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. SFC Mike

    Yeah, poor ol' Mitt, might have to hock that silver spoon to make the payment on his second house or his boat. I feel for him, fo' sho'.

    June 16, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. juliei4

    Did he hand out some of his millions to the unemployed people at his event? Thought not.

    June 16, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Tori

    The difference is your RICH you fool! And by the way you'll still be out of work come 2012

    June 16, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Oregon Calling

    I think that Mr. Romney should continue and say these things. Although I find it rather heartless, maybe it will wake some up to what his party is all about.

    Peace 🙂

    June 16, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Taylor

    Seriously??? Get a sense of humor. If anything this shows you have to work hard to get a job and (this being his second go at this) shows its ok to fail and try again.

    June 16, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. deandake

    wow, for this guy to try and say he is on the same playing field as the unemployed in America goes to show how out of touch he is with the average Joe. Meanwhile he hops into his limo or jet and jams to his next gig.

    June 16, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Derka Derka

    Well that was big of him. I'd like to hear it from Palin although, not you. You are far from our biggest worry Mitt.

    June 16, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Antonio in Phx

    Lighten up Liberals!!! Besides the $100 million that he has in bank, he's one in the same with the other 30 million unemployed Americans. Simple mistake.

    June 16, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. max

    When do your unemployment benefits run out Mitt?

    June 16, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Ain't life strange?

    Really, Mitt. You can identify with the jobless?? Do you wonder how your rent/mortgage is going to get paid? Do you worry about what's for dinner... how many times in the last ten years have you had mac and tuna salad for dinner? How about the electric? Worried its going to be shut off? Even gas for your car to go on job interviews. How ignorant, arrogant and insulting can any wealthy man be then that?

    June 16, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Bill

    This blow-dryed buffoon will never be president.

    June 16, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Russ

    Way to try to stir a controversy with a headline. Romney and some unemployed supporters have a sense of humor – can't have that. Condemn him!

    June 16, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    If I had been there and he had made this statement I would have gotten up and walked out of the room post haste. Thank God I never would have been there to see the likes of him anyway. What an insult to the 14 million unemployed in our nation, which will become even more if the joker wins the POTUS.

    June 16, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Bob Texas

    The GOP and Mr. Romney have no ideal what it is to be a working man. Why would any middle class want this man as President.

    June 16, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. JJOE

    Bad, Bad, Call. Shows that the Republican's will say anything, and are diffently not in touch with what is going on in America. I say no to all of them and I am one of them. I will be voting Democrat. Making my choice more solid as days go on. Shame on him!!!!!

    June 16, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. jackal & jester

    He is more retired than unemployed.

    June 16, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Ryan

    Oh man this guy is a tool. I know his last employer (the state of Massachusetts) didn't exactly give him a stellar review. The only thing this guy knows about jobs is how to end them.

    June 16, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. courtiebabe

    You have to love an unemployed millionaire.

    June 16, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Glennf

    Maybe CNN should ask the candidate exactly how he would "create" jobs. Instead, we waste time reporting an arrogant sob making jokes about all of us out here trying to survive. The old trickle down theory certainly rains urine on the working class.

    Pin him down (if you can). He is just more hot air and slime.

    June 16, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Rosslaw

    His picture is next to the definition of "obtuse" in the new Webster's Dictionary.

    June 16, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. taildragon

    I don't often get fooled by articles from The Onion, but this one got me!

    Wait, this isn't from the Onion?

    June 16, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Repubs. have NO IDEA how Middle Class America struggles paycheck to paycheck. In their world , they're born with Trust Accounts, "tinker" in the family business, attend Board of Director .meetings.

    June 16, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. DOA

    Romney's not unemployed. He's worth $200 million. If he were to do nothing more than dump that wealth into treasuries and live off the interest he'd have to scrape by on only a couple million a year. For doing NOTHING. He's not unemployed. He's so rich he doesn't have to lift a finger and hasn't for FIVE YEARS and COUNTING! Romney==parasite.

    June 16, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    How many unemployed have multi-million dollar homes in several states? He's lucky he didn't get his a$$ kicked in for that comment.

    June 16, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Mutt

    what a idiotic comment and this guy wonders why no one votes for him.

    June 16, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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