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. romney2012

    I don't feel he mispoke, but I can see his point. The very poor get food stamps, welfare, medicaid, free housing, etc. The middle class are bearly getting by because they are having to support the poor. If something happens medically to the middle class they end up doing bankruptcy, but the poor get it for FREE. Thats whats wrong with Our great Country today.... everyone can say what they want, but the truth hurts sometimes

    February 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    A Democrat VOTE – is for the people who have to keep Track of their TIME, such as punching their time cards, card keys / whether they have to write their TIME in minutes / hours / days / or weeks/ A Democrat Vote is for : all the restaurant workers in this country / diners / drive-ins / dives / fast food workers / people who work for the board of education / such as teachers / school bus drivers -& etc ( but NOT the superintendent of schools) A DEMOCRAT VOTE, is for : Hospital workers in this country – Dr.s offices , ( but NOT the Doctors) and the people who work in Banks / and Attorney's offices / (but NOT the Attorney's or the Bankers) A Vote for DEMOCRAT in this country , means voting for construction workers , city workers, people who work for the county / state workers / dept. of highways workers . Any secretarial work – offices / people that work in MALLS – If we can get all of those type of regular working people to actually VOTE, we would get a DEMOCRAT, Hands Down.

    Larry IN Houston

    February 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. S.C. Jett

    Vote fot Mitt and all the working class people will be in the safety net!

    February 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. jaywing

    Mitt simply said what he really thinks and what the GOP subscribes to: GOP Economic Plan for the Country = Vampire Capitalism. The rich 1% will suck the life-blood out of the other 99%.

    February 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |

    To make such a reckless and outrageous comment in a stable and thriving American economy is one thing but to make that comment in the middle of the worst economic crisis we have seen since the Great Depression simply implies that Mitt is not ready for the big stage. And if the middle class is struggling to make ends meet how do you figure the poor is doing? Mitt you should go back to Cayman Bain because you're insane! !

    February 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. areuserious

    Yes, it is evident Romney does not care about the so called poor. He is for the rich so why think othewise. Regular do not matter at all. The sooner people understand this the better off they will be.

    February 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. fred

    The context was pretty clear to me: Taking care of the poor is, to Romney, at best an afterthought.

    February 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Didlebug

    im stupid but can someone explain to me what is the safety net for the poor? unemployment? thats not for ever welfare? do people really think that everyone enjoys being on welfare...

    February 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Paul

    Romney is a complete liar. He has said the exact same phrase repeatedly in his stump speeches.

    February 3, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Didlebug

    if are economy is so bad why is it i only see middle class and poor losing houses and jobs and businesses?!?! the economy i think is a farce the rich are getting richer and we all looking for them to help us

    February 3, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Cain made that 'mistake' too and he was made front runner shortly after.

    February 3, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Beverly - NYC

    Oh Mitt, if you want people to forget your mis-speak shut up about it. Personally I think you told the truth by accident. I'm just stunned by your support of the Ryan Plan which takes away the safety nets you thinks the poor have.

    What was the excuse for the other mis-speaks: My favorites are:
    I like to fire people who provide services to me. I'm guessing that's everyone not a 1%er, huh moneybags.
    You can't have illegals working on the property, I'm running for office for Pete's sake. Any other time ok to hire illegals?And people call Biden a gaffe machine.

    February 3, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. scmom

    A lot of the commentators on this blog seem to think that it was blown out of proportion. No, the whole thing in a nutshell is he is saying they have the safety net, then saying he will fix the holes in the safety net. When in all actuality he is all about taking away the safety net by cutting those programs that help the poor, working poor and disabled. Not everybody that's poor is a good for nothing lazy bum, understand that people.

    February 3, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    @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.
    Outstanding post! Well said.

    @Fair is Fair who had actually said:
    how can a millionaire understand the poor,
    I guess I have to agree... the millionaire empty suit residing at 1600 Pennsylvania is certainly no exception
    I guess the fact that Obama choses to work as a COMMUNITY organizer amongst Chicago's poor wouldn't stand in the way of you making another one of your ridiculous comments huh?
    Willfully ignorant much?

    February 3, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. LouieD

    Once again Romney flip-flops on something he said or did. Seems that the only way he can run for office is to run FROM his previous actions.

    February 3, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. ART

    Yes I do beleive he misspoke but I also beleive that is exactly how he feels he just didn't mean to say it out loud

    February 3, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Holly

    I don't think Romney needs to apologize. The poor have food stamps, welfare, WIC, welfare to work in many states, Head Start, etc. It's ridiculous how many government programs are there to help them. The middle class, on the other hand, are upside down on homes, foreclosing on homes, unable to find decent employment, have rising costs especially in health care. The poor are no worse off under Obama, the middle class most certainly are.

    February 3, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Behonest

    I just don't understand why republicans can be so blindly following these two clowns? Don't they have more qualified candidates within their party?

    February 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. adub

    Misspoke?? More like Freudian slip...

    February 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Oteriman

    What the hell is wrong with you people? He never said, "I don't care about poor people". He just said, "I'm not focusing on the rich–they're doing fine. I'm not focusing on the very poor–they have a safety net–if there is a problem with that safety net, I will fix it. I am focusing on the majority of Americans, the middle class."

    How could it be more clear? I don't agree with everything he says, but why do you have to be so polarized and brainwashed to hate people and and take everything they say out of context?

    February 3, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. WhizzerW

    My friends and family that live in Ma. tell me Romney balanced a budget that was in the red 390 billion before he came into office, was the top of his Harvard class, and established Romney care, like it or not. They tell me he was a great manager and did many good things as governor. He also had great success in his business career and has a solid family life. You can understand why I would have a tendency to believe my friend's and brother's take on Romney's character than listen to many of these blogger's fact starved remarks and meaningless personal attacks.

    February 3, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Cove000

    Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this? The very poor do have mechanisms in place. What is wrong with saying that? Why has the US turned in to a bunch of thin skinned people?

    February 3, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Hooza Whatsit

    Mitt knows the pain of being unemployed and the embarrassment of having to live off multi-million dollar stock dividends.

    February 3, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. manhandler

    "misspoke".....verb......saying what you really think and then saying it isn't.

    February 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Pat in IL

    Anyone who doesn't understand what he meant by this needs to go back to school for comprehension training. Being in the middle, I have always said that there are programs to help the poor, but that we always have to pay full price, whether it's taxes, tuition, groceries, utilities, or anything else. Over the years, that starts making you poor. That is what he meant by safety nets for the poor. There are many of them, paid for with my tax dollars, so he is not "worried" about creating more. Quit twisting someone's words unfairly.

    February 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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