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. say it ain't so

    and it only took him 30 hrs and 30 excuses saying didn't say anything wrong before admitting he did. Right out of the Newt, Cain handbook. Even Perry had enough brains to admit it, and even make fun of his mistakes.

    February 3, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. oneamarine

    "When the Republicans stop telling lies about the Democrats, we'll stop telling the truth about them." –Adlai Stevenson

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." - Sinclair Lewis

    F. Lee. Bailey – "Everyone has the right to their own opinions, but NOT their own Facts."

    Martin Luther King – “what we have in this country is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.”

    February 3, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Dontbow

    oh it was a horrible comment and he must be a murderer. lol the stupidity we see from the dems, it's the best comedy out there besides obamya's failures. If you can't figure out what he meant then you really are stupid.

    February 3, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. Jacqui

    The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That is what we have been seeing coming from him constantly. It's because it is overflowing in his heart and now, his heart is made plain before even us.

    February 3, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. older than dirt

    When is a slip of the tongue not a slip of the tongue.

    When Ronmey says it. People this guy is pure Republican Greed. I wonder if he actually know a poor person. I wouldn't vote for the guy to be county dog-catcher.

    February 3, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Dontbow

    lol people if you cant figure out what he meant then you really are too stupid to vote. enough said.

    February 3, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. me138

    poor people do have safety nets in place that middle class people don't have that's a fact. I don't like Romney either but come on lets quit taking peoples remarks out of context is juvenile.

    February 3, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. ddrew78

    Ok, let's be reasonable. I will take this as 'he misspoke' as soon as I see 50 Republicans stating that Obama simply misspoke when he said he had been to 56 states. But, since I know that won't happen I can say that he meant what he said and has no idea about real America.

    February 3, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. ChcukB

    Humble is good. I don't support him, but his comment was inept, not callous. It is true that there are benefits the poor qualify for that the middle class doesn’t get. Adding these benefits to the poverty level income has the effect of increasing income into the middle class range. Also it is interesting that now so many in the GOP want to tout their compassion for the poor. And to think, they also don't like venture capitalists. When morning one they awoke they were surprised to see they had become Democrats.

    February 3, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. SingleHasNoSafetyNet

    Mr. Romney, you are embarrassing me. Unless a single person has a disabled person residing with him or her, there is no way in which that person may obtain health insurance by Medicaid or otherwise. If you are running for president, my God, man get the information correct.

    Singles are hard hit the most from nearly every sector including car insurance. Stop and read. Take the time to learn what it is that you will be governing, here.

    February 3, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. Harry Wreckdom

    Take a tip from $illy $arah and write it on your hand next time Mittens............

    February 3, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Keeiping it Real

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Repeeing it Real (I just got your moniker. I like it.):
    I have no problem with you pointing out a mistake that a Republican or Independent make, but when it's a Democrat, you never see it.
    I've been known to voice my concerns and dissentions with Democraps, and decisions made by the President.You've cited no specific examples however. Let me then submit to you that it is quite possible that what you see as a mistake may not be a mistake at all.
    It's not possible to show an example of something that doesn't exist. Simply point out what you have criticized from Obama. Perhaps it was when he said the healthcare plan would pay for itself? or when he said he'd not use lobbyists? Perhaps it was a transparent government? Or maybe that there were no earmarks in the stimulus bill? Or something simple when he said his father was in WWII or when he misspoke about our 57 states? Pick something.

    February 3, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. TJeff1776

    When one places Romney's resume by Gingrich's- doesn't match up. The Grinch doesn't have the morals of an alley cat.

    February 3, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. Former Republican, now an Independent

    When Romney says he "misspoke", it really means I slipped up and told the truth!

    February 3, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. ush

    i'd love to see him string a few together. like: "i like being able to fire people. especially the really poor people." that would just hilarious!

    February 3, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Mariae

    Wow, how soon your true colors came out!! "Misspoke"? I don't think so!! This came truly out of the bottom of his heart, this is what he really believes! I am so glad Mitt, that you misspoke, because now you can kiss the White House bye, bye. I hope you are aware that poor people have the right to vote too. You are a very poor representation of what we, Americans are, and you really don't understand what America is about.

    February 3, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Amy

    The problem with Romney is his EGO, he needs to be more human when he speaks to the America people, anyway he is getting there. He doesn't need to sell himself to the American people as the great CEO. I think the criticism about his remarks is exaggerated, he says that the poor were safe because there are programs (food stamps, etc) that cover that part. Ok anyway it was a mistake but not a big deal, WE ALL got what he wanted to say if you listen to the whole interview, he didn't say " I don't care the poor" Then if he hires a company that happens to employ illegals but the owner is an American what is his fault? He doesn't work for the immigration department to ask for ID to the guy that does his lawn. Give him a break! By the way I side with the Democrats often so this is not a republican opinion.

    February 3, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. Bill

    Romney is rich and arrogant. So he shoots from the lip and says what he thinks ... only his handlers tell him afterwards that he "ain't going to be president" with stupid comments like that. He is a 100% phony. Rich Republicans love him but average Americans don't.

    February 3, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Keith

    Mitt RMoney really hates it when he accidentally says what's actually on his mind.

    As much as I typically disagree with Newt, Newt was right when he pointed out that RMoney has no real business experience. RMoney has only been a Wall Street Vulture Capitalist. He's never been part of a company that actually created anything (except misery).

    February 3, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. cigarman

    It is a shame that this guy is the BEST the Republicans have.

    February 3, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. tao

    It was a poorly thought out comment to begin with. What's the difference between the very poor and the middle class nowadays? My uncle made 60k working at a chemical factory, now he works at walmart, and he's offically dropped off the list of people mitt romney worries about. My dad worked at a computing solutions firm that serviced very large companies, now he works for an internet service provider for $8.15/hr, and he's dropped off the list of people mitt romney worries about.

    February 3, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. tao

    It was a poorly thought out comment to begin with. What's the difference between the very poor and the middle class nowadays? My uncle made good money working at a chemical factory, now he works at wally world, and he's offically dropped off the list of people mitt romney worries about. My dad worked at a computing solutions firm that serviced very large companies, now he works for an internet service help for eight an hour with no health coverage, and he's dropped off the list of people mitt romney worries about.

    February 3, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Carole Clarke

    He said what he believed – that the rich will of course be able to take care of themselves and the poor will be taken care of by the gvt. He said he wanted to concentrate on those in the middle class who are affected the worst by the economic slump. Actually it makes sense but this is politics Mitt, not economics. You haven't been elected yet so you need to watch what you say. Speak from a prepared formula but make it sound off-the-cuff. Tricky but doable. Kind of like acting. What looks logical on paper may not come out right over the airwaves. You need to have someone vetting what you want to say to prevent this.

    February 3, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. jimbo0117

    Which part of the misspeak was worse for conservatives? That his statement about not caring about the poor would hurt him with moderates, or when he attempted to clarify his statement and then said that if there were holes in the social safety net he would work to fix them? I wonder how many conservatives are going to want to sign up for that plan?

    February 3, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Norvy

    He didn't misspeak; he simply stated how he really feels. The man is telling middle-class and poor Americans exactly what he would do as president to assist them – nothing. Take notice, middle-class and poor Americans! Do not vote for someone who does not have your interests at heart. Simply selfish...

    February 3, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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