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. macbil

    Actually, urthat, there have been Presidents from "blue blood" backgrounds who were "populists" i.e. very concerned about ALL Americans, especially the "very poor.": George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. But our culture has changed so that it's OK to pursue wealth and not concern yourself with anyone else. And Mitt Romney is a product of this change. Capitalism is great and so is our country, but our values are twisted that they don't make it shameful for Romney to pay such a low rate on his taxes and, I'm guessing, avoiding paying taxes with Swiss and Cayman Island accounts in the years we didn't see the return for. It's a very sad day for your country. George Washington would be shocked!

    February 3, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Rick

    He should have said this in the first place. The fact he didn't and instead tried to justify his comment means this is just more BS.

    February 3, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Fran

    This from a very wealthy man whose money is hiding somewhere in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. Misspoke? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in NYC.

    February 3, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Romneyrocks

    He speaks from his heart. He is "FOCUS ON HELPING YOU AND ME WHO HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE CLUELESS BOSO IN CHIEF" stop this stupidity, it is what it is. He wants to get out of poverty, Obama wants to keep you in poverty and increase the number of poor people who will depend on him for more foodstamps.

    February 3, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Buster Bloodvessel

    The news that Mitt is going to run and lose is sending the stock market soaring today. No danger of a Repub coming in and blowing all our progress out on an attack on "WMDs in the desert" or "Space Nazis," just four more years of steady recovery under a calm and careful president. They can make up stories about socialism and acorns all they like.

    February 3, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. DrN

    Middle class supporters who like what he says beware, Mitt will help you join the poor.

    February 3, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. ObamaFlop

    You didn't mis-speak Mitt. Libs are just to stupid to understand what you meant. The next election is about the middle class and creating jobs. Obama has shown that Class Warfare only creates uncertainty in the job market.

    February 3, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Jim Jay

    Spoken from the heart..he was given a chance to recant but he repeated the idea again. He's just the stereotypical rich disconnected Republican being fielded by the 1% to protect their interests...not necessarily the interests of the struggling working American.

    February 3, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Legalize Industrial Hemp

    The "very rich" should envy the poor. At least the poor are not slaves to their dollars.

    February 3, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Buster Bloodvessel

    "he said "..if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that." The entire safety net is made up of things he wants to destroy: Social Security, food stamps and welfare of all kinds. What he said is literally true: he cares nothing for the poor.

    February 3, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Romneyrocks

    You all non-republicans and non-conservatives love jump on at every little word misspoken by those you disagree with. How many times has your Oboso in chief done stupid things and you all were quiet. Remember all the dumb things he has said and Biden has said–just be honest yourselves before you criticize this very intelligent guy, yes SMARTER than the Teleprompter reader in chief!!

    February 3, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Gilda

    Safety net? What safety net? I know college educated people who held steady well-paying jobs into their 50's who are now unable to find work and have become homeless as a result. There is no safety net out there for her. She has no kids and isn't old enough to get help as an elderly person, and so now at the age of 60, she is basically screwed. She doesn't drink or do drugs, either. She's done nothing wrong to even suggest she. "deserved" this.

    So where is this so-called safety net, Mitt? I'm not seeing it.

    February 3, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |

    As dumb as Sarah Palin is even she wouldn't have made such a dumb gaffle! Mitt you lost the general election long before you secured the GOP nomination. What a gaffle you are!

    February 3, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. scarf

    Yes, he misspoke. He spoke the truth.

    February 3, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. scoto

    Romney is just another flavor of Republican dope. The fact he has made a lot of money means zilch to me. He is still an ignoramus in areas that count.

    February 3, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Larry in Houston

    Vote for the all the working people here in this country – Vote : DEMOCRAT 2012

    sure wish the DNC puts somebody who cannot be defeated.

    Larry IN Houston

    February 3, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Liza

    It doesn't sound like he misspoke to me at all. Sounds like he really meant it. Too late!!

    February 3, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Bill

    how do you know when mitt romney has misspoken – when he thinks it will cost him some votes.

    February 3, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. scmom

    I like your comment "Puddin" and "Rooney" go ahead and vote for Mitt you will definitely get "W" back times 2.

    February 3, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Dan

    the wealthy have not been as harshly affected because systems are in place to protect them. The systen in place to protect the wealthy is called Congress. You can't blame Obama for the bush tax cuts or anything else Congress has enacted to protect there wealthy overlords.

    February 3, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Romneyrocks

    The only poor are the elderly, children and man and woman who are physically or mentally disabled to hold a job. The rest of you BUMBS get a job!!! You are no poor just bums!! Mitt threatens you because you might be force to get a life and get a job when he finally fixes this economic disaster cause by a totally clueless man whose only job was to be a crowd agitator otherwise known as community organizer!!

    February 3, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. jayfromboston

    Mitt – the carpetbagger – was the WORST Governor Massachusetts has ever had. He only used it for his resume to run for president. He did not misspeak – he meant every word of it ... he does NOT care about the poor. He only cares for his rich buddies and tax breaks to make them richer. This "misspeak" is just political spin to pull Mitt out of yet another misspoken statement. IF he's ever elected (and I pray he's not) American would constantly be holding our collective breaths waiting for the next "misspeak" from Mitt .....

    February 3, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. FitchGetz

    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

    @ Doug
    Hate? Hardly. My question is........why would such a man of conviction FLIP FLOP on his own idea??? Please to explain since you deem it impossible for me to understand.

    February 3, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. randy white

    A Freudian slip? Not if you listen to the whole quote. A wise man once said, 'Only the rich and the poor can really be themselves. Everyone else has to worry about the consequence of what someone else thinks of them."

    February 3, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. bill

    And uhbama misspoke when he called his Grandmother a 'typical white person'.

    February 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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