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. Tyler Durden

    That's right, Willard. We have our pitchforks and torches and we are a comin to storm your castle!!!!

    February 23, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. MikeH

    Oooh, Romney, that's a smart tactic. Remind the struggling middle class why they should hate what you represent.

    For me personally, the 1% better learn the lesson of history, fast, that they always fall unless they relinquish part of their power. Boot-licking toadys like 'Four and the Door' will haver no where to hide.

    February 23, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Jesse

    Both of them get tons of $$$$ from Wall street (although Romney edges Obama out on that).

    With that in mind, it's no wonder so many people are rooting for Ron Paul, who doesn't have a single corporate backer.

    February 23, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  4. Bill in Florida

    Romney wants the world to think that he's an idiot so that the brainless GOP voters will support. Too bad too, because Romney's probably quite intelligent, which is anathema to the GOP. There has been a huge divide between the 99% and the 1% since Reaganomics in the 1980s.

    February 23, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  5. gammay

    "He will divide the 1% versus the 99%, "

    Already happened, that's where you stole the quote, and the President had nothing to do with it.

    February 23, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  6. Jilli

    Obama's not doing the dividing – the division has been growing over the last 30. Here's hoping Obama can reverse the trend because lord knows Romney would keep feeding the 1% at the expense of the remaining 99%.

    February 23, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Anthony... proud tax payer

    And if the 99 percent vote against the 1percent, then I like Obama's odds.
    Maybe the middle class might get a fair shake this time around.

    February 24, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  8. ct

    another lie. dont you see its the republicans that has seperated the country, with all the negative rhetoric and radical views

    February 24, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |

    Romney divvies up the 99% to the 1%. He is the ultimate huckster. A guy who made a VAST personal fortune by OUTSOURCING middle class jobs to commies in China is not someone who will get my vote – NOT EVER. This corporate raider, job killing, profiteer deserves only to run as Chinese Premier.

    February 24, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Irish189

    if 99% of the country really is united, thats just impressive no matter how much you dislike it, 99% of this country wouldn't agree what color the sky is , what the presidents faith is, or what the real definition of a Santorum is

    February 24, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  11. Inciteful

    Newt had all but fallen off my radar, but this response to Obama's misplaced apology put him back on the scope. Obviously, Karzai is playing the United States for the fools that we are when it comes to dealing with corrupt officials in the Middle East. Karzai plays us for fools and Obama is all-to-ready to play the clown.

    February 24, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  12. Investment Advisor

    Any policy Romney puts in place would be heads and shoulders above Obamas attempts. Keep your class warefare Mr. O...we will take sound business sense over political posturing any day. How about those gas prices America? Where is President Obama when the people are getting hammered now and bludgeoned to death this summer???

    February 24, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  13. mk1

    No, Republicans have successfully done that themselves and are now trying desperately to blame it on the President. Americans are much smarter than to fall for that lie. Nearly every con policy is geared to protecting the 1% while screwing over the 99%.

    February 24, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    They only call it "class warfare" when the 99% fight back ...

    February 24, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. Charlie McPherson

    Oh, what fun this is.

    So, Willard wants to lower taxes on all Americans, does he? Was Willard sick the day they taught economics and finance in business school?

    Let's say the government has four basic expenditures for which it levies taxes: overhead (Salaries, electric bills, etc). defense, domestic spending, education. And we'll also say it spends an even 25% on each area. So it levies taxes on all its citizens in order to pay its bills and keep the lights on. Fine.

    However, and I know this is a simplistic argument, when you tell all people paying taxes "listen, you're all going to have your taxes decreased by such and such an amount", you have to compensate for that money some way if you expect to meet your budget. Similarly, if you take a pay cut at work, you either have to decrease the amount of money you spend or make up the missing revenue some other way. You can't just cut taxes without making it up somewhere else in the budget.

    Which brings us to spending cuts. This year the Republican faithful are talking about cuts to welfare, social security, Medicaid and Medicare, federally funded education, etc. Spending cuts have to be made judiciously. For instance, cutting education and Social Security just doesn't seem like an intelligent idea. We need to teach the young so they can lead later and the social safety net, I think, needs to stay intact. If we're making cuts, I'd suggest cutting subsidies to oil companies for exploration (they're making record profits, we need not hand them anymore), corporate welfare, Congress' paychecks (based solely upon the quality of their work lately) and most of all, cutting the money we spend on our empire. We need to pull troops home from all over the world, from the War on Drugs to all the tiny islands and soverign nations we occupy and consolidate ourselves here. Call it fortress America if you like. The roads crumble, cities black out, schools no longer teach, yet we can stil afford to take young people and turn them into dead soldiers in order to protect wealthy peoples' interests overseas.

    So, Mr. Romney, when you decide to get serious about cutting taxes, please let us know. And if this is how your personal finances are handled, I'd expect your checkbook to be regularly overdrawn by thousands of dollars. Thank you.

    February 24, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  16. scommag

    "wealthy Wall Street capitalist."

    ^ this is exactly what Mitt Romney is.

    wall street nearly destroyed our economy, and now via Willard Romney they wish to take over the country.

    February 24, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  17. J.V.Hodgson

    Obama did not create the divisive situation it has existed for along time, but has only recently been made an issue by Joe public in the form of the occupy wall street. He should look at Republican budget proposals from Rand Paul every $andpenny of the savings were being demanded from the Mr average. if that was not divisisve I dont know what was or is, on either side.
    Reducing taxes will not help balance the budget the Obama corporate tax cut cost $700bn over 10 years... and according to Republican will either have to be funded from government spending cuts or its more likely usual claim they pay for themselves... they do not in a recession.
    He has so many thing he says he is going to do which spend money and not a peep about how he will pay for it.

    February 24, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  18. Anon

    I don't think that there's any debate that Obama has more in common with that 1% than he does with the 99%, but it's hard to stomach hearing Romney claim that he's being used as a scapegoat.. Hording wealth and leaving less and less of the remaining wealth to be divided by more and more people is just setting this country's economy up for an inevitable collapse.

    February 24, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. Thomas

    1% Romney , five sons who avoided military service with trust funds in the Caymon Islands.

    America , America , God shed his crace on thee

    February 24, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  20. Jerry

    When you have nothing good to say about your administration's policies; the best alternative is to attack, attack, and attack some more. Take the attention away from the real issues. The current president has neither the hat nor the cattle. On the other hand, he DOES herd some cattle without wearing a real hat: all the misguided Democrats and the media that follow him blindly and keep drinking his spiked Cool Aid.

    The current president continues to lie his way to the American people. The worst part is that some Americans continue to drink his spiked Cool Aid; thereby causing some of us to develop amnesia and blindness to the facts.

    America, lets wake up. Lets not allow this president and his moronic administration to continue on the path of destruction for our beloved country.

    If I may suggest; we do have a Silver Bullet: Vote this administration completely out so that we can start repairing the damage done by this president and his bought and paid for cronies.

    Did I mention that I am a life-long Democrat?

    God help America!!!

    February 24, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. Marry

    Mr. Romney is wrong again! It is the GOP/TP with their stance of “NO” that has destroyed a decent working of Government and the reason behind is their “pledge” to make the President fail; at all cost.
    It has not succeeded, however “all cost” have taken their toll. If a party blocks all progress, has very stringent ultra-right “party rules” there is no working with them anymore. And, if the GOP does not work for the majority of the people, why do they think one should vote for them?
    To blame the President for bad GOP results is absolute silly! But is that not what clowns are supposed to do – make people laugh? Well, remember, they say they are presidential candidates and then their behavior and what they do and say is not funny but sickening!

    February 24, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  22. AFM

    Romney 2012! We support you and know you'll bring much more to the table than our current failed President.

    February 24, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  23. skarphace

    It seems that the only Republican that the Obama administration is willing to attack is Romney. They see a Romney ticket as their biggest threat, and are hoping a not-Romney candidate takes the nomination.

    The Obama administration better be careful of what they wish for. If the not-Romney candidate turns out to be Ron Paul they may end up wishing they only had Romney to deal with.

    February 24, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  24. logicnLA

    If Romney had the power to lowers those taxes, he will then run the highest deficit in our history- (to use his always present line) From day one. We can restore taxes to reasonable levels or we can bankrupt states. Which do Republicans prefer?

    February 24, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  25. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    Really President Obama doesn't have to do's already been done. All you need to do is look at the income disparities and just who has made it better from the Bush years until now. What people like Romney want is for us regular folks to ignore it and wait for "trickle down" to take effect. Maybe Mitt needs to find another minority woman he can reach into his pocket and give 60 bucks to. That went over so well the last time he did it.

    February 24, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
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