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. tstorm

    You said what you really thought, Romney. Then you stood next to another gluttonous one-percenter, Donald Trump, and took his endorsement. I'm voting for Obama. At least Obama cares about the poor and the middle class.

    February 3, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Jilli

    "Misspoke" – that's hooey. He's said the same thing multiple times. I think what we've seen with this statement is one of the rare flickers of authenticity by Romney.

    Look at his policies, his tax plan and his support of the ryan budget – both would negatively impact the working class and the poor.

    Look at who's funding his campaign – a handful of the very wealthy, and very few small donors. He's even accepted over $87,000 from a bundler that is a foreign agent – Ignacio E. Sanchez. who represents the embassy of the United Arab Emirates and the presidential campaign of Dominican Republic former president Hipolito Mejia This major fundraising raises questions about the level of access and influence he — and by extension, his corporate and international clients — would have in a Romney administration. (BTW, President Obama does not accept campaign contributions donated or bundled by federal lobbyists or foreign agents.)

    Any question on who Romney is really concerned with? The lobbyists and the bundlers (ha!!) representing the working class and the poor just haven't come through with enough campaign donations to the romney campaign to merit any concern.

    February 3, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. TIM

    I'm sure he had his campaign staff working overtime to try to help him backtrack this one. He is shady and two-faced. I don't see how anyone Democrat/Republican/Independant could belive anything he says. He tries to justify his statement by saying if there are holes in the safety net, he will fix them. But it is widely known his feelings on those safety nets and how bad he wants to cut those programs out completely. The only Americans Romney is concerned about is himself and the other super wealthy of America. So unless you are super-wealthy, you will only hurt yourself and your family by supporting him. It is completely obvious that Romney has not worked an honest day in his life. Yes, Obama has made many mistakes during his presidency but he has also had more to deal with than any other president in recent history. One thing is clear, he has done allot more by far for the middle-class and poor during these difficult times than any of the Republican candidates would have done.

    February 3, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Matt

    He spoke from his subconscious which means that he spoke what he really meant. This is the real Mitt Romney.

    February 3, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. Al-NY,NY


    After saying the intial comment, Mr. Romney said it was taken out of context. Now he misspoke after getting hammered by the media and his primary rival, Newt G. This guy is an empty suit.

    spot on. I guess "it was taken out of context" is no longer a viable excuse for flippity flop. Can't wait for the next one though. This guy is a walking and talking gaffe machine.

    February 3, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. olivia Dillard

    how can a millionaire understand the poor, what Rommey said is what he thinks

    February 3, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Mario De Kauwe

    "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man." Matthew 15:18

    February 3, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Robert

    I really am getting tired hearing to poor and the "less fortunate". Can you say lazy, fat, trailer park bums? I hope Romney MEANT what he said.

    February 3, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    There was no misspeak. He said not only what he felt but what the entire GOP agenda is about. The last time there was such a separation of wealth and such class warfare (started and kept up by the GOP), there was a revolution, a guillotine, a queen not understanding that not having enough money to buy bread and telling them to eat cake was the wrong thing to do, and a little fellow named Napoleon coming into the story. This is more proof that the GOP have NO understanding or grasp of history and are trying to repeat it. Bush passed laws reminiscent of 1930's Germany, these current GOPers are harkening back to pre-revolutionary France.

    The GOP want to be run out of power. That's the only explanation I can think of for such stupidity, arrogance and dictatorial aspirations. Do they actually think they can keep pushing to destroy 98% of the public and there not be results they won't like? They get voted out, they lose power, they become merely a footnote in history.

    February 3, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Name Carolyn

    When your are running for the highest office in the country you have to be able to think before you speak & think on your feet. No this is how he felt when he made the comment.

    February 3, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. coolbreeze

    Seriously guys, is it not the cayman islands and Swiss offshore accounts a haven for money laudering.

    February 3, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Sunny

    Personally, I think Romney just exposed the GOP for their BS. He knows there should be a safety net in place, just like we all know that. The Republicans want to tear it down, but certainly not to "help the poor."

    Romney! Stop twisting your views and pandering to this crazy hijacked GOP establishment! Be yourself man.

    February 3, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Taylor

    What ever I believe the America People are smarter than that ...........and the mis-speak and lies are not going to jive this time around. We have seen their true colors.........Listen and Learn and what we have learn is the you Mitt and the others (GOP) are full of it. You will do and say anything for you own benefits. You really dont what the White House to lead you want it to control. Because RICH people like you want everything and need that power to feel complete.. So go play with you no tax monies oversea and continue controlling that !

    February 3, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Puddin

    Romney and many of us speak about the "poor" in a tone of such disdain. However, not all people are poor because they are lazy, no-goods who want a hand-out. There are those who cannot help themselves due to a health problem, or they may be young widows with small children, etc. My bible tells me we are to help the poor and weak among us. Additionally, by using tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes, isn't Romney (and others) doing the same as a lazy, no-good wanting a hand-out, just in a different way? We should all remember; none of us came into this world with any money, and we will go out the same way. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man (person) to enter the kingdom of God." Matt. 19:24.

    February 3, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Ron

    ****Again I say, do not focus on this nonsense fellow Dems. This is NOT the issues. He DID NOT mean to say he doesn't care about the poor!! Please stop it, it makes us look like hem! Instead..let's focus on what he said and did mean!! "The poor has safety nets and "IF", there are problems we can try and fix it"" See that if suggest his disconnect, with the poor and the programs, that is the real story here. Also the interviewer should have asked do you plan to get your message across to the poor and middle class when you have NEVER been neither.

    February 3, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  16. Papa_D

    Mr. Romney has said the exact same thing at least twice before, on camera, during this campaign. His apology is phony, like so many of his statements.

    February 3, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Jeremiya

    Give the guy a break, he either had Freudian slip or he forgot he is not talking to his party at private fund razing.

    February 3, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. GrogInOhio

    "...a rare moment for a candidate known for his discipline on the campaign trail." WHAT??? If anything, Romney is completely undisciplined. Granted, compared to Newt he may appear to be so, but a "disciplined" candidate does not say "Corporations are people, my friend" or "Bet $10,000? $10,000 bet?" or "I like to be able to fire people" or "I feared getting a pink slip". CNN should remove this part of that paragraph. It makes the writer look stoopid.

    February 3, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. Jen B

    II don't think he "misspoke", he sounded sincere. He is totally out of touch with the reality of life for many of this country's citizens who are struggling.
    He would never get my vote, even if he offered me a million of his dollars.

    February 3, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why is it that everytime these Cons speak the truth they try to convince us that they lied?

    February 3, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. BLKMANinAmerica

    Right................ok. Say Mitt Romney i have some broken watches I could sell you man!

    February 3, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Whatever. This isn't the first time Romney has "misspoke" this particular statement. It was the first time a journalist actually asked him to clarify what he meant. A novelty in itself, although he still flubbed his explanation.

    February 3, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Rooney

    I love to look at everyone's comment's because Liberal's are so funny. I was once a stupid liberal myself but after I voted for Obama I said never again. I look back and can't believe I ever had that way of thinking. I am not a big Romney fan but Obama has GOT TO GO. I never thought I would say that I miss W

    February 3, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. John

    Note the pro-Romney bias in this article: "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." Politicalticker's un-named writer is saying that Romney simply chose his words poorly by describing his comment on the very poor as a rare moment (of saying the wrong thing, like Romney contends.) The best thing about Romney? Young people in the business world can use him as an example of how you have to behave and come across to rise to the top in business.

    February 3, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Steve

    He misspoke, allowed his personal view to appear.

    Let them eat cake!.

    February 3, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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