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. Mark of Tennessee

    He didn't misspeak... The truth just slipped out!!!

    February 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. GeorgeBfromOhio

    "a rare moment for a candidate known for his discipline on the campaign trail"

    What? Seriously??? People are corporations, I enjoy firiing people, I don't make that much from my speaking engagements (S700K last year), I'll bet you $10K Governor Perry ... what are you talking about CNN, this guy's out of touch mentality and shamefully flip flopping on every core issue to pander to the right verbal misshaps are non stop and pathetic.

    February 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. S.C. Jett

    Just vote!

    February 3, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Tex71

    Poor Mitt. He tries so hard to "resonate with the middle class" – "relate to working people" – probably sticks post-it notes to his mirror with slogans like that written on them. "Visualize working for a living!" "Imagine being laid off!" The problem is that he simply is not able to put himself in our shoes. For Mitt to understand the middle class is as impossible as a middle class working stiff to understand what it is like for your butler to wake you every morning with coffee and eggs benedict in bed (cooked by your personal 5-star chef) and a copy of the Wall St. Journal – you sip your coffee and look out the window where the groundskeepers are manicuring your 55-acre lawn; birds are chirping, sun is shining, and you made $60,000 while you were sleeping.

    February 3, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Nothing new here

    I don't think Romney 'misspoke'. I think he said what he truly believes.
    Even though I do agree with his assessment of the middle-class having it rough right now, and we DO, I don't think Romney really understand what it is like to have really work for a living.
    The middle-class is caught in the middle of this economic war – very true. But someone like Romney will never understand what it is like to work a 8-to-5 living, and have to pay many taxes and play by the rules.
    The 'rules' don't always apply to the rich and well-connected.

    February 3, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. 5041360

    mitt it was no mistake- it was stupid- live with it- you will make another statement just as offensive- give it up mitt – you will never be president– just like your daddy!

    February 3, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Independent Voters

    We dont think you misspoke. Romney you are for the rich people.
    Romney does not like poor people.

    February 3, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. tanu

    I think it was a Leona Helmsley moment. Remember–" It is little (poor) people who pay taxes. I am not supposed to pay tax."

    February 3, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    The problem, truth, is that you have slammed Obama for the same "lame little out-of-context word games", so posts like yours have little bearing. Conservatives from Limbaugh to Gingrich to Peggy Noonan have show their dismay or disgust at Romney's pattern of " stereotypic Republican behavior" ( to use Limbaugh's statement), so please don't think this is simply an attempt to derail the Romney train: you can't derail something that keeps kicking off its own wheels. Its rather sad that a self-confessed conservative would not be concerned about the welfare of others, since the bad fortune of your neighbors affects everyone, but I guess you don't like your neighbors much. What has to change is applauding greed over compassion: exahaulting those traits that we were taught in Sunday School as wrong does not elevate us, it only diminishes us.

    February 3, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Bill, NY

    If this chucklehead get into the White House grab your ankles!

    February 3, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Maxx

    No Idea Whatsoever

    Romney has no idea whatsoever of what is meant by being 'poor'. The word poor is NOT a part of his vocabulary since it demeans his aristocracy and wealth. He obviously, as he clearly articulate, is NOT concerned about the poor. For Mitt, the poor could die...they are NOT on his presidential priority list...he is NOT and will NEVER fight for their cause.

    Does Romney realize that the middle class is being converted to the lower (poor) class? He did not misspoke in anyway, this is a willful statement which reflects how out-of-touch Romney is with the middle and poor class.

    There's NO reason why we should seek to elect Romney as president. see?...he has NO idea of what the poor is experiencing at this time.

    February 3, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. ancil 77

    mitt you seam to keep making these statement that you have to back tract from and you say that you want to be persident. dont you know as persident everyone is his concern no matter how poor or what color .when you are persident you are not the persident of some but of all you already eliminate. the poor who is next .ancil 77

    February 3, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. Malty

    Sorry kids, Romney just misspoke (what he said is not what he meant). He's human and unlike Obama, he doesn't always have a teleprompter in front of him. Remember Obama's "visiting 57 states" comment?

    February 3, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. vlm98

    Oh please this is nothing compared to Obamas: "Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy" least Romney is admitts he said something dumb...Obama just shoots from the hip.

    February 3, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Jewels

    Not a chance that he'll get myy vote. I don't like his Bain history and I don't believe you say something you don't mean.

    February 3, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. wsest

    Doesn't matter. All you on here have already decided who (or what party at least) you will vote for, me included.

    February 3, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Loren, Keene NH

    So all you left liberal have never misspoke and our President has never either huh? How about the shovel ready job statement he made while laughing for an example.

    Obama has done nothing to help me, the middle class. You all love him...getting food stamps, medicare, medicaid and welfare or know "safety nets". If so, shut up!

    February 3, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Malty

    Also, what is the deal with all the slander and half truth comments on this board. Romney is a very qualified candidate for president. He has more experience and has put more people to work than our current leader. Also, he's paid more in taxes than probably everyone on this board.

    People know what he meant, but want to change the meaning of his words for their own gain. Read the comment again in context. Even liberals can figure this one out, but I'll spell it out: There are safety nets in place for those that are poor. Romney's policies are aimed at restoring what has been lost in the middle class.

    February 3, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Rod from Chicago

    He didn't MIS-SPEAK, the daddy's money, pompous jackazz said just what he meant. The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. He must have his Christian principals too far behind his wallet in his back pocket. Jesus was MOST sensitive and aware of the poor. They were his BIGGEST concern. Please don't vote for this guy.

    February 3, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Eldridge

    wether he misspoke or not he's telling the truth. there are provision s already set up in this country for the poor and rich. the middle class who are the blue collar of the U.S. are getting screwed!

    February 3, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Rein

    Romney KNOWS about what ordinary Americans face in the real world. He has experience from years ago when he used to have a job. He used to go to work too.

    February 3, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Sirned

    Nope, don't buy it....You have said the same thing in different words many times...You just said it unfiltered and got caught this time....

    February 3, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. alex

    You did not misspeak. You are in the back pocket of Wall Street and you really do not care about the poor people of this country.

    February 3, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. sanjosemike

    A lot of people are asking these questions, including liberals:

    1. Am I responsible to pay for children you had but could not afford?
    2. Am I responsible to pay for your retirement when you didn't even try to save for it?
    3. Am I responsible to pay for your healthcare when you smoke and ride motocycles?
    4. Am I responsible to pay for your children's education?
    5. Am I responsible to bail out your home loan when you purchased a house you couldn't afford?

    A lot of people are asking these questions. Maybe YOU are too.


    February 3, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    That millionaire, Fair, earned his way up. Willard never did.

    February 3, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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