Romney says Obama will 'divide 1% vs. 99%'
February 23rd, 2012
09:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney says Obama will 'divide 1% vs. 99%'

Milford, Michigan (CNN) - Mitt Romney invoked the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement Thursday when asked how he would defend himself against efforts by President Barack Obama to paint him as a "wealthy Wall Street capitalist."

Romney was responding to a question from a member of a tea party group in Michigan, which came during a campaign town hall that focused generally on the economy and the role of the federal government.

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The event's moderator told Romney the economic issues at the forefront of the campaign would "provide Barack Obama many opportunities to demonize you as a wealthy Wall Street capitalist who has taken advantage of the system for your own personal gain."

"While you haven't done anything against the law, President Obama might twist your record and take it out of context," the moderator said. "How do you defend yourself and turn the tables and go on the offensive?"

Romney seemed to agree with the premise, and warned his supporters that Obama would try to separate Americans into the haves and the have-nots in order to win reelection in the fall.

"He will divide the 1% versus the 99%, and that's very tempting to fall into that kind of attack," he said. "When you're in trouble, finding a scapegoat and attacking is a ploy that's been used over the years by people in trouble."

Just a day earlier at a CNN Republican debate in Arizona, Romney's GOP rival Rick Santorum attacked the former Massachusetts governor for using the slogans of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"Governor Romney even today suggested raising taxes on the top 1%, adopting the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric," Santorum said, in a reference to Romney's tax proposal. "I'm not going to adopt that rhetoric."

In an event earlier that day, Romney said he would limit deductions and exemptions for higher-earning Americans while lowering taxes on all individual taxpayers by 20%.

Romney told the Chandler, Arizona audience that his plan was targeted to help the middle class, explaining he would "make sure the top 1% keeps paying the current share they're paying or more."

Romney's campaign events have been disrupted by Occupy protesters on several occasions. The GOP candidate has pushed back, arguing that his policies would be more successful than Obama's in turning around the economy and creating jobs.

Also see:

Five things we learned from Wednesday's debate

Detroit Free Press endorses Romney

Candidates enter critical phase after possible final debate

Obama to talk energy and gas prices at Miami speech

Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Mitt Romney
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Namejohnnyc

    4 more yrs for Pres.Obama will make 99% 1% United $tates,yes $$$$ for a All

    February 24, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  2. Guess What

    is the teleprompter on for the muslim obama, maybe he will appologize for being an idiot, thats not in the teleprompter, obama the bum needs to be IMPEACHED

    February 24, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  3. Marie MD

    Yes, flip flopper, because you with your multi million stash in the US and outside the US are not doing a good job of it yourself.
    The President grew up without the millions that you have taken for granted since you popped out. You are the one who made $10 just from interest of your "legal" holdings.
    If anyone is making this a war of haves and have nots it's the teapublikans.

    February 24, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  4. GonzoinHouston

    Deliberately or not, the GOP has been taking from the middle class and giving to the rich for 30 years now, and we need to end the practice. The rich will always have and get more, and that comes with capitalism in general. The evil is in the current degree. In the last decade in particular, the top few per cent have become significantly richer, and the rest have held even or lost ground. This is a de facto "redistribution of wealth".

    We don't need to swing to the far left, but we do need to come back closer to the middle.

    February 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  5. Tony

    As Romney said, politicians always accuse the other guys of doing what they are doing themselves. For example, Romney told the Chandler, Arizona audience that his plan was targeted to help the middle class, explaining he would "make sure the top 1% keeps paying the current share they're paying or more." Ask any Republican whether asking the rich to pay more is class warfare. Who is dividing 1% vs. 99% here?

    February 24, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  6. Namryan

    Yeah Mr. Obama will do it, not the policies put in place by Republicans to protect their rich allies!

    February 24, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  7. Namejkane fl

    Good, I hope its true.republicans should be totally kicked out of government at all levels because of there total disregard for the will of three quarters of the American people with their obstructionism and selfish extremism.

    February 24, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  8. independent

    I hope so.

    February 24, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  9. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Yes mitt the flip we envy your money. 99% for obama

    February 24, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  10. The Greedy Old PIgs declared class war on US!

    Wow, if that's the best defense Rmoney can muster, no wonder the GOBP is afraid to nominate him. First, the President did not create the wealth divide nor was he the first to point it out. The GOBP and its psychopathic owners hidden among the elites are the ones who have been engaged in class war for years, as can be seen by their morally and intellectually bankrupt economic policies that have greatly increased wealth and income disparity. Second, it is not misleading or deceptive to point out these historical facts. Third, Rmoney's "defense" falls flat on its face when confronted with the fact that the GOBP is willfully opposing the millionaire tax demanded by three quarters of Americans, including half of GOBP voters. When the spoiled rich kids start circling the wagons while the corporatist media continues to ignore, censor or minimize this story, it becomes quite obvious the corrupting corporate predators running the GOBP have no intention or easing up in their war on the poor, middle class, environment, women, etc.

    PS to Flipper: President Obama is not the one in trouble; you are.

    February 24, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  11. diridi

    Mitt Romney is a plain Idiot. Just watch on Youtube, type "When Mitt Romney came to Town". Enjoy....How he looted this nation, you tell me.

    February 24, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  12. Wvazoe

    As if they are not already divided?

    February 24, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  13. American

    Mr. 1% Romney is unfortunately lying...again

    In reality, Mitt's so-called tax "plan" would give even more unaffordable & unnecessary tax cuts to the rich, while raising taxes & costs on Americans who can least afford it. Please look up the truth from independent sources.

    And while Romney accuses others of division, Mitt has been unbelievably attacking his fellow Republicans as "Democrats & liberal." A hypocritical & divisive Romney, indeed.

    February 24, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  14. Auzzie

    Is Romney trying to lose this election???

    February 24, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. Anonymous

    As the republican nominee, Romney would have to follow the republican platform. His positions would be the same as the republican lead house of representives.

    February 24, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  16. Fred Riek

    I am so sick and tired of these third-rate presidential wannabees ripping the President for everything under the sun. They are so dishonest in how they portray what is happening that they have no credibility other than with holier than thou Christians and the rabid tea party ilk. I have said it before and feel compelled to say it again, there is no need for the Republican Party and we should not reelect any of them. I am no big fan of the Democratic Party either. I am a moderate Independent and we shall determine who gets elected in November. I think my choice is obvious.

    February 24, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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