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. Myth Romney is soo Plastic and FAKE he makes Callista Gingrinch looks REAL

    Myth Romney doesnt care about the poor, and so millions of Americans dont care about Myth Romney!!!

    Kiss that Presidency goodbye Mittens!!!

    February 3, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Lisa C

    Ode to the infamous "I misspoke"!! Canon to left of them; Canon to the right of them, then on went the charge of the Light Brigade.

    Only the nerd in me would attribute Mitt's "misspoken" event to the miscommunication during the Battle of Balaclava.

    February 3, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Man DeLorean

    No, Mitt, when you do lots of interviews, sometimes you just slip up and say what's on your mind...

    February 3, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Jess C

    Blame is on Freud.

    February 3, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. kyle

    I watched the interview, what did Romney say that was wrong?

    February 3, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Debby

    Oh silly of him to come out with this. I understood perfectly what he meant, and he was not dissing the poor. The media blew this one out of proportion.

    February 3, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. amf140

    Indeed it was a terrible comment but he did apologize. When was the last time you heard our arrogant, Campaigner-in-Chief ever apologize for anything. A true leader is humble and takes responsibility for any mistakes he or anyone under them might make. Please take as an example our military leaders – they are constantly stepping up and being accountable for not only their actions but for everyone under their command (ie: General McChrystal). You will never see any of them "throw anyone under the bus' – which is most common of or political, so-called leaders. I guess that these traits are not taught in Harvard Law School.

    February 3, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Romney has run like a scalded dog from his signature accomplishment, Straight, because he knows the universal mandate that Gingrich championed and he implemented is now equated with " socialized medicine". Even for a politician, he is extraordinarily willing to shape his message to whomever is in front of him and dangles a check or an endoresement. The ridicule being directed at him here over an inartful comment is indicative of the mistrust he has provoked amongst both conservatives and liberals. It is his transparent lack of a moral core we object to, and that is evident in his claim that he " missopke". He did not misspeak, he finally said what ha truly believes, that the poor don't need help even though his support of the Ryan Plan would remove that safety net. His lack of a moral core and compass is what gets him into trouble, and will kill his chances of winning.

    February 3, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. v_mag

    Politically, he should have left this one alone. Now that he's tried to walk it back, it stays in the news, and it gives people more to talk about, and that is bad for Rom-money. To some on the right, it will make him look weak and apologetic. To those more normal folks, it will make them more sure that he's trying to cover up his real feelings. This "misspoke" statement escalates his problems and shows Rom-money to be more out of touch and bungling.

    February 3, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Redleg56

    Shoouldn't some with Ivy League MBA and JD degrees perform better than this?

    February 3, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. dreamer96

    Gee Mitt you misspoke or spoke your true feelings...either way you do that a lot it seems...Did you ever misspoke to those workers in the companies you bought out..

    February 3, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. DAN

    Misspoke? Aw the arrogance of a rich man who also says he doesn't care about the rich but wishes to have power along with his wealth while many thousands fall into that so called safety net. Does he consider the struggles of those in that safety net? NO he would rather help the rich like many republicans who think they are the lifesavers for those who have fallen into the safety net, by keeping their taxes low which in turn will help the economy. Hogwash! It will just help the rich to maintain their wealth while many struggle with low wages and fixed incomes. Like Jesus said, for those given much much is required! If all the rich would take this to heart the world would not have so many problems and many people would be living happier lives!

    February 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. LIP

    Okay, there are a lot of poor people in this country and damned if they haven't been well cared for by the government. The real problem, just like Romney said, is the people that provide the jobs, the wealthy and the middle class and those are the people we need to be concerned about. No more class warfare dear liberal media; you are going to destroy this country if you keep up with this nonsense. Please pay attention to the facts and stop misquoting politicians you don't agree with.

    February 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |

    his prime focus was to help the middle class, a group he sees as “most hurt” by the Obama administration.

    Umm, I think the middle class has been hurt by the ultra-rich conservatives for a long, long time.

    February 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. Obamajoe

    not a big deal,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,overall he is still the best for GOP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    The safety nets are gone thanks to the mis-spending in Washington. The poor don't have those safety nets. The middle class don't have them. The rich have them. They're called bank accounts in the Caymans or Switzerland.

    February 3, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Obamajoe

    Paul has the best heart among 4 of them,,,,,,,,,,,but,,,,,you know,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,most voters are not that good,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Paul won't win,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    February 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Dana

    Olivia: I totally agree with you!! I am single, no kids and I don't qualify for the safety nets either!! I go to work everyday rain or shine, sick or well and I am one paycheck away from living on the streets!! I would rather have a better paying job than get food stamps!! I would rather work than sit at home and collect a check!! Ask Mitt what is his plan for not only jobs, but jobs with benefits and decent pay!

    February 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. apple pie

    One gaffe I could overlook. But when there's a pattern of them around the same issue (e.g. the rich and poor), red flags should go up for anyone. One needs to add this latest "I'm not concerned about the poor" to the man's previous offhand comments: "I'll bet you 10,000 dollars," "I like firing people," "corporations are people too," "just let the housing market bottom out," constantly defending the rich, saying relatively nothing on behalf of the poor, and you begin to get a more complete picture. Even other conservatives, not just Gingrich, are criticizing his apparent callousness. (Peggy Noonan is appalled.) Words and phrasing matter. Together these comments should tell anyone where Romney's head is at: out of touch.

    February 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Meme

    Reminds me of a Christmas Carol... "are there no poor houses?"
    Seriously doubt he misspoke, this is his lifestyle and probably 60% of us don't matter. Do we really want a "leader" so far out of touch? Or do we really care anymore?
    My biggest question is, what does Romney consider "middle class"?

    February 3, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. bertha59

    Every single politican who says something quite atrocious claims to have misspoken.

    February 3, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Reason

    Thank you Mitt for getting it right the first time. It's too bad that you were forced to apologize when no error was committed just because the P.C. nutts cry foul. Let's focus on what's broken in our system and change it. The rich are rich because of their ingenuity, good fortune and hard work. What help do they need? None. I do agree, however, that they should be taxed just like the rest of us. 10-15% is crazy. They should be taxed 20 – 30% just like the rest of us. The poor are poor because all they are qualified to do is work at McDonald's or the front door at Walmart or the sad reality that that they don't work at all. I understand that the economy has contributed to some of this, but poverty is not new since the economic down turn of 2008. What they lack in income, the government makes up for in other programs such as food stamps and housing assistance. If they want to better their lives, there are programs out there to help them thanks to the taxes from the middle class of America. The middle class works hard to make $40,000 to $70,000 a year and can still barely keep heads above water. Thank you Mitt for remembering the work horse of America. -- Bring on the negative reviews and comments. You naysayers are all part of the problem.

    February 3, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    The left is desperately trying to derail the Romney train from arriving at the Whitehouse with these lame little out-of-context word games. The fact is that people are worrying about themselves and their family and don't have a whole lot of time and money left over to worry about others. Too many people in this country have gotten used to being taken care of by others and the government. That has to change if this country is to survive. As many have said, the "safety net" has to be a trampolene and NOT a hammock.

    February 3, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. zac

    If Mitt didn't care about the poor why would he give so much to charitable causes? I would say that Mitt cares just as much if not more then he political rivals about the poor and for people to continue to rant on about something that was very clearly taken out of context obviously show’s ignorance.

    February 3, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Maine LIberal

    at first it was "media taking it out of context", now its a mistatement. meaning he was caught mid-flip on a flop

    February 3, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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