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. JackWagon

    If you believe mitt's explaination I've got a big orange bridge in california to sell you. He had one flash of honesty is the truth about what happened. Mitt and the rest of the republican party are only out for their owners who pay for their elections, the ultra-rich corporate and wall street interests. Watch what happens in the coming months before the presidential election. Even though the economy is going up now, the republicans will try to get the economy going down again so that they can get a republican president in order to put the last nail in the coffin of the 99%.

    February 3, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. NameEarthmannArt

    Just because Mitt is counted among the 1% does not mean that he would not be an effective president . FDR was also among the 1% in his day and yet he became a champion of the poor and working class, eventually.

    February 3, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. workin'person

    Romney for President (of the Cayman Islands)!

    February 3, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  4. guy

    sorry... i can't trust a man who makes his dog ride on top of the roof. what planet is this guy from lol? i don't see how he was "taken out of context". there seems to be plenty of context in that quote to me. he goes on for a whole paragraph, and then comes back and says it again a second time! he thought he was going to win big points by sucking up to the "middle class". Too bad it's non-existent, thanks to the republican i-banker and oil exec fat cats. he's already flip flopping now, trying to say that he's all for the poor. what a joke. romney is a liar who has no chance against obama. vote for ron paul, the only honest and faithful GOP candidate

    February 4, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  5. hostage707

    The Freudian slips keep on coming. Can't wait to see who he slays next. What a loser.

    February 4, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  6. Navin Johnson

    BS. He couldn't give a rat's a$$ about the poor, or the middle or working class. He wants to be President so he can cut his own taxes and cut the taxes of his millionare buddies. For NO other reason. Don't be fooled!

    February 4, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. dave

    I'm not a bible thumper but Mitt is in good company. Did he miss speak, no I think most miss listen.

    "Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."

    Listen again to his whole statement. I believe he said "if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that."

    Real close to the samething. Does he mean it , I don't know. But at least I think I understood what he meant. We'll always have poor people we can only give them a helping hand. If they take it great, if not, there is nothing we can do.

    February 4, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  8. Sharon Koch

    You don't get many times to screw up and claim "that's not what I meant" when you are the President. The guy is laughable if he thinks we believe what he's scary to think this is the best the GOP can do.

    February 4, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  9. NiSolihp

    It underscores the utterly distorted perception that the GOP candidates/members have of American society. It's just not limited to Romney who seems to have a particular knack for such gaffes , but it is a part of the ethos of Santorum and Gingrich, too. While Romney doesn't understand the economic challenges facing the poor, Santorum and Gingrich are all at sea about the social issues ailing that segment of society. Romney's gaffes reflect deep incompetence from a candidate claiming to make America competent.

    February 4, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  10. tessaprn

    I understood what he was saying. The poor are being taken care of by the taxpayers. The rich have money and do not need help. Those in the middle are the ones who need the help now. They do not make enough money to really be comfortable but yet too much to qualify for that government teat.

    February 4, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  11. adam

    Between Romney & Gingrich, we have who is always misspeaking and the other one is always an angry man who you never know what he is going to say or do. I think the republicans are in a big mess – – -peaking.

    February 4, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  12. Cobraa-212

    When a politician doesn't have their teleprompter, note cards, or staff whispering in their ears, we tend to hear their thoughts rather than their campaigning points and punch lines. This isn't about a rich republican, it is about a rich man. The Democrats have their super rich as well, and they are just as disconnected from the real world as Mitt. It is the Democrats who have created the myth that the Democrats are the party of the poor, when they are just as connected to wealth, the financial/banking community, and greed as the republicans. Everyone needs to wake up, stop drinking the kool-aid on both sides of the arguments, get the real facts and not just what the "parties" tell us, and come together to recreate America. We are the melting pot. We know how to blend ideas and compromise and there is a middle ground for all the issues we face if we work together to find it. Calling names and sniping at each other won't accomplish anything, which is why Washington is so dysfunctional.

    February 4, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. Jim

    Of all people this guy has no right tot be a president or speak on behalf of the 98% of the people in america. He's just another filthy rich republican focused on taking away anything and everything from the lower income people and giving it to the other 2%.
    But there will be people vote for him, just look at those that re-elected Bush for a second term. They automatically assume that US citizens are just stupid and buy into anything. This guys like a used car salesman.

    February 4, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  14. Taskmaster

    Hey ,Mitt you can't go back and un-ring a bell.

    February 4, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  15. QZ

    This candidate is a typical capitalist. In the world of globalization, the interest of capitalists conflicts with that of ordinary Americans.

    February 4, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. leesan1945

    This bums accomplishments in Mass are as good as Dukakis' back in 1988. The one problem is why can't they mention them? They both talked in generalities, but nothing specific. it's a cyclical problem that they sat on when it was going up. As for his poor comments, they are exactly what he believes. The poor are being legislated out of voting and ultimately out of existence. There are more requirements to vote now that hinder a person's abilities to get to the booth. All in the name of voter honesty. What malarkey! How honest was Fl in 2000 or Ohio in 2004? These bums that ignore major portions of the population will soon fall and they'll be disgraced and their followers will scurry about coming up with excuses for them. This country is not the one I spent more than a quarter of a century defending. It is close to worthless because of the poor leadership over the past 30 years.

    February 4, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. Obi Won

    He did not mispeak. He has made this type of comment multiple times. Soledad O'Brien followed up ask him what he meant to make sure she heard it right and he repeated the same statement. That is not mispeaking a word.

    February 4, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. BL

    It wasn't a moment of misspeaking, it was actually quite revealing.

    February 4, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. rika33

    The standard politicial nonsense that says the public is stupid enough to believe I did not mean what I said – and repeated. He said what he and his followers believe and did not expect the backlash – because in the bubble they all take what he said as gospel.

    February 4, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. let them eat cake

    "Poor Romney, he can't help it if he was born with a silver foot in his mouth". Gov. Ann Richards, about GW Bush. lol

    February 4, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. tcaros

    He really means "that was just MItt talking from his heart."

    February 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. Dave

    If Romney's compassion for all Americans were real, his heart would never have allowed his words or thoughts about the very poor to even form in his mind or mouth.

    Romney is a 'capiopath', (or capitalistic sociopath) whose psyche has replaced human values with financial values, and compassion for others with the love of making money. To be as wealthy and successful as he is, he was forced to put choices about profit over people.

    Romney didn't 'mispoke'. He said exactly what is in his mind, and showed us that he has lost touch with his heart.

    February 4, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. Tom

    What he really meant was that he thought they were already being taken care of by programs in now place, but if they were not, then he would fix it. His statement was just totally taken out of context by vultures, like Gingrich and the liberal news media, looking for a piece of meat to devour.

    February 4, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. ddeldude

    ...and Romney accuses his opponents of 'the politics of envy'!? Envious of what? Envious that Romney is a man who has lost touch with his soul? Envious that he sees himself as what we all dream of being? We don't envy you, we pity you.

    Gov. Romney... we are our brother's keepers... we can help you ... we really can... we may not have your money, but we have our hearts, and want to help you get yours back.

    February 4, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. runninjill

    Misspoken: to speak mistakenly, inappropriately, or rashly. So he did misspeak, as I'm sure his intention was not to say something rash that he truly meant, but to sugar coat it in ambiguity.

    February 4, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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