June 16th, 2011
04:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney tells actual unemployed people he is also unemployed

(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has more in common with the average voter than it may seem, or so he said during a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida Thursday.

After listening to a group of unemployed Floridians discuss the challenges they face in the job market, the presidential hopeful -and multi-millionaire– cheekily divulged, "I am also unemployed."

Romney's remarks were greeted with laughter from the crowd, and prompted one man to ask the former governor and businessman if he is on the online networking site 'LinkedIn.'

"Yes actually and I'm networking," Romney answered. "I have my sights on a particular job that I'm working for."

But not everyone appreciated Romney's humor.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the remarks "inappropriate and insensitive to the millions of Americans looking for work," in a statement.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley also issued a statement calling Romney's comments "completely unacceptable."

"I am not sure that I can think of anything more out of touch with Granite Staters than 'chuckling' at unemployment as Mitt Romney did today in Florida," Buckley said.

At a later campaign stop in Smyrna, Georgia, however, Romney insisted his humor was aimed only at himself.

"I'll always make light of myself, and self deprecating humor is part of who I am," Romney told reporters.

"I had the privilege of being with a lot of unemployed people today and talking about their concerns. That's why I was there. So I'm in touch. Our president simply doesn't understand that his policies are causing a level of unemployment that is really unparalleled in modern history," he added.

The Republican National Party will nominate their presidential candidate in Tampa next summer.

–CNN's Aaron Cooper and CNN All Platform Journalist John Couwels contributed to this report

Updated 5:28 p.m.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    yep old Mitty is really in touch with the middle class and the un and under-employed. Which one of his many multi-million dollar homes I wonder where he'll rest his head this weekend. And if the bunch he was talking to actually fell for this line they deserve what they get.

    June 16, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. EddyL

    What a smug FOOL

    June 16, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Greg in Arkansas

    Would like to see him swap "unemployment" checks with anyone that actually HAS to look for a job......what a duffus thing to say.

    June 16, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. bob

    By his own choice. Not because he was laid off or his company moved overseas. He needs to get real with the public and quit lying. He needs to learn to not talk down to Americans.

    June 16, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Orchid333

    Yeah Mitt, except there's a big difference between being unemployed by CHOICE versus the alternative. My husband applies for 20 to 30 jobs a week and is lucky to get a callback by one or two potential employers. The fact that you make a joke of a very serious situation is quite staggering and inappropriate.

    June 16, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Patty

    Oh yeah...he's so hurting.

    June 16, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. maine liberal

    Donald Trump has been "broke" how many times.

    June 16, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I know you are unemployed, Governor. Thank you, for proving my point.
    I've been calling the entire field "the unemployment line" for weeks already.
    The smart folks with jobs are not joining the race.

    June 16, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Patty

    He's definitely out of touch and totally insensitive...and this man wants to be Presdent...why? hmmm P-O-W-E-R and E-G-O come to mind.

    June 16, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Jimbo

    Way to relate, Mitt.

    June 16, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Larry

    The interest alone from his millions is more than the average American earns.

    June 16, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Dave

    What a stupid and insensitive comment! Romney doesn't have to worry about being unemployed. He has millions and most of it was made putting others out of work! Then again, he's just a typical Republican – completely out of touch, clueless, and bloody arrogant.

    June 16, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Poor thing. Whine and cry. His daddy left him enough to live for 1000 years. He also made a lot when he worked at disbanding corporations and outsourcing OUR jobs.

    Whine and cry, republcan. Whine and cry. And try real hard to make people think you know what a loaf of bread costs. Make them think you don't have several multi-million dollar homes - lie some more.

    June 16, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Martha in CF

    Oh Wow Romney....How many in your audience has millions in the bank and 3 homes all over the US. Unemployed? Give me a break............................

    June 16, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Marcelo - Los Angeles, CA

    Good job Mitt...err...Good un-employment I mean. You're starting to sound more like Biden at this moment with your gaffes. If I had a couple mil in the bank, I may decide to be unemployed as well. Not hating on your wealth Mitt, but c'mon man! THINK!!

    June 16, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. S. In California - Obama 2012

    ...and You'll stay UNEMPLOYED when we go to the polls.

    June 16, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Republican Robber Baron

    Oh please...Mitt you make enough $ on interest alone that you'll never have to "work" another day in your life. Who are you kidding.

    June 16, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Try working in a soup kitchen for the homeless, or HEY – community organizing in the ghettos is really easy, and there are a LOT of openings in MICHIGAN.

    June 16, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Dude has a $200M net worth and he still can't manage to say anything of value.

    June 16, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. WatchDawg

    There's the secret!! We all create PACs and raise money for a our failed runs for President, who cares how the money is spent. We've already seen Christine WHATSHERNAME pay all her living expenses claiming she was using her personal residence as her company office. Damn, I'm thinking Romney is onto something.

    June 16, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. AC

    What an utter _______ ______ !(fill in the blank).

    June 16, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Laverne

    Such an insult, unemployed and a millionaire, really! Mitt Romney does not know a thing about struggling, he has enjoyed the fruits of his father's labor most of his life. There is just something creepy about Mitt Romney and I just can't put my finger on it, but he doesn' t have a ginuine bone in his body and he thinks he deserves to be president, can't stand the creep!

    June 16, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |

    Unemployed, yes. But unlike you, the rest of the unemployed are not sitting on millions of dollars. What a complete idiot!

    June 16, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Zosimoff

    What an idiot! I think we should all help him stay unemployed. Maybe he'll have to start roughing it, and clean his 10,000 sq. ft. home himself!

    June 16, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. OneMoreTime

    Odd what these millionaire Republicans think is "chuckle" worthy.

    June 16, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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