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. Don

    Oh we all know what you meant Truly Brain Dead Clown of the Walking Brain Dead Republican Circus of Clowns and you can lie all you want but that foot you so graciously put down your own throat like you have done so very many times before just shows us how you would say ANYTHING to get elected even though what you say is NOT what you mean or even close to what you TRULY feel. Just glad I am not your dog, poor dog gets treated as badly as all the rest of us Americans by you Republican Brain Dead Clowns.

    February 3, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. PM Ohio

    We all saw what happens when the Fed Chairman is a puppet for the GOP spend and reduce taxes regime under Bush. Deregulation (causing the housing mess), starting two unfunded wars, an unfunded RX plan and don't forget it was Bush who started the bailouts before he left office. All this at the same time reducing taxes on his 1% buddies. His policies really worked, huh? Americans are tired of hearing the GOP rhetoric and talking points. No one in the GOP has a plan to get us out of this mess. At least the President is TRYING and not obstructing and trying to delay the recovery so they can get elected like the GOP led by the Tea Party.

    One more thing...does anyone remember the Bush administration and President Bush himself say to the American people in the late Summer of 2008 that "The american economy is as strong as ever" and within a month, they were giving handouts to giant corporations? At the same time Bush was "reasssuring us all", the 1%'ers were moving all of thier money into off shore accounts...including the flip-flopper Miteens Romney because they had insider information and knew the bubble was going to burst. Like the weapons of mass destruction. They didn't lie...just misinterpreted the facts...uh huh. Then why is there legislation to stop our Congress from using insider information in the Senate right now?

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

    The bias here is palpable. . . .if the word "money" is used in conjunction with Romney, he is already hung, no matter what the context is. Given that Romney is the only candidate who has never been in Congress (including Obama), he is may not be so good a politician talk, but his skill sets are better than any other candidate for the economy. He is actually right, there are scores of programs to help the very poor. What's Obama actually done differently to help the very poor?

    February 3, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Mark

    What I want to know is HOW MItt is going to pay for all of this? Where's the PLAN? He wants to increase military spending, he wants to balance a 1T deficit, he wants to fix the safety net for the poor and he wants to cut taxes. Have I missed anything? How is this all possible without massive cuts to social programs(like that safety net he claims he wants to fix), SS and Medicare? I haven't heard anything from Mitt about how he will do this beyond a hope and a prayer. Singing 'God Bless America' certainly isn't going to get it done!

    February 3, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Don

    Oh Yes, when you see the Pathetic Clowns the Walking Brain Dead Republican Circus of Fools puts forward as a candidate for President all you can say is I am sure glad we have Obama for 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Pat in IL wrote:

    Anyone who doesn't understand what he meant by this needs to go back to school for comprehension training.
    We understand exactly what he said. The problem with this statement is just like the rest of his gaffes, "I like firing people." Not only is it another gaffe, it demonstrates how out of touch Romney is with actual people who do not live in the elite circles that he does.

    Apparently, MIt Romney feels that it is okay for the poor to subsist on handouts. "They're okay," he said. That is an appalling statement to make coming from someone who makes tens of millions per year, and complains that his taxes are too high. In fact, Romney is running for POTUS so that he can lower his own taxes evern further, while raising the taxes on the botom 20% because "They're okay." He wants to lower taxes on the wealthy, even after admitting that "They're okay." just like the poor. The hypocrisiy is just dripping.

    February 3, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Annie, Atlanta

    Romneyrocks – I have been trying to find a job for more than a year now. I've applied to anything I'm remotely qualified for, including school janitor and lunch room worker at the local schools. And I've found nothing. I'm not elderly. I'm not unqualified. I'm not handicapped. I've tried to find full and part time work during the week with the hopes of doing something part time on the weekends. I've found nothing. I'm signed up with several temp agenicies and still nothing. I will be homeless at the end of the month when my lease runs out, and am doing everything in the meantime to keep a roof over our heads. Stop with the BS, it's insulting to those of us desperately trying to find work.

    February 3, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC


    The bias here is palpable. . . .if the word "money" is used in conjunction with Romney, he is already hung, no matter what the context is. Given that Romney is the only candidate who has never been in Congress (including Obama), he is may not be so good a politician talk,
    Why do conservatives just love to rewrite history? Or are you so brainwashed that you just forget the facts? Pres. Obama was Sen. Obama when he ran for POTUS. You totally discredit everything you might have to say when you make absurd assertions like that.

    Just for you. ROMNEY. The letters "M-O-N-E-Y" with an "R" in front of it.

    February 3, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Don

    You know it is truly sad that when you do NOT have a Brain it comes ouot into the open each and every time you open your mouth and then you have to try desperately to take it all back when someone else sees how incredibly brain dead you truly sound. Poor Mitt, if he only had a BRAIN. Perhaps he needs to see the Wizard of OZ, I think that clown resides in Trump Towers but last I heard he has a major brain deficiency as well. ROFLMFAO at all the Brain Dead Republican Clowns!!!!!

    February 3, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Mark from Canada

    I like Mitt...I just misspoke, in fact anything out of a politicians mouth is misspeak really. The truth is that Mitt is a resounding idiot, but I'm misspeaking of course.

    February 3, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. James

    I don't understand how the Obama Administration hurt the middle class. Pretty sure we got screwed when the economy took a dive. That was not Obama's fault. We were screwed when the country bailed out the banks and the lenders but refuse to bail out the middle class that lost their jobs due to the aforementioned parties. That was Obama's fault, but he was just following the plan that Bush already started.

    February 3, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    @Mark – Tax cuts pay for themselves my friend. Tax cuts to the wealthy trickle down to the common rabble, which keeps them quiet enough for us to do it all over again come next election.

    February 3, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. PM Ohio

    No liberal I have talked to thinks that you should be able to make as much money as you can...the problem isn't MAKING MONEY, the problem is TAXING that money and how flat (regressive) taxes and taxing income at way higher levels than investment income is creating a have and have not society. I don't envy Bill Gates, he has helped employ litterally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the world and has revolutionized business, along with indirectly saving our entire economy...he deserves to be a billionaire. He and the other 1%'ers should pay thier fair share though. Trickle down economics does not work. The rich keep whatever profits they can and invest them for thier own gain while the rst of us actually work for our money and it gets taxed at a far higher rate.

    February 3, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. BigEasyinNewOrleans

    Everytime this man speaks, he misspeaks. Even when he says he mispoke, he has mispoken again. Mitt, just shut up and go back to your rich Wall Street buddies, and leave the middle class and poor people to fend for themselves since that's what you and your greedy, millionaire/billionaire pals are so good at doing.

    February 3, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Tony1954

    Romney is 100% right. The poor ARE taken care of in this country. The problem though is that there is probably more people fraudulently taking advantage of the system than there are actual people in need. Between the fraud and the tuly lazy people who would rather go from cradle to grave just taking instead of working for themselves, that leaves alot less $ available to help people who really can't take care of themselves. The drain on the middle-class comes from the frauds and lazy people.

    February 3, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Taioseach

    I cut the guy some slack, he did clarify and Soledad did pounce on only part of the statement.

    Now, should he have said that? No. It still came across as insensitive and stereotypical.

    February 3, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Laura

    Someone please buy Mitt a pair of "flip-flops"!

    February 3, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    The bias, as you put it Ned, comes from people, both conservative and liberal who view Romney as inauthentic. I look at him and I see a GOP version of John Kerry, looks great on paper, does nothing to inspire, and keeps shooting himself in the foot with misstatements and horrible visual images. Independents are leaving him as they see him as a caricature of an old-school Republican struggling to keep pace and be relevant in a world that he does not understand and cannot connect with. When you have been auditioning for the same job for 6 years and you keep making freshman blunders, it diminshes you. He cannot win, he cannot inspire anything except contempt. Its not jealousy we have with him, its impatience with the fact he has wasted our time and given us nothing, no " Romney Doctrine", only snarky comments attacking the president when his own public service resume is far thinner than Obama's was when he won the presidency. By the way, we don't envy his money, only his aristocratic airs that are NOT American.

    February 3, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. PM Ohio

    Rudy NYC Nice...Mittens new nickname is "R-money", which is an anagrm of his name. Thanks

    February 3, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. A Texan

    The obvious intolerance of anyone not "of like mind" with the new GOP is entirely repugnant !!!!!

    February 3, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Mary

    What is wrong with you people?!!? It was totally taken out of context – totally. In the grand scheme of things, he's right – the "poor" do have a safety net in place – it's called welfare or any other gov. "handout" – paid out of our taxes. The middle class and those above what qualifies for "middle class" (but still under $250,000) are the ones paying and choking on everything! WAKE UP, open your eyes and quit with the "old rich Republican" BS. If you pay close attention, they are ALL out of touch and the only goal of each and every one of our so-called "representatives", from the Pres. on down, no matter the party, is to be reelected. Period. We need someone to have some concern for the middle class since we keep on working while the cost of everything around us goes up, but our salaries don't, and praying we don't get laid off for any number of reasons.

    February 3, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Jillian

    The picture looks like he's been drinking red koolaid.

    February 3, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Mike from Calgary

    Does Mitt "I like to fire people" Romney ever take questions from the media. Has he released anything except 2010 tax return? Is it OK for Romney/Bain to raid "target' companies and their pension funds and send the LOOT to Swiss Banks and more LOOT to his Mormon Temple!

    February 3, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm sorry to change the subject here, but as I was reading over prior comments on previous articles I can across this posted by Fair is Fair:

    Fair is Fair

    @ Dominican Mama –

    Jesus also said "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eat for life". Seems like both you and Barack Hussien Obama are quite selective in your spirituality, huh?

    I'm not sure what point Fair is Fair was trying to make, but the absolute mimicry of Scripture she used for political points is pathetic and serves no purpose - certainly not any benefit I can see of furthering the teachings of Christ.

    February 3, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. skeeter

    What has Obama done again? Except of course, publicly speak very well. AKA he is the actor. Someone who is a prestigious business person has to speak in front of people who need to feel he is smart and trustworthy in order to do business with them. Obama speaks well and doesn’t have a clue how to convert in the red zone. Mitt has been crushing it in the business world for years and anyone who knows business well, knows that Mitt knows how to close deals. Obama knows how to talk a big game and golf a lot.
    Also, do you Democrats have any clue what the word grammar means? You aren’t really proving much on this comments section.
    Obama…no hope for all! Occupy The White House, not Wall Street.

    February 3, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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