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. Dan

    How many jobs has Romney applied for since he left office?
    Has he been applying for jobs every week?

    Or has he been living in mansions and fancy hotels?

    June 16, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Cincinnatian

    Another out of touch multi-millionaire laughing at the poor on his way to the bank...just what we need in the White House!

    June 16, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Silence Dogood

    Let's keep him unemployed.

    June 16, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Indy

    This is just another example of how far out of touch Romney is and hes not good at faking like he is one of us.One of the stupidest things he has said in the past 24 hours.Stay tuned for more from Romney

    June 16, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. gt

    its about jobs....jobs... americans are hurting so bad...

    June 16, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Tony in Maine

    May he stay that way forever. All we need in the WH is another multi-millionaire ex governor with personal mansions all over the place who thinks he's a comedian by laughing at "the little people." I can't wait for him to look for WMD's. That was a real thigh slapper.

    June 16, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Mark Lewis

    I used to work for Governor Romney, and although his humor may be awkward there is not a more caring and compassionate man. No one, no one would work harder as president than this man, and it would be all consuming for him to create as many jobs and opportunities for all Americans as he possibly could.

    All people seeking political officed seem to face unwithering scrutiny from a 24/7 news cycle, but to make it seem that Gov Romney does not care about people is simply reporters not doing enough work to get to know the real person. He cares deeply about people and their plight.

    June 16, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Wes B.

    Keep laughing it up, Mitt.

    June 16, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. John

    What an idiot. A multi-millionaire who makes more in interest in a week, and pays less in taxes on that "found money" because it is capital gains, than most people make in a year is going to try to pretned he is "just like" an unemployed person struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table? What a collosal a hole.

    June 16, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    What an arrogant, self-absorbed a-hole!

    If only the 99'ers had his millions to live on.

    That is certainly the way to win votes among the unemployed.

    But then the GOP has always been for business and not for the middle class workers. They are only seen as business "assets".

    June 16, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Larry

    Wasserman Shultz (why can't jewish ladies take their husband's names?) is trying desperately to escape the spotlight of her latest foot-in-mouth zinger "We own this economy" by deflecting. Nice try Debbs.

    June 16, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. maikl

    No,Romney, please take JOB from community org. He has no idea what hi is doing.

    June 16, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. MikeBell

    Romney needs to be careful about humor. It backfires too easily since humor is a form of sarcasm.
    The broad definition of unemployment in humor does not square with reality. The majority of people do not have the cushion to fall on like he does. Especially since the markets where many have their reserves deflated to nearly or completely nothing. And many don't have an expense account while they are 'working' on getting their next job.
    Last election his humor hit a sour note when he sang a line of 'Who let the dogs out?'. Which can be interpreted or misinterpreted as a swipe at those he accompanied.
    So, Romney needs to understand that humor is not the friend of a serious candidate. Especially if he wants people to take him seriously. Too many will take his humor 'too' seriously.

    June 16, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. PJ

    Romney is just one of the guys! Or should I say the new temporary Romney. His open shirt, jeans and now "unemployed" status are supposed to negate the fact that he is worth over $200M and responsible for thousands of layoffs while he was downsizing companies and outsourcing labor.

    June 16, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    for you right wingers saying folks should "lighten up it was just a joke" how about if President Obama were to say something like he was UNDERPAID for the job he has to do and he was saying this at a jobs fair? I bet FoxNews and the right wing talk show hosts would tear into him like a hungry dog would do a bone. Some things you just don't say.

    June 16, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. greyhackles

    Romney trying to appear as "Everyman" has always been a complete FAILURE. I don't see that changing soon. The guy is so utterly out of touch with pretty much everyone who didn't get handed a humungous stake ("Thanks, Dad!") it's pathetic.

    He's toast. NEXT!

    June 16, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Mike Dallas

    I am sure the parents without jobs and struggling to feed their and kids and keep a roof over their heads are in stitches.

    Human tragedy is amusing to this worthless piece of protoplasm that wants to be President of all of America, including the unemployed?

    I am not "chuckling".

    June 16, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Jim

    If you want to cause a scandal to make Romney look bad you should end the video at the laughter...for those of us with a brain, we watched the whole video and took his remarks in context. To say he doesn't know or understand the plight of the unemployed is absurd. Listen to what he says. You can tell that unlike the majority of politicians he has actually sat down and talked to and counselled with those that are facing these challenges. He understands the effect it has on people and families. Whether or not he's the best man to be the next President is still not certain but on this topic, I believe he is sincere. If you don't appreciate his humor than vote for someone else.

    June 16, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Clwyd

    Just live off your interest Gov. You have lost touch with the people who elected you!

    June 16, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. maikl

    If you made a lot of money it's great. So, Romney now how to run baseness . This what we need. Let's not count somebody else money, let's study and do it. We need captain who now how to rule ship and not give rule to small communist organizer.

    June 16, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" economics has only left a dribbling wet spot on working Americans's shoes!

    Just a 21st century male "Marie Antoinette" saying "Let them eat cake".

    And then "chuckling" at his on little "joke".

    June 16, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. DIANA

    Why does this remind me of the time George H.W. went to a grocery store and had no idea what a scanner was. Republicans are so out of touch with the rest of the country.

    June 16, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Crikey...

    Is there any GOP contenders that aren't huge d-bags?

    June 16, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Sylvia Saint

    He didn't really say that, did he? I just find him too slick, too swarmy.

    I can just see him saying, "so what's it gonna take for you to buy this car today!" ; can't you?

    June 16, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. MikeBell

    Too many have no sense of humor or are deliberately blowing this out of perspective.
    Lighten up you nit pickers.

    June 16, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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