at best. I was watching the debates and it was clear that what Romney was saying was that he wasn't concerned about revealing his personal expenditures to the voters of Florida as much as he was to his opponents.

    This kind of sound bite, shotgun approach to telling a story is, in large part, why we've had 7 painful years of the Bush Administration, a quagmire in Iraq and are now sliding into a recession. Do journalists even want to tell a story anymore or do they prefer to just tell whatever slanted story they can that will whip the American Conscious into a frenzy.

    CNN should try to be just a slight bit above this childish pursuit and avoid publishing non-stories like this. It doesn't do the candidates, the process or the American people any good.

    January 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. Samantha, Davie, Florida

    If Romney really cared about the voters (the people), he would spend his money on charitable causes, community causes, not on himself to put himself in power.

    Bill Gates just gave three hundred million for farming development in underdeveloped nations. Romney should quit the campaign and give the money away to the people who need it.

    Then I would believe he has faith.

    January 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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