Romney quickly moves to clarify misstep
April 30th, 2011
12:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney quickly moves to clarify misstep

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney quickly moved to clarify a misstep as he metaphorically discussed hanging bad economic news around the neck of President Obama Friday night. His spokesman called stories about the gaffe "a ridiculous exaggeration of his actual comments."

It happened as Romney was speaking at a forum on job creation and spending last night in Manchester, New Hampshire, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.

Using a commonly-said phrase as he was discussing the economy, Romney told the crowd, "You remember during that during the Ronald Reagan/Jimmy Carter debates, that Ronald Reagan came up with this great thing about the 'misery index' and he hung that around Jimmy Carter's neck and that had a lot to do with Jimmy Carter losing. Well, we're going to have to hang the 'Obama Misery Index' around his neck. And I'll tell you, the fact that you've got people in this country really squeezed, with gasoline getting so expensive, with commodities getting so expensive, families are having a hard making ends meet. So we're going to have to talk about that, and housing foreclosures and bankruptcies and higher taxation."

But Romney then said, "We're going to hang him with that, uh, so to speak – metaphorically. You have to be careful these days. I learned that."

Romney did realize the wording immediately, stopping to clarify his comment. He had a slight smile and there was some laughter in the room that seemed to be playing off his reaction, not the original comment.

A Romney spokesman, Andrea Saul, said in an e-mail to CNN of any question over the comment, "It is not what the governor meant and that was very clear in what he actually said. It's a ridiculous exaggeration of his actual comments."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (58 Responses)

    Why is it Obama's fault that things are tough economically? Gas prices are being criminally manipulated, so to crush the economic recovery,.. Obama has launched an inquiry into it. The economy was in chaos 2 years ago,.. Obama has righted the ship,.. financial sector stabilized,.. jobs being created,.. the stock market is soaring, reform,.. these are all positive accomplishments that the President needs to be lauded for achieving,.. the GOP/ TEA PARTY,.. and the special interest lobbyist, are trying their darnest to undo all that good, and being obstructionists,.. remember well the words of some on the Right..'We want the President to fail'.. how is that constructive?.. Romney needs to hang most of it around the collective necks of his own party members,.. and stop his lying and deception.

    April 30, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Ridiculous

    This country is much to sensitive. It was a metaphorical statement, and anyone that takes it as anything different is out of touch. And yes, I vote for President Obama!!!

    April 30, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. GL

    Romney called the Massachusetts law "an experiment," admitting that "some parts didn't work," but he didn't directly answer a question on whether or not he regretted signing it into law.

    AND this will be hanging around his neck.

    April 30, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Rob

    That is not an apology, that is blaming 'these days' as the problem rather than apologizing for poorly chosen words. Let's blame sensitivities for your un-sensitivity? Let's blame how your words hurt because of hundreds of years atrocities because you have to be careful 'these days'? This is not about political correctness, Mitt! You screwed up and do not have the integrity to apologize for it.

    April 30, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. johnRJ08

    Witless Mitt. Provides a list of problems which were created by a Republican administration and which are being perpetuated by Republicans in the House and Senate. The nerve.

    April 30, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Rosslaw

    Poor right-wingers, it must be so hard for them to understand what drives gasoline prices and what doesn't. Maybe the next time Romney and Cong. Joe Barton are performing fellatio on their BP and other oil industry sponsors, they can ask them to explain how the industry works.

    April 30, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. sonny c.

    Glad to know Mitt is pulling for the Country to pull out of our troubles.

    April 30, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. oh well

    yes...putting a "boot to the neck" is much more current. This simply proves Romney is passe.

    April 30, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. terry,va

    Anyone that says anything about Obummie is a racist. I can't believe the fool got elected the first time. What happened? Did all the white folk stay home? No, 43% of us voted for him. It won't happen again, as we hate his POLICIES not him or his race.

    April 30, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Sue

    I cannot wait until Romney is elected in 2012. The majority in the country are just counting down the days until the weak, clueless, incompetent, idiot that is currently renting our White House–is evicted in 2012. Can you imagine the debates between Romney and Obama? Romney-a business/financial/economic genius-versus Obama without his teleprompter. They will be hilarious!! Romney and Marco Rubio in 2012!!

    April 30, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. RKN

    But, will they admit that this is really the clean up after 8 years of Bush and 2 years of Republicans blocking as much as possible of what Obama was trying to do? Will the republicans tell us what they have done to create jobs since they were elected because of that promise? Will they tell us about how little they have done for the American people and much they have done To us?

    April 30, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Bob

    Way to go Mitt. You dug yourself a hole with that one.

    April 30, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Steve in Denver

    I'm not sure how they do it, but the economy was in free-fall when Obama took office, yet the republicans sure have success at hanging it on Obama. The housing market was in the toilet since early 2007, we were losing 750k jobs a month in Janurary, 2009, the near collapse of the financial systems and the gazillionaire bailout had occured under the Great Waste Bush administration.

    The economy has steadily improved since Obama took office. So, while the misery index is high, it is the direct result of the last administration's policies, and it is improving.

    Why don't you tell us another good one, mittens, like how evil RomneyCare 1.1, commonly called ObamaCare, is. Massachusettes has 98% of it's citizens covered by health insurance due to that insidious individual mandate. Such a bad thing! We are so much better off as a country with 40 million plus uninsured.

    If only this country's attentions span would grow to more than 30 seconds, the neocon movement would be toast.

    April 30, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Steve in Denver

    Uh, mittens, tax rates for those earning less than 250k are DOWN. Do you understand that? LOWER tax rates, as Obama promised.

    Simply saying taxes are higher doesn't make it so.

    April 30, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Levin

    I'm no Romney fan, but let's cut the guy a break here.

    April 30, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. bkgrandma

    I don't remember Romney wanting to hang a Bush Misery Index around W's neck when gas prices were higher then they are now. Nor did he want to do it when W. lied and took us into 2 needless wars which helped put this country in the debt we are in today. Does the GOP really think that the majority of Americans have no memory? They are all a bunch of hypocrites!

    April 30, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. NameEdward

    Me thinks he doth protest to much.

    April 30, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. charles gardner

    Obama is the captian of the Titanic. He was flown in after the original captian hit the ice berg when the orginal captain was flown to safety. You can reasonalble assign some blame to Clinton to signed a bill/law ( I think ) allowing Financial company and banks to rig up all the crap that nearly brought down western civilization and then certainly bush unpaid tax cuts and 2 unpaid wars. Blame Obama for uping our involvement in Afganistan and not standing firm on letting those tax cuts go (of which I would be paying more but as a member of the great american society will be happy to pay)

    April 30, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Ramesh Shrestha

    Do Romney and his likes own the language thay they can use it any way to express subtly hateful and suggestive messages? Is whatever they say justifiable?

    April 30, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. bobden

    As usual, the repugnants don't seem to remember when our economic crash began, and who started it.
    Let's see, who was it that started two wars, with costs off the books? Who gave his rich buddies big tax cuts, but gave no thought to how the costs would be covered?

    April 30, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Larry L

    Interesting to note that Romney belongs to a church that did not consider black people to be human until recent history. I suppose as BYU tried to make it without African American players they saw the light. He's got so much lying to do and so little time...

    April 30, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Donny

    Jeez Romney, just quit. You couldn't buy the nomination the last time around, and your wishy-washiness isn't going to play with the fire and brimstone, phony bravado beats brains crowd you'll have to pander to get the nomination.

    April 30, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. LMC

    Romney should be hanging the "misery index" around Bush's neck–that's where it started. President Obama has been trying to dig us out of this, but of course no Republican is going to acknowledge that!

    April 30, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Martha in CF

    Like most Redumplicans, they don't know what they are saying either......enough said

    April 30, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. diridi

    what? These GOP thugs put and sent jobs to overseas, and China, now they are talking....whom they are talking....don't people know....Real thugs of the nation are "GOP & Tea Party" idiots....not obama nor clinton....Again, Gas is going up, because of china, and India...once we use Fuel efficient cars, and hybrid, and energy efficiency, these idiots know and know better....Walmart is already is losing lot of its business...wake up Americans, I am telling the truth, because, "I love you" so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!God bless....Obama not worry about color...nation is on right track fiscally, principle energy, green energy, education, energy efficiency..transportation, bring back manufacturing.....o.k...

    April 30, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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