Romney says Obama will 'divide 1% vs. 99%'
February 23rd, 2012
09:29 PM ET
10 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. Tim in MN

    It not the have's and have nots – it's the HAVE IT ALL's and the rest of us.

    February 23, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    For 30 years, the republican party has waged war against the majority of Americans on behalf of the wealthy. Now the GOPubes have stepped up that divisiveness to include seniors, veterans, 160 million workers, women, college students, poor people, and the uninsured.

    February 23, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Namejkane fl

    Nobody wants to go back to the stone age with these republican mormans, I mean morons. You have no chance. Try 2016!!!

    February 23, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Little Jimmy Truth

    Obama already praised and supported OWS. OWS destroyed America than Tea Party.

    February 23, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. Henry Miller

    It's telling that Obama seems to think that both "wealthy" and "capitalist" are terms of contempt.

    February 23, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Other than lowering taxes on the wealthy, Mittens has no plan.

    February 23, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    The 1% "haves" are pouring obscene amounts of money into the Romney PACs.

    February 23, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. MaryM

    Romney, you are the divisive one. You will lose Michigan because that and many more reasons.

    February 23, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. v1ze

    Perhaps because there _IS_ separation between them? What a concept!

    February 23, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. GI Joe.

    It was class warfare or division when the 1% got everything they could possibly dream of for years and years.

    It's only when the 99% complain that they start putting a tag on everything.

    February 23, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. Conrack

    It's called democracy Mitt, as compared to the 1% always having the table tilted in theri favor so that they rule the 99%. It is time that the 1% realize that they have a stake in what happens to the 99%.

    February 23, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  12. falcon615

    Obama will divide the 99% verses the 1%? That sounds like Obama is uniting 99% of the people. No one will ever have 100%. That sounds pretty darned good. Are you sure you want to use that language, Mitt?

    February 23, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. G

    Mitt Romney has already begun to flip- flop and pander to independent voters for the general election by saying he will "make sure the top 1% keeps paying the current share they're paying or MORE". Romney has done a 180 degree turn. Just days ago, he was against raising taxes on the rich.

    February 23, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. truedat

    If Romney is really most concerned about the middle class (as he stated he is) then he needs to start telling me how he's going to stop the tidal wave of outsourcing of American jobs by healthy corporations. I work for Verizon, a healthy company, but that is not stopping them from outsourcing jobs like crazy and also trying to take away employees pensions and healthcare. oh yeah and they're getting tax refunds while doing this!! Is Romney really the guy who's gonna stand up to the greedy corporate execs? I'm sceptical about that.

    February 23, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  15. Robert O'Brien

    Oh, Mitt, don't be so pessimistic. I'm sure you'll get more than 1% of the vote...

    February 23, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  16. Satberry

    The pathological lier is at it again.Look no further than Bain capital,and that will tell you what Willard thinks of the working class.Let Detroit go bankrupt and I don't care about the poor.In willard's own words.

    February 23, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. PTNY

    Looks like Romney just did the division himself.
    No help from me or the President.

    February 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  18. maf

    Disgusting question – "While you haven't done anything against the law, President Obama might twist your record and take it out of context," the moderator said. This is making the assumption that the President – the PRESIDENT, is going to do something that you can't predict, yet you do and in a negative fashion. The moderator acted in a completely disingenuous manner.
    This is going to get really messy and the GOP better be able to take what they are dishing out!

    February 23, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. Max

    Wall Street Capitalists

    Of course both Romney and Gingrich are Wall Street capitalist who have deep dealings with Freddie Mac. There's no getting away from such label. Just look at the close connections they both have with this capitalistic giant who robbed innocent Americans of the little they had in terms of investments in their homes.

    Go Obama go...go get at him, rather them (Gingrich & Romney). They don't care a damn about the 99%. They are certainly among the 1% along with their other Wall Street Capitalist cronies.

    February 23, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  20. Paul Froehlich

    Remember when we didn't criticize the president on international affairs to present a unified front to the world? I remember when that was requested for President BUsh during 9/11 and afterwards – and generally that is what happened. Does Newt respect that courtesy. No. He always just flouted the rules of courtesy and respect. All to just make a few political points. He is known for bringing the political dialogue to a new low – and he keeps on bringing it down.

    February 23, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. The GOP still doesn't get it!

    Romney can't find anything else to say.

    February 23, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Romney says Obama will 'divide 1% vs. 99%'◄
    And Romney is acting like he has NO SENSE
    President Obama created the 99% – When and Why??
    Just more of the smoke screens and more of the lies!!

    Obama 2012

    February 23, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, I think that the plans for all of the GOP candidates plans will do no good for the economy. All except Paul's plan will increase the debt because they have the mistaken ideas that cutting taxes is the way to go. The problem is that there are too many loop holes and ways for people to avoid taxes. I agree that we need to cut some spending, but cutting taxes shouldn't be done until the debt is lowered. Why can't these guys understand that?

    February 23, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Core Republican Values

    Now that Romney is lying much more, misleading voters, and changing his long held beliefs like a world class hypocrite, I think he will be much more appealing to republicans with core republican values.

    February 23, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. don in albuquerque

    Mittins! Wait!! Already happened-years ago. Started with trickle down. This guy is just to stupid to be president.

    February 23, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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