February 4th, 2012
01:25 AM ET
10 years ago

Paul defends Romney on 'poor' comment

(CNN) - While some opponents of Mitt Romney seized on his now-famous "misstatement" about the poor this week, Ron Paul defended his Republican presidential rival on Friday.

"I don't believe for a minute that if Mitt Romney was sitting here, that if he released everything in his heart, he (would say): 'You know what, the truth is, I really don't care about poor people.' That isn't–I just don't believe that," Paul said in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

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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 they have a government-backed safety net in place. He added, however, that "if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that."

His remark quickly sparked an outcry that forced the former Massachusetts to spend much of the day clarifying his comment and providing fuller context.

Ultimately Romney conceded Thursday, saying he "misspoke."

“When you do I don’t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong, and I misspoke,” Romney said in an interview on KSNV, a CNN affiliate in Las Vegas.

Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, as well as top Democratic groups, took swipes at Romney over the remark, hitting the candidate as insensitive.

But Paul, who will compete with Romney in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, said the comment was overblown.

"I think it was a big issue because of politics, because of the opposition, the demagoguing, the media jumping on this," Paul said. "Actually, I think I ended up probably defending him more than he defended himself."

The libertarian Texas congressman, instead, faulted Romney's economic plans for his slip-up.

"I think the problem is he's a victim of his own economic theories, rather than him being cold and heartless," Paul said.

Also see:

Romney on 'poor' comment: I misspoke

McDonnell open to spot as GOP running mate

Romney hits U.S. Taliban proposal

A Trump endorsement: Where imagination and reality meets

Gingrich to challenge Florida delegates

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ron Paul • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. tannim

    @kat: perhaps instead of praying you should get educated instead. Spelling first, then work on base understanding of the foundations of our nation in terms of limited government and individual freedom, then how to get off the government dependency that is destroying this nation.

    Paul is no idiot. The rest of the candidates, however, certainly are. Don't be an idiot yourself.

    February 4, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Cindy

    Ron Paul has been trying to make a place for his son Rand Paul to be in the Romney administration. Paul and Romney have been friends since 2008.

    February 4, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. rya


    'Recall..."Let them eat cake:" and what happened after that.'

    Yep, it was a failure a big central government and a belief that everything came from the government. Be free, don't be a socialist.

    February 4, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. kormathaw

    Anyone who actually fell for this overblown non-issue, should seriously concider if they have the intelligence to choose our future leader.
    Everyone knows what Romney meant.
    "The very poor have a very good safety net, so they are not my primary concern. My primary concern is the improvement of our economy so the poor, the middle class, and the upper class ALL have their standard of living increased."
    This is the cornerstone of Conservatism. as opposed to the Liberal philosophy of, take some points from "A" students and give it to the needy "F" students so all can have a "C". Ignoring the consequences that it takes away all incentive from the A students and the F, not bringing all students up to true Cs, but bringing the good students down to F student motivation and production.

    February 4, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Pete/Ark

    Repeated acts of verbal clumsiness make Romneys qualifications as President suspect...one act of dignity does not elevate Paul to cnsideration.

    February 4, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. tannim

    @Marry: incorrectly label much? The GOP has lost its way from limited government, but Paul is not part of that lost way. If anything, he's the guy with the lantern in the dark still on the right path. So for you to make a classic ignorant voter mistake and put him in the same grouping as the rest of the GOP just because he runs GOP for the ballot access is just wrong. Get educated at RonPaul2012.com and get smart before you make yet another voting mistake by voting for any of the other ones.

    February 4, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. tannim

    @Nathan: more like the statists don't want freedom. Do you? If not, then vote for any of the other ones.

    February 4, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. tannim

    @Peace: No, Paul did NOT say that. That was an audience member heckling from the audience, and Paul explicitly said he would not. Go find the video and watch it as it is easily available and see for yourself. If you're going to spout off then you need to get your facts straight or simply shut up.

    February 4, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. tannim

    @Marie MD: I would think that delivering 4000 babies in your claimed mutual profession matters. I would also think that you're so focused on allopathic nonsense that you don't understand much else. In that vein Paul is your superior.

    Attacking Romney for his family is uncool; stick to his bad policies.

    February 4, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. stephen douglas

    Ron Paul is 100% correct – again. For those who think Ron Paul is extreme in some of his views, well, he is. You have to push for 150% more in order to get 75% of what you want in politics. That is why we have far left and far right. Ultimately, they will meet somewhere in between. I'd vote for Ron Paul in an eye blink if he made it on the GOP nomination. But, he will not be the candidate because he is too honest and has not been corrupted by big business interests or any other special interests. And, defending Romney just shows what a stand up guy he is.

    February 4, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. clarke

    Ron Paul is a good man.

    February 4, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. fissels

    The leftist media love to hammer anyone who makes a "gaffe" except President Obama

    February 4, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. L.A.

    I think there is some truth to everyone's take on this, including Romney's own. While other GOP rivals exploit the "gaffe," Paul at least removes political self-interest from his analysis. That said, I could go along with the idea that Romney is not "cold and heartless," but his words expose him to that charge and show that he can hardly relate to the challenges most Americans face. For instance, "firing" your health insurance company - no, they "fire" you when you get sick.

    February 4, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Marie

    Paul has integrity, wisdom and compassion and the press doesn't. Period. I'm voting for Paul. He has more understanding of the problems of our country and how to reverse them than any of the candidates and certainly more than Mr. Clueless Obama. Paul cares about poor people and he does not want them enslaved, as the Dem. Party is doing to them.

    February 4, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. dana

    Paul can put a pretty coat of icing on it but it's still a heaping pile of crap. Romney is and will always be clueless over economic downturns unless he can buy and sell you

    February 4, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. doug

    Such a lie, but let's say it was true that Romney didn't care about poor people.

    Still a better human being than every single Democrat in America, every Democrat wants to make every American poor and a slave to the government. Decent Americans have a moral obligation to vote Republican, the actions, thoughts, and wishes of the Democrat proves it.

    February 4, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. doug

    Has Romney said that he considers any fellow American his enemy? Obama has, Obama stated on an interview on Univision that every American who is not a Democrat is the enemy, Biden has called them terrorists. These facts prove that every decent american has a moral obligation to vote Republican.

    February 4, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Anonymous

    I think Romney SHOULD ignore the poorest 5% and focus on the middle class, as this will inevitably trickle down and benefit those 5% in a more permanent way than just giving out free money. Besides, I'd be willing to bet that many of those 5% probably choose the lifestyle, or simply deserve it. (think illegal immigrants, drug addicts, welfare queens, etc.) If you want to help the poorest that are simply just unfortunate, make it easier to be a middle class citizen and they will naturally move up.

    And concerning Ron Paul... the guy sticks to his ethics and does what he says he'll do, and omg, calls things the way they are! Too bad the giant Liberal media twists and lies so much about who they don't like. I think CNN had a video up of Romney executing a whole line of poor people with a shot gun, soaked in their blood laughing about how he's the devil. <- this is how bad the media is. I don't see how the GOP has a chance when CNN translates everything they say to fit their needs.

    February 4, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Yar

    You people are all so jaded, uneducated, and sheeplike. If you can't tell Ron Paul is the only person who really understands the issues and has real solutions, then you get what you deserve. Personal responsibility for president – Ron Paul 2012

    February 4, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. parkmore

    Piers Morgan should be fired

    February 4, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Geeza

    This can't be right. A politician that uses logic to back his position rather than emotional beliefs and rhetoric drivel?

    February 4, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Anonymous

    "Still a better human being than every single Democrat in America, every Democrat wants to make every American poor and a slave to the government."

    Wow, exaggerate much? All or nothing language like yours is not only the sign of an irrational mind, it demonstrates quite well how hysterically out of touch with reality you rightwing extremists are.

    February 4, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Nothing new here

    I admire Ron Paul for not lowering his standards, when it comes to all this mud-slinging.
    However, I am still not satisfied with Romney OR Gingrich.
    I just wish Ron Paul would get the nomination for GOP candidate.
    I want Ron Paul – not these other pandering hot-air bags.

    February 4, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Bessy

    Ron Paul is just plain scary and his son Rand is far worse. I agree that Daddy Paul is trying to set his son up as a VP candidate hoping that in 2016 he will run for President. Just take a look at the photos of Ron Paul. Does he look like he should even be running for POTUS ? He is too old and he has too many crazy ideas. This country does not need an old man that does not understand the modern world trying to run things. BTW, I cannot remember his exact words, but he did say something to the extent that he would let people die that had no insurance and that is what triggered that outburst from the member of the audience.

    February 4, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. kooolguy

    Ron Paul is such an honest and straightforward person. I know it is unlikely for him to get the nomination, due to the media who basically picks the nominee, but I would love to see him move higher up in the government and hopefully bring about some change.

    February 4, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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