Romney sees political gain in controversial remark
August 13th, 2011
10:34 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney sees political gain in controversial remark

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Mitt Romney is doubling down on a remark he made this week equating big business to everyday people, hoping to use it as a differentiator between himself and President Obama on the top issue facing the nation: the ailing economy.

Romney's response that "corporations are people" to a liberal heckler during an exchange over fiscal policy at the Iowa State Fair Thursday immediately lit up the blogosphere and was shown repeatedly on cable television. Even the Democratic National Committee jumped on the comment and saw its own political gold in trying to score points against a leading contender for the GOP nomination. The DNC released a 30 second television ad on Saturday morning blasting Romney for it.

But Romney, a successful businessman whose primary campaign message is focused on turning around the economy, is embracing the comment on the campaign stump and in fundraising appeals.

"Look at your paycheck there is the name of a business on there that's paying for your salary," Romney said after addressing about 250 people Friday evening in this New Hampshire city. "Look at your 401k and see the names of businesses that you're part owner of. Businesses are comprised of people and it's amazing to me that the Democrats and President Obama are so far behind the times."

Romney added that he found it "pretty astonishing that the Obama folks would try and argue that businesses aren't people.

"What do they think they are little men from Mars? Businesses are comprised of people."

As Romney continues to pound this theme on the campaign trail, his top campaign aides are engaging in a full court press fundraising effort highlighting it. Within hours of his "corporations are people" comment, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades sent out a fundraising email describing it as a "defining moment." In the first 24 hours, the campaign had raised more than $25,000 from this pitch, communications director Gail Gitcho said. And the campaign plans to expand the pitch pushing this message in the form of a national direct mail piece.

By embracing this comment and theme, the Romney campaign is clearly hoping to drive a wedge between the business community and Obama at the same time using this "defining moment" to further highlight Romney's business background for undecided Republican and independent voters.

Filed under: 2012 • DNC • GOP • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Me

    Are corporations people? Do they die? No, they go out of business. Do they get married, get sick, go to baseball games, attend weddings? No, because the aren't people! Do they get bought and sold? Just like Mitt Romney!

    August 13, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. My Name is Gregg and I`m Running For President

    As President, I will make it prohibatively expensive, for any corporation to sell products in America, that does not manufacture them in America.

    As President, the power to grant access to the US market in exchange for jobs is one clear action a leader can take.

    Rest assured, businessmen will not let a 310 million person, relatively affluent [by world standards] market go untapped. Only when unemployment in the US is below 3% will I allow products from outside the US to be sold here.

    Furthermore, effective immediately corporations that repatriate profits to build FACTORiES may do so with no taxes however all money must be moved by/ in 2012.

    Effective immediately, US corporations are restricted to capital transfers out of the country limited to $10,000 per non-USA based employee. All other transfers will be taxes at a rate of 15%.

    My name is Gregg and I`m running for President.

    August 13, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. dennis freeman

    Okay, so fine, they're people or whatever. They are still unscrupulous, greedy and could care less about their employees or this country. They are strictly bottom-line "people."

    August 13, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Atlanta Independent

    Romney no wonder you dont want a tax increase you make $250 millions I say increase the tax for the rich

    August 13, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. rusty,tucson

    Heh,Mitt can we now SUE corporation Exec's for money restitution from their own stash????
    People were told by you LAWYERS for years to form a Corporation to protect your own fortune!!! I guess now we can go after anyone personally because as you put it "Corporations are people too"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for the opportunity!!!!

    August 13, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. rs

    You know, you get the impression that the GOP/TP is a little off, or a bit odd, and certainly not paying attention to the majority of Americans. Then thay say something like "corporations are people", and it reminds us all just how far out of the mainstream they have become. This is a sick, sick, sick philosophy that proves the GOP/TP ought to have no place in American politics- they have reduced themselves to a lobbying arm for big business, and anti-government freaks.

    August 13, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. K

    Mitt Romney is RIGHT! Corporations are People. People separated by departments. The Billing department should pay the Taxes. NOT other workers. It should be illegal to be play with worker's wages.

    August 13, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Mark

    Finally a canidate that gets it, America runs on the notion of those that want to step out and start a business and become a " corporation" that takes a financial risk by developing an idea, building a product and most important hiring " people ". Thank you Mitt for raising the bar of free enterprise. The same bar the Democrats will continue to hit their heads on because the only " corporation they understand in government control.
    Proud to be a corporation.

    August 13, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. RINO Bil

    Then corporations should start paying their fair share of taxes ... like us people!

    August 13, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Terry Mitchell

    If Corporations are People, I demand to see the Long Form, Certified Copy of the Birth Certificate, if not a domestic corporation, I demand to see their Naturalization Papers, or Immigration Papers. Papers, Please!....No papers, get the hell out!!!! Call the ICE and prosecute their asses, and seize the assets that they have accumulated during their illegal stay and deport them.

    August 13, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Val in MA

    @ Republicans – The Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    Yeah doofus, al Queda is comprised of people who are terrorists. Corporations are comprised of people who work for living.

    August 13, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. C. Howe Yulikit

    Pathetically weak attempt to deflect the "defining moment" of his downfall. This will never play in Peoria, Mitty.

    August 13, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Ray

    Hmmm.... what would happen to a person who's ineptitude caused an explosion at work that killed 11 people and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico? Say that persons name was BP. What would happen to a person that lied to thousands of it's friends and family, as well as to millions of investors, and built a paper empire that turned out to be a house of cards, resulting in thousands of people losing their jobs as well as their retirement savings? Say that persons name was Enron. What would happen to people who used slight of hand accounting tricks to dupe millions of people to invest in risky paper assets? Say those people were named Goldman-Sachs, Bank of America Merril Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. What would happen to a person who took money in return for convincing investors that the same high rish paper assets were actually AAA investments? Say that person was name Standard and Poor. Seems to me that these so-called "people" want all the benifits of citizenship without the responsibilty that such citizenship entails.

    August 13, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Tubby the Tuba TEXAS

    If he keeps talking like that, he will triple his take from those Corporations!!!

    August 13, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    That's right Mitt. Soul-less corporations are people. The SCOTUS says so... And some of them can have real short lives, too... Like the one that was born, gave you a million dollars and died... Hmm... Or was that an abortion?

    August 13, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Robert Thorn

    Soylent Green is people too.

    August 13, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Anthony... proud tax payer

    People work at corporations. Corporations are not people. What next? McDonalds will marry Wendy's and have little Burger Kings?

    August 13, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
1 2