Romney on ‘poor’ comment: I misspoke
February 3rd, 2012
02:51 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney on ‘poor’ comment: I misspoke

(CNN) – One day after Mitt Romney took heat for a comment he made about the poor, the Republican presidential candidate characterized his remark as a “misstatement.”

“I misspoke,” Romney said Thursday in an interview aired on KSNV, a CNN affiliate in Las Vegas. “When you do I don’t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong, and I misspoke.”

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Romney made the original comment in an interview with CNN on Wednesday morning, in which he said he was not "concerned about the very poor" because there is a safety net in place for them—but added, "if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that."

Opponents of the former Massachusetts governor quickly pounced on his remarks and took them out of context in attacks against the candidate. Republican presidential rival Newt Gingrich especially criticized Romney over the comment.

Romney spent Wednesday afternoon clarifying his statements, saying his prime focus was to help the middle class, a group he sees as “most hurt” by the Obama administration. He argued the poor and the wealthy have not been as harshly affected because systems are in place to protect them.

But Thursday was the first time the candidate acknowledged that he had misspoke, a rare moment for a candidate known for his discipline on the campaign trail.

Romney, who won Florida's primary earlier in the week, will compete in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (639 Responses)
  1. Joe

    What would you expect from a billionaire that try to run the country. For him us poor people are penny change. What this country need is a down to earth man or woman that been through hard time that knows how leaving without a job affect the family, no food on the table and no private jets. Until then. no one in the White House will give a crap about us, the poor, the medium financially family and all that strive to make it every day. Its a race for the richest not for a Head of State.

    February 3, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Doug

    Not like he called them the enemy who cling to their guns and religion, maybe he should have, every Democrat says that is an example of tolerance.

    February 3, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. v_mag

    @amf140 - "When was the last time you heard our arrogant, Campaigner-in-Chief ever apologize for anything."
    Trying to have it both ways? The right wing has crawled all over the President for supposedly apologizing for past U.S. errors under Bush. Now ya'll want to say he never apologizes?

    And as for arrogance, no one could ever top Bush/Cheney! They openly supported war crimes, wrote "signing statements" declaring that they didn't have to obey the law, viciously invaded 2 countries, outright lied about WMD, on and on. That's world-class arrogance on a par with any third world dictator.

    February 3, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Doug

    then why is he in favor of repealing a National Healthcare law that he himself (as GOV of MA) enacted on a state level??

    You answered your own question, too bad as a Democrat you can't see it, you have to clear your mind of all that hate, impossible for lib

    February 3, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. 4sanity

    It's that liberal media bias at it again ...... trying to demonize a hard-working $billionaire who needs to be elected so that "he won't let bad things happen anymore" (Trump, Tues Feb 2nd).

    February 3, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. KC Yankee

    Thousands of interviews? Really?

    February 3, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. When has Obama admitted to a mistake?

    He admitted it...okay, lets move least he admitted in a timely manner, when has Obama ever admitted to saying someone he shouldn't have?

    February 3, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Doug

    Its quite simple, if you are poor and want to remain poor then vote Democrat. Those people who believe in true equality and a America that encourates everyone to be their best have a moral obligation to vote Republican.

    February 3, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. REM Rocks

    Doesn't matter. He's gonna be the next President. Let see.... Hummmm. He's a clean living, principled, Godly man of faith who is faithful to his wife, extremely successful, handsome guy who apparently walks the walk, not just talks the talk. He gave 3 MILLION DOLLARS to charity just last year!!! 10% of his after tax income EVERY YEAR to his church. I grew up a Southern Baptist, now Episcopalian, I'm not a Mormon. I can say, I can talk a good game, but I haven't stuck to the commitments that he has. I really respect him. I'm a Gingrich or Santorum guy, but I'd be OK with Mitt in charge of the executive branch. You won't have to worry about any Monica Lewinsky, Watergate, Marilyn Monroe sleeping with kinda mess with him when he is in the White House. He is taking a lot of heat from losers out there and in the media who couldn't do what he does on a daily basis. He uses no alcohol, no nicotine, no smoking, no caffeine. All these smart-ass elites, college ivory tower types, pundits, media know-it-alls, and just liberals in general just don't live a principled life like this. I'm sorry, they just don't. So why don't you all go jump in a lake.........He will turn this thing around and get the folks with all the money on the sidelines investing again, and get this country cooking again, kicking butt and taking names, like we used to.

    February 3, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Sarbear

    Yeah right. That's why he reaffirmed his original statement after Soledad O'Brien asked him, incredulously, if he actually meant what he said. His thoughts on the poor are probably the only opinions he's offered that actually are his true belief. He thinks the very poor and their so called "safety nets" are doing just fine.

    February 3, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    One of the many problems with politics these days is that you have to watch not only the meaning of what you say, but every little piece of it. Taken out of context, it makes him sound like a horrible monster. But when you read the full statement, and actually listen to what he's saying, it makes perfect sense. We have systems in place to protect the poor – welfare, unemployment, social security, medicare, etc., not to mention all the charitable organizations out there. If those are broken, then fix them. And the wealthy don't need protection. But the middle class doesn't have any such protection. We get stepped on by government, by corporations; and all we can do is try to stay afloat. That's all he's saying there. The message is valid, but unfortunately will get missed (usually deliberately) by those quick to jump on that one small piece.

    February 3, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Author Charlieg

    It is called a Freudian slip. His rage against the poor is his real feeling. He also supports privatizing Unemployment Compensation. He is against the Insurance Mandate. FICA, Federal Insurance Compensation Act, is also mandated insurance and it covers Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This decision would also make Workman's Compensation voluntary. Say goodby to all of that. That is almost the entire safety net he would have us put our trust in.

    Want to see a new Weimar Republic, and the third republic that followed? Vote for Mitt!

    February 3, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Here's a wake-up call to people claiming "Mitt doesn't care about us poor people"...if you are sitting on your $500-$1500 laptop, connected to the internet you are billed $100+ monthly for, inside of your home/apartment/whatever, you are not classified as the poor. Maybe lower middle class, but certainly not poor.

    If you disagree with him or think it was him accidentally admitting the truth, fine. But don't get all high and mighty and try to pretend like you are "the poor" and are grossly offended by his elitist disinterest in you.

    February 3, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Charles Bowen

    Romney = Rich Righteous Religious Republican Right. Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    February 3, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. rich

    I don't understand why this is a big deal. I thought he was very clear. He said that for the very poor who are physically incapable of working, or refuse to work for whatever reason, there is a government handout already in place for them. He also clearly stated that if the handout is deficient, he would try to fix it. It is equally clear that he does not want to shovel vast amounts of additional taxpayer resources to people who cannot or do not want to work.

    He was clear that he is primarily interested in focusing on those who WANT TO WORK but are unemployed or under-employed and currently having a rough time. These people make up the middle class, or have the potential and ambition to be in the middle class.

    It seems that malevolent people like to take sound bytes out of context, distort the meaning, and start false rumors. Gingrich should know better and was deperately trying to incite class warfare again (Gingrich is like the guy that passes gas and blames somebody else). I think other folks are just envious/lazy/bitter/sociopathic and want to help themselves to other people's money, or believe that the primary purpose of government should be a forced charity program.

    February 3, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. jim

    Another misspoken comment -

    On August 11, 1984, as he prepared for his weekly address on National Public Radio, then-US President Ronald Reagan made his legendary voice check, when, instead of uttering the usual “testing,” declared: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

    Must run in the party.

    February 3, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Dave R

    Flip floppin' away.

    February 3, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "Romney is pompous, arrogant and callous."

    As are his FOX-a-holic followers.

    February 3, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Pan3

    Romney is the flippingest flip flopper that ever flopped a flip.

    February 3, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    When are we going to learn to stop electing rich people to represent our interests? And when are we going to put our collective foot down and get the money out of politics. We have to keep electing rich people because they're the only ones who can afford to run. We sorely need to cut our campaign season in half, at least. We have a voice, we need to learn how to start using it. We can fight the monied interests if we just give a darn. And we need to stop repeating the same mistakes, hoping for different results, no?

    February 3, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Earnest T Bass

    At least he didn't cry. You go Mit!

    February 3, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. DoNotWorry

    "Mitt is a charitable guy." The man spent his entire career making poor people out of the middle class. Then he gives a little back as "charity" and thinks he is soooo gracious. Those people whose jobs he killed and their companies created something. He came in a few months and liquidated and kept the proceedings... then "he" is the money maker and "they" are worthless throwaways. His entire viewpoint is skewed. He made nothing, he destroyed what others made and kept the pocket change... but no more is being created where he destroyed.

    February 3, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Jen

    It seems to me that he always "misspoke".

    February 3, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. jim

    REM Rocks says ...

    You won't have to worry about any Monica Lewinsky, Watergate, Marilyn Monroe sleeping with kinda mess with him when he is in the White House.

    -- Just worry about starting a war without just cause, that kills 4000+ Americans and 100,000+ Iraqis.

    February 3, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. coy4one

    Romney has a habit of mis-speaking. He is wants to be the President, he will need to learn how to "think" before (or while) he is talking. It's one thing to mis-speak to the American people, but I would hate to see him do the same thing to the world's allies, or worst yet, enemies. Just goes to show he is not ready for the job yet.

    February 3, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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