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. McGuffin

    So... if Ron Paul is right and Mitt Romney actually does care about poor people, then he was just saying what he thought the Republican base wanted to hear, which is "screw the poor people." I'm not sure that's any better.

    February 5, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. depressingreality

    Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are both candidates who understand the presidents job is running the economy. They both have immense economics experience.

    America is way too dumb and rapidly declining to elect guys like Romney or Paul. They prefer Jeremiah Wright's protegee, Barack Obama, or random "save the babies" crusaders like Sarah Palin.

    Intelligence (Romney and Paul) is not invited. America is just too dumb. I love the freedoms I have in this country and I enjoy my life but lets face it, America's nonselective breeding habits and "tolerant" education system have resulted in us living in a real life "idiocracy". Romney and Paul are for the year 3000. Today's cavemen prefer circus freaks like Obama and Palin. The end.

    February 5, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  3. Matt

    I don't think he was sticking up for Romney as much as displaying some intellectual honesty. The media seems to enjoy taking candidates' comments out of context to encourage controversy and conflict, and Dr. Paul didn't take the bait. If only Wolf Blitzer were that smart.

    February 5, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. Derek

    Sometimes it seems like Ron Paul is the only one of these guys that has a brain. I know Ron has no shot, but it'd be nice if Mitt or Newt actually had a clue...

    February 5, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  5. Marry

    @Tired of republican lies it is a mixed crowed today! A few still look to the carrot the GOP/TP (Romney, Gingrich, Santorum (yes!), Paul) are dangling in front of them. Funny, they do not see the stick behind their back!
    @ tannim – You should think a little ahead. Even if Ron Paul was such a visionary person as YOU say – who do you think he would work with in Congress and Senate IF he came near the WH? (I do think his ideas on foreign politics are worth to look into however, will not work – too much money in “Defense”!) And then there is his son – now, here you got a real beauty! Perhaps you should check what his state of mind is (if he has one) and you like what he says? Don’t forget, he was raised by Ron Paul and you cannot really separate that. Makes me wonder what they talked about at the kitchen table….

    February 5, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  6. Colin

    Ron Paul's character is what Newt Gingrich pretends to be like

    February 5, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  7. Chad%Biff

    Ron Paul is a chump. All the Republican candidates are losers. Say hello to 4 more years of Obama.

    February 5, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    @sarah34: "To the idiot who said Ron Paul would let someone without insurance die ..." He did! He had a staffer who didn't have insurance who got cancer and didn't get treatment because he couldn't afford it. When he died, he left his mother with $400,000 of debt.

    You and all the other Ronbots need to go live in a country where Paul's dog-eat-dog mentality is in full swing, where if you're not born into wealth, then tough. When it comes to military action, Paul is too isolationist. It's a sad fact, but America needs some kind of presence in the world – if we don't have it, another country like China or Iran will fill it. President Obama fulfilled his promise to get out of Iraq, and is drawing down in Afghanistan. He also gave the order to eliminate bin Laden and has reduced the effectiveness of al Qaeda. Obama isn't pro-war; he's a realist and is doing what he can to protect our country. Time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 5, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  9. goodlife

    Piers Morgan is in love with himself. the id iot kept interrupting when ron paul talking very important stuff about economy, and wouldn't let ron's message come through. instead, the id iot wasted paul's time on iran which few care about.

    February 5, 2012 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  10. Texman

    I wonder if Paul will be sending Romney a complimentary tin foil hat?

    February 5, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  11. Namejkane fl

    We don't need a bunch of wacky teapublican clowns running the country into the ground,vote dem!!!

    February 5, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  12. Mindie in Indie

    "re-tread" or a New Tire ? No thanks. I think the current set of tires we have is working just fine.

    February 5, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  13. Will

    The problem with elections is that the media only asks: What do you think about candidate A's comments?. It's always the same.for both parties.. They shy away from the real questions, usually leaving those for the pre-established "top 2" candidates.

    Ron Paul has been preaching the same peace policy for 30 years. You can trash talk him for preaching peace rather than war, for wanting the US treasury to control our money rather than the fed, for advocating civil liberties and opposing bills like the NDAA and the Expatriation Act. If that's your idea of a great America, A bankrupt, intrusive war machine that tells everyone what to do then fine, but the man has never swayed from his core beliefs. How many of your politicians can say that?

    February 5, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  14. Marie MD

    @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.
    You paulinites are as pathetic as the palibots! So he delivered 4000 babies, so what? I believe the woman does most of the work anyway. Does that give him the key to your kingdom? He is NOT the only doctor around.
    Give me somebody who saves a heart patient. That takes more skills than this old guy will ever have.

    February 5, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  15. Carl

    Why is it that when whites vote white they are racist but when 97% of blacks vote black they are "loyal" ?

    I voted for Obama in 2008- NEVER AGAIN !

    February 5, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Context, schmontext......With nearly 50 million Americans living at or below the poverty line during the most damaging recession this nation has seen since the Great Depression, Romney's remark was as indefensible as it was revealing. Those insensitive words reflect a man with zero empathy for a huge swath of suffering Americans. Romney isn't a bad man, and he probably would be a decent problem solver in the White House. He can't help it if he feels nothing deep down for the poor. He knows nothing about it.

    February 5, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney is only saying who the GOP/Tea Party represents: the top one percent of wealthiest americans. Some extremist social conservative talk show hosts/entertainers were mad at Romney for suggesting he would fix programs for the poor instead of eliminating them.

    February 5, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. GOP Hate America

    Im voting for Obama

    February 5, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Ritt Money

    I'd vote for Paul if he was nominated, but not for Ritt or Tewt. Guess I'll go with the guy that squashed al Queda and put America back to work.

    February 5, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Milliaman

    It doesn't matter what republican gets the nominee, they will lose. especially with idiotic remarks like these.

    February 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. firebird9999

    The utter glee that Romney exhibits after he's "won" reminds me of a spoiled little rich kid who has gotten his own way at the expense of others. His "mis-speaks" are reflective of his subconscious. He's never been poor, he's never been middle class. He's never even been upper middle class. He's a liquidator who has pocketed millions and allowed us less fortunate folks to scramble to survive. Obama's not perfect but at least he's got a heart. At least he's trying. At least he stands up for us. And he's got my vote.

    February 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Carlin123

    Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum all will just keep driving the car faster toward the cliff. Paul wants to stop it and turn it around.

    February 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. DS

    I am now somewhat disappointed by Ron Paul's continued defence of Romney. They are so far apart policy-wise that I do not understand why Paul is supporting Romney. I hope he sticks with what he stands for and not endorse ROmney. If he does anything as such, that is the end of any support I have for Paul

    February 5, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Brian

    Some truths here, but not all good. I agree the media is making hay with Romney's statements. With his vast wealth, I don't doubt that Romney has done far more for the poor than I ever have. But I also don't doubt that the poor could be far more prominent in his heart than they are, with a lot more compassion and understanding and empathy. He's all about the rich, not the middle class, just like his party...sorry folks it's in the platform. In the trickle-down ladder he is top rung.

    February 5, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Fla.Pete

    Ron is lost,should be in a nursing home.Much like your other Repub idol Reagan,who had to have his wife take over at the end of his first term.If Paul was pres,he'd get rid of cars,go back to horses.With the pressure Barack gets as POTUS,Paul would be dead in less than a year,FACT,his system couldn't handle it,period.WAKE UP AMERICANS,RON PAUL IS TOO OLD,RETIRE HIM...

    February 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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