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. Hooza Whatsit

    If corporations are people, does that make Mitt a serial killer?

    February 3, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Ed Peters

    "Ticker: Romney admits mistake". I was sure this would be a statement that Mitt was going to withdraw from the mud-race (AKA GOP primary).. Oh well, more easy days for late-night TV writers...

    February 3, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Jake

    meanwhile...Obama inherits the worst economy in our lifetime, gets things moving again and we must replace him immediately!? Please! Obama 2012!

    February 3, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. reasonablebe

    Ummm, that safety net? Isn't that what the Republicans are and have been trying to get rid of? Like Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment and subsidized housing, free/reduced school lunches, etc. ? So is he now changing sides and saying the republicans have been wrong all along?

    February 3, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. I Wanna Move Like Jagger

    The jealousy of most of those posting on here about Romney is SO transparent. Just so transparent........

    February 3, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |


    The unemployment rate dropped to 8.5%! Oops! I mispoke! I mean 8.3%! Sorry Mitt and GOPbags! Hahahahha!

    February 3, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. cf

    Misspeaking is when you accidentally displace one word or phrase with another: calling a child by his sibling's name, for example. What Mitt said was not misspeaking, it was a truthful statement he let slip when his guard was down.

    Anyone who thinks the poor are better off than the middle class or the rich because they have "social program safety nets" is an idiot. Try trading places with one of those "privileged poor people" for a week and see how you like it.

    February 3, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. katie

    and misspoke when he said let the auto industry fail, let the homes foreclose investors/Donald Trump buy them and rent them out, I like firing people, people are corporations, maybe I'll release my taxes maybe I won't. This guy is bold face flip flopping liar and a creep, a wolf in sheep clothing, an anti-Christ, I could go on and on with scrolls of negativity about this dysfunctional greedy mofo! Like father like sons and daughters, except Mitten was nothing like his father, total opposites.

    February 3, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Squealy

    Ah, the old "misspoke" line. Right up there with, "I apologize IF I offended anyone".

    February 3, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. westward

    Bull hockey, Mitt Romney. You have said the same thing repeatedly over and over again!

    Yeah, and that Donald Trump endorsement only sealed the deal.

    February 3, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Name AnnB.

    What is the safety net? In the Native American world that's a box of groceries from the USDA called commodities, it is supplemental and does not last but a few days. Don't worry about Us Mitt, we're too poor for you.

    February 3, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. G

    "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche". let them eat cake.

    – Romney 2012

    February 3, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. wonfish

    The point is not what his words were. The point is that he thinks poor people have no problems because they have this safety net. The second error is that he doesn't include the working lower class in the poor people category. Sorry, people, but the guy really doesn't get it!

    February 3, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. McShannon

    Sometimes when forced to think on their feet as is required at debates and interviews candidates show who they really are with words from their heart and ingrained idealogy. Mitt has depth in believing he is superior as well as those like him also.

    February 3, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. A California Conservative

    It seems really strange to me that everyone is jumping on Romney for a simple speaking goof. If we each got jumped on like that every time we mispoke, it'd be a nasty little world we live in. I'm not a big Romney fan, but geesh, give the guy a break. Newt has said far worse things, and hasn't been mispeaking, and Ron Paul can't open his mouth without saying something completely weird.

    February 3, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. PM Ohio

    Has anyone else noticed the silence over the abortion related decision by the Komen Org. to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood, then the subsequent reversal, by all of the supposed Right to Life candidates? Hummm Just like when the GOP controlled the house, Senate and White House and no bills about abortion were brought to Bush's desk? The GOP says they are against abortion, but they don't want it to go away because 25% of the country votes GOP on this sole issue...they can't afford to make it illegal because they may actually have to have a platform other than, "I am against abortion" and "I'm not Liberal"...How about some ideas from these clowns?

    February 3, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Dee

    Poor Mitt get's confused so easily, like when it's time to write a check, should it be on one of his U.S. accounts, Cayman Island accounts, or maybe one of the Swiss Bank accounts. I know the poor or even middle class wish they had such a decision to ponder!

    February 3, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. RettaMichaels

    SO when he wants to say Obama flip flops, he's credible???

    He spoke from the heart....HAS spoken from the heart on numerous occasions....I'm sure they were all forms of 'ignorant' speech. Maybe he misspoke when he said he was a Republican??? What DO we trust from the man who wants to be President???

    February 3, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Squealy

    To those stating that it is true that the middle class always have to pay and that there are indeed mechanisms in place for the poor, and that is what he meant, that is true enough. It was his dissmissiveness that bugged me, tat it makes everythig fine for the poor. If anyone thinks those safety nets solve the poverty problem and that no further action need be taken, they are mistaken or living in a bubble.

    February 3, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. katie

    betcha $10,000 he meant what he said, guy gives me the creeps all of the Teapublican candidates give me the creeps, all teapublicans look creepy are creepy, they all have this hated look on their faces, if you're not one of them, they hate you and are out to destroy you. Sounds like satin " mission is to kill still and destroy"!

    February 3, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. PM Ohio

    Hooza Whatsit

    If corporations are people, does that make Mitt a serial killer?

    Nice just made my day;-)

    February 3, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Cornelia

    Likely a Freudian slip...

    February 3, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Rickey

    Are you kidding? He didn't misspeak. He said exactly what he believes. He just didn't mean to say it out loud for everyone to really know what he thinks. I just love how people wish to blame the President for this mess. As if it wasn't going to happen had anyone else had been elected President. This is a hole we were headed to no matter who had won the election in 2008. Our past policies are what got us here. Not Obama's current administration.

    It's like driving your car without maintenance. It eventually breaks down from neglect. Just like our system did. WE as a country neglected things because they were still running along, then they final gave out due to poor maintenance.

    February 3, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. WhizzerW

    See Otterman post at 1;51 P. M.--- You can all read what was really said and then throw your mud. At least it won't be out of context.

    February 3, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    @I Wanna move like Jagger – I think you're missing the more important point, but that's just me. It's not jealousy. I don't care, personally, if he's a gazillionaire. But he profited from destroying companies and taking people's pensions. Sure, it's legal, but decent and honorable is another thing. Then he off-shores his money, yet wants to be the president of the country where he's avoiding taxes. And his inability to relate to people who actually work hard, work more than one job, just to put food on the table (or food on their families, if you will), is striking. How is he going to relate to most of America, or does he even have any intention of doing so? These are things I have to consider when picking the head honcho. If you're ok with him, hey no big deal, it's your prerogative. I'm not.

    February 3, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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