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. AmericanSam

    Yeah I don't think Romney dislikes poor people, and Ron Paul was right to defend him for it. I just don't think Romney really understands what poor people are going through. Romney says he's worried about the middle-class (another group he can't really empathize with), but you know, poor people just wish they had the same problems that the middle-class is having right now. I'm going to get attacked for defending the poor because many Republicans equate being poor with being lazy, but I really don't think that's it. How can you seize opportunities if there are so few opportunities?

    February 4, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, Given his newsletters and such, Paul is quite familiar with supposedly not really meaning what he said. Also, Nice to know Paul's defense of Romney was that he just doesn't say what he means.

    February 4, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. JasonD

    Its amazing that there are still ppl out there, including on this post, that think Ron Paul is "crazy" or a "joke" or my favorite.......would let sick people die on the streets. Get an F'ing clue!!!!! Do some research. There are video's on Dr. Paul on YouTube going back 20+ years AND HIS MESSAGE HASNT CHANGED. Yes he has a great sense of humour but he is a true intellectual, gentleman and the ONLY one of these sleazeball presidential candidates that wants to become president SOLEY for purpose of putting him in a position where he can really help the people of this country.......and not so that he can continue taking orders from the elites and country running this country into the ground.

    February 4, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. old bear

    Ron Paul has more integrity than any other politician. He has been saying what he honestly believes all along. I do not agree with his ideas on foreign policy, but I have more respect for him than any other politician.

    February 4, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. TewksburyBob

    People like to take things out of context. He was just making a point that we have good safety nets in place. It drives me nuts when I read about the children starving in this country. It should not happen. We The People do not want that to happen in this country and there may be some good size holes that need to be plugged. Normally, I just think it is bad parents abusing their children but I really do not know. My town has a 5% unemployment rate and I still donate to the local food pantry on a regular basis. No one should go hungry in this country.

    February 4, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. steve

    Ron Paul really is a class act. Can you imagine if Newt or Santorum were asked that question, that'd have pounced on it to gain a political advantage.

    February 4, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Alex

    Kudo's to Ron for his integrity.

    February 4, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Maria

    Romney is fraud not matter how icing and dressing you put on it. Lipstick on a pig is still a pig

    February 4, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. diridi

    You got to be an idiot to vote for any of the Republicans having seen the destruction that is taking place for long time.....

    February 4, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Bonderman

    Ron Paul 2012. Get with the times people. If he does not get win the election, he will lay the ground work for candidates that will come along later to represent us in the future. This is an intellectual revolution where things that make sense and are logical will be what really matters.

    February 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Rob in Det

    Ron paul is a fool like his son,oh , dont think anyone forgot about the newsletters.

    February 4, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Jay

    If you don't like what Romney says, give him a few days, he will flip- flop.

    February 4, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Robdog1955

    Who of you does not realize who pays the bills? The middle class has always paid the bills and always will. So goes the middle class; so goes the nation. Granted, the rich pay our pay checks but the rich need the middle class as much as the middle class needs them. The poor therefore depend on the rich and the middle class. Why else would Obama see the need to take care of the middle class. He and Romney are one and the same on this issue and this is as it should be.

    February 4, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. John Smith

    I am still waiting to read comments about how any Rep President has ever improved the well-being of the day-to-day American. Please list those specific policies for the recent 10 years, starting with the Bushes. I will await your comments!

    February 4, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. cgs

    Paul is not the candidate for me but he's an honest, class-act!

    February 4, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Mt man

    I would love to see these poor haters try to live on the $12 a day welfare recipiants get from the gov.

    February 4, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. rightospeak

    Ron Paul is not only the only presidential sane out of the bunch, he has compassion as shown here. Thank you ,Ron Paul . It is like a breath of fresh air in the sewer of today's politics You are a gentleman and a scholar. You got my vote.

    February 4, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. DOG1

    It's not so much what Romney said because it was taken out of context. It's because he did not understand why it was an issue. He's so out of touch with what life is like for the vast majority of this country that he literally could not conceive of that statement being a problem. Sure he apologized later, but only after some of his "handlers" explained it, probably several times. It's just like him screaming about pulling out of Afghanistan too soon, his sons aren't, and will never be, in danger there, and you can bet that a large amount of the investment profits he makes come from the various industries that are making a buttload of money off of that war!

    February 4, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Another Day In the Idiot Mines

    "Facts are facts, Democrats

    And lies are lies. I know of no Democrats who "want people poor because that is how they get power," Your ability to read minds is sorely lacking.

    February 4, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. cheap stunt

    ron paul is sticking up for romney because he agrees with romney that funding for the poor should be cut..that is all.

    February 4, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Bama Girl for Obama

    It does not matter at all. The only wise choice is Obama!

    February 4, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Mark

    Wow, while politicians get a bad rap, and they deserve it without a doubt, I like Paul's comments. Honestly, with the go-go 24 hour news/media word, anyone would slip-up and say something inappropriate on a rare occasion. It doesn't make it right, what Romney said, but cu duos to Paul to actually just tell everyone to calm down. The man said the wrong thing and should be held accountable, but seriously I can't help but think that he just said something without thinking but didn't mean any malicious behind it like some are making it to be.

    February 4, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. ben

    If Paul is so honest, then why doesn't he come clean about his racist newsletters he knew about and helped edit?

    February 4, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Bugs

    We have an Attorney General that has admitted he lied before Congress and was clearly involed in Fast and Furious and all the Ticker is interested in is destroying Republican candidates. We need to start talking about how the Obama admistration is playing slight of hand tricks in order to force their policies upon the AMerican people.

    February 4, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. doug

    John Smith, any objective observation of Republicans in Congress showing them fighting against Democrat who are looking to take away every Americans right and freedoms, looking to take away their wealth, looking to trap poor people in their great society plan more than satisfies your question.

    Go ahead and observe how people treat their fellow Americans in the bluest parts of America, how come such hatefulness, selfishness, and a total disregard for human life is never witnessed in the red parts of America?

    From day one Obama, Biden, Pelosi, and every Democrat for that matter have never shown any desire to work with the other side, in fact that have made it clear that they hate them and wish them harm. If someone doesn't vote Democrat Obama has stated that he sees them as the enemy, Biden calls them terrorists, and Pelosi had some crazy talk about trying to put together a list of Americans right of center and going after them based upon their opposition to the NYC Hamasque.

    All a waste of time, I know, if you cared about the truth and facts then you wouldn't be a loyal Dem in the first place.

    February 4, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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