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. Jeff

    Yeah, of course he's concerned most with the "middle class", because practically everyone considers themself to be middle class, including most of the rich and the poor.

    February 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Peace

    What Romney said was hurtful and cannot be back tracked anyhow. Here is the example: I have my young sister who is disabled. We all love her. What I can't do is going to her and tell her; We know you can not move. We are here to push you on your wheel chair and if this is not comfortable to you, we have to find another alternative. How will my sister feel after hearing this??? This is exactly what Romney said to the the poor!

    February 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. trashcup

    Amazing how quickly he dismisses his so-called "mistake". Does he think that solves the problem? The REAL problem is that Mitt is so far removed from reality that he has no clue what REAL life in America is all about. Right before he admitted his mistake, he meets The Donald in Las Vegas of all places so he can get his 5 minute endorsement from yet another millionaire. Mitt needs to get out of the chartered jet, get out of the custom campaign bus and start walking among the real people of America. I'll believe him when he talks about helping poor people when he starts walking in Watts in LA or East St. Louis in Illionois and starts talking to some REAL poor people. Somebody ask Mitt how much a gallon of milk costs – he won't have a clue. He's so far above the fray and his handlers won't let his hands get dirty. Sad how he can be so dismissive of those little, petty poor people who already have a safety net that Romney and his cronies want to get rid of.

    February 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Nic_Driver

    Romney is a candidate for the 1%. The only thing he misspoke about was to tip his hand and reveal his true intentions.

    It should be clear to everyone by now that the GOP is no friend to the poor, working poor or middle class. They are the party of greed and corporations.

    February 3, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Thomas

    Five sons who avoided military service.

    Economics has much to do with enlistment.

    February 3, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. FitchGetz

    If Romney cares about the poor, his record will reflect it–like the state healthcare he sponsored as a Governor of Mass. The ridicule posted here is rediculous!

    @ Straight Shooter

    Noooo, what's RIDICULOUS is your justification!! If Mormoney was really concerned for the masses, then why is he in favor of repealing a National Healthcare law that he himself (as GOV of MA) enacted on a state level?? You know, the one that would qualifiy as being part of the "Safety Net".....

    And using Jesus as a comparison? Just stop it. So wrong. So very, very wrong.

    February 3, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. JST

    Haha. Come on, Romney! You didn't misspoke. You are the best representative rich Republicans ever had. Just gotta keep your head down until you fooled the masses into becoming president. Then you can finally lower taxes for the top 1% in the country so that they can buy more junk to help the economy!

    February 3, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Now he says he misspoke because his endless explanations about his statement were utterly unbelievable. He's a first class tool and will NEVER BE PRESIDENT.

    February 3, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. funkymonkey

    "He argued the poor and the wealthy have not been as harshly affected because systems are in place to protect them."

    That's the problem. There are systems in place to protect the wealthy. I am sure that if Romney takes office, the systems that protect the poor will be gutted to further augment the systems that protect the wealthy.

    February 3, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    The Real Tom Paine - 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.
    Conservatives view people that need help as individuals, PEOPLE that need SOME TEMPORARY help to get them through a tough time. We have no problem whatsoever in supporting numerous charitable organzations that help people get back on their feet, with the aid of the people needing the help. These organizations are HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.

    Liberals view people as part of a collective, as you do, that the government is responsible for helping. The "help" that government offers comes with all kinds of strings attached, many of which HURT the recipient of the "help". The "help" becomes a crutch, the crutch becomes an addiction, the addiction becomes a generational lifestyle, namely a permanent government beneficiary.

    Problem is the collective of permanent government beneficiarys is out numbering the rest of society. The gravy train is collapsing under the weight of the tens of millions in it, on it and being pulled by it.

    February 3, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Thomas - Five sons who avoided military service.
    Gotta get with the times man! We've had a volunteer forces for decades. Nobody aviods anything anymore. Last person we heard avoided anything was Bill Clinton going to the UK to study to avoid VietNam.

    February 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Mike

    I don't know why he backtracked. Republicans look down on poor people. Him saying he doesn't care about poor people should be a positive among conservatives I think.

    February 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. JRuss

    after hearing the complete actual comment in context I completely agree – bad choice of words given his situation but factually correct. Unfortunately everyone including our president takes this out of context for political gain.

    February 3, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. abtime

    Everyone knows he spoke from his heart regarding the poor. The sad thing is the poor in the GOP will still vote for him.

    February 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Rebecca

    I think the reason why Romney said that he was not concerned about the poor is because to him the poor are not real americans. The poor are people that should not be seen or heard. They should stay quiet somewhere out of site.

    February 3, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Boo

    I guess Romney's definition of "misspeaking" is saying what he really thinks. This guy panders like noone else.

    February 3, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. REM Rocks

    Doesn't matter. He's gonna be the next President. Let see.... Hummmm. He's a clean living, principled, Godly man of faith who is faithful to his wife, extremely successful, handsome guy who apparently walks the walk, not just talks the talk. He gave 3 MILLION DOLLARS to charity just last year!!! 10% of his after tax income EVERY YEAR to his church. I grew up a Southern Baptist, now Episcapalian, I'm not a Mormon. I can say, I can talk a good game, but I haven't stuck to the commitments that he has. I really respect him. I'm a Gingrich or Santorum guy, but I'd be OK with Mitt in charge of the executive branch. You won't have to worry about any Monica Lewinsky, Watergate, Marilyn Monroe sleeping with kinda mess with him when he is in the White House. He is taking a lot of heat from losers out there and in the media who couldn't do what he does on a daily basis. He uses alcohol, no nicotine, no smoking, no caffeine. All these smart-ass elites, college ivory tower types, pundits, media know-it-alls, and just liberals in general just don't live a principled life like this. I'm sorry, they just don't. So why don't you all go jump in a lake.........He will turn this thing around and get the folks with all the money on the sidelines investing again, and get this country cooking again, kicking butt and taking names, like we used to.

    February 3, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Trex

    Don't worry, Romney!
    In this country, You can be a Republican President and say stupid things constantly.
    Hell, You may be in office 8 years.

    February 3, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Koffi

    Misspoken??? Please, Mitt R. just said louder what he thinks quietly. i don't personally blame him for his comments. Only a middle class person or the one that had lived in the middle class, can talk about middle class concerns.

    February 3, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Fair is Fair
    olivia Dillard
    how can a millionaire understand the poor,
    I guess I have to agree... the millionaire empty suit residing at 1600 Pennsylvania is certainly no exception.◄

    But the person @ 1600 Pennsylvania DOES understand the poor!!!

    Obama 2012

    February 3, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. H.Dean

    I'm so torn. I can't decide between the guy that doesn't care about the poor, and the guy that mocks them.

    February 3, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Paul

    Mitt was right. Too bad his sentences were too long. You go over 5 word limit and you are toast.
    Anyway, I agree with him. If you are really poor you get all kinds of help. Food stamps, medical care, etc. It is not a fantastic life but you are not left alone in the dark. Plus you do not have to pay taxes.
    If you are rich your life is pretty good and you can take care of yourself.Plus you can get most of your income from investments thus reducing tax rate.
    Now if you are the middle guy then you have no food stamps, no free medical care, you have to pay more taxes than guy at the top and guy at the bottom and if something happens, if you lose your job or get crazy medical bills there isn't any help coming. You may have to become super-poor to get some help. Otherwise there is nothing.

    February 3, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. PandoraDoggl

    Can someone explain to me what, exactly, the problem was with what he actually said? AREN'T there programs in place to help the very poor? Are most Americans very poor? Last time I checked, most Americans are somewhere in the middle, and he says he wants to help those people. Odds are, that's you. Sounds like he's in touch with you.

    February 3, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. ljjm

    Oops! Oops! Oops! How will we know if he ever does NOT misspeak?

    February 3, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Justin

    Misspoke should be different than being wrong – accidentally saying Indiana instead of Illinois, or referring to his house in New Hampshire instead of his house in Boston – those are under "Misspoke".

    Admitting he doesn't care about the poor and thinking the "safety net" means they are doing fine aren't in that same category.

    February 3, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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