Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'
March 8th, 2012
08:44 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'

Pascagoula, Mississippi (CNN) - Mitt Romney swept into Mississippi Thursday to make his case in a state where he doesn't expect to win.

The former Massachusetts governor, who has struggled to woo voters in the South and faces a string of upcoming contests below the Mason-Dixon line, appealed to a group of about 120 Mississippians by feeling their pain.

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Romney rattled off three stories of people he had met at campaign events - a father worried about health care costs for his special needs child, another man who wondered how he would pay for his daughter's education and a soldier back from Afghanistan who struggled to find work.

"A lot of people hurting right now," he summed it up, and blamed President Obama for not following through on his campaign promises of economic turnaround from 2008.

"Since this president has been president, the cost of gas has doubled," Romney said. "Not exactly what he might have hoped for, and he says 'well it's not my fault.' By the way, we've gone from 'yes we can' to 'it's not my fault.'"

The re-jiggered lines in Romney's speech come a day after a campaign aide acknowledged the candidate was "working to establish a stronger connection with lower-income voters, with voters who are struggling."

In Ohio's primary, which Romney narrowly won, exit polls showed him trailing rival Rick Santorum among voters who made less than $50,000 a year.

The swath of Southern states that will vote in the upcoming days – Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama – have been hard hit by the economy. In Mississippi, where Romney makes another appearance Friday, the unemployment rate is over 10%.

Faced with an uphill climb in the South, Romney asserted in an interview with radio station WAPI that he hoped to walk away with some delegates in states such as Alabama, where he is not favored to win.

"That's of course what this is all about, getting the delegates necessary to become the nominee," he said, echoing his campaign's relentless focus on a numbers game they say Romney's opponents have no chance of winning.

In Mississippi, Romney did try out some Southern charm, telling his audience he was "an unofficial Southerner."

"I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and things," he joked. "Strange things are happening to me."

But the ultimate compliment came from Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who endorsed Romney in Pascagoula.

"He just has a warm, comfortable way about him," Bryant told reporters. "I like to see a man when he's holding a baby. And he looks like he's held a baby before."

Also see:

Obama and Romney ahead in ad fight

First on CNN: Santorum super PAC hits Alabama and Mississippi airwaves

Obama releases movie trailer a week before campaign film's debut

Cindy McCain defends Palin over HBO film

Filed under: 2012 • Mississippi • Mitt Romney
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Willard's pandering is so phony, it's disgusting to see and hear.

    March 9, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  2. Disabled vet

    Damn he lost our vote now go eat something besides grits

    March 9, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  3. ER

    I like grits? and Yall? This guy is a certified joke.

    March 9, 2012 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  4. Brian Dodge

    one father's worried about paying for health care, & Republicans are attacking "Obamacare" because it cuts into health care costs – and profits. another guys worried about paying for his kids college, and Republicans want even deeper cuts to Pell Grants and other financial aid programs. At least the soldier will be back at work if the Republicans start a war with Iran.

    March 9, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  5. Johnson

    What a Joke. Mississippi will fall for it.

    Obama 2012

    March 9, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  6. king

    Ahh agony of mitt mingling with regular folks, how much longer of this crap this rich man have to bare. Mitten seems like he can't wait until this election is over so he can go back to what rich folks do.

    March 9, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  7. petena

    Yes, a lot of people are hurting, so why doesn't he empty soe of millions and help out some folks? Thats because he doesn't given a darn. He cares about corporations – not people.

    March 9, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  8. Thinkergal

    As a "recovering Southerner," I can say I never liked grits; do miss other Southern cooking, though. Don't miss anything else about the region. Will definitely support Obama again.

    March 9, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  9. nancyke

    so he's held a baby, that makes him likeable? get serious

    March 9, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  10. Marie MD

    flip flopper, you are truly a stupid little man aren't you? The president's office is NOT the one who sets the gas prices. It's OPEC and the world market. Unfortunately your even more stupid followers don't know any better so even if you use mccain's words and twist them as if the President said it the rest of us know better.
    You like grits? Did you cringe at the y'all?
    And yes, President Obama has done a lot of what he said he would. If your teapublikan congress wasn't putting speed bumps in his way all the time it might have been more.
    Go count your money in the Cayman Islands!

    March 9, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  11. Guess What

    you also like obamacare and are nothing more than a WHITE obama, prove the real conservatives wrong, you wont and you cant.

    March 9, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  12. Wendy

    He forgot to say he likes collard greens and pork belly too. if he could really feel anybody s pain he would be for raising the minimum wage especially in the deep south

    March 9, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  13. bob klepak

    Of course Romeny loves grits, He had a grit in college and never forgot how good it was. Unfortunately the trees in Mississippi aren't as perfect a height as those in Michigan, but if you want a "grit" . . .

    March 9, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  14. Namehmm...interesting

    What about a man holding a baby who's eating grits?

    March 9, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  15. Marie MD

    Hey mitts, how much money have those good friends of yours, exxon and/or shell, given you? I would bet anything that the price gauging is being done to demean the President and make you fools look like you really can turn everything around on your first in office (not that you will EVER become president).
    Have you spoken to your not too friendly OPEC clan?

    March 9, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  16. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Rumknee you lie. Gas was$4.00 a gallon when obama became president. Under bush the worst ever gas doubled. But you and the rest of gop clowns talk of war with iran greedy wall street are causing the price to go up. You know that .i see that you like grits .what are the ingredents. You are lying false piece of

    March 9, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  17. Bystander

    This guy is so fake, saying anything to get elected.

    March 9, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  18. brian

    what a schmozo. this guy is such a bad character actor– next we'll find him in the ghetto saying that he loves to breakdance.

    March 9, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  19. sbssue1

    I hope you in the South can view the honesty of Romney: He is the most intelligent person running for the GOP. I would like Ginrich to get behind Romney and support his efforts. Romney (if anyone) can pull this country out of our slump and get things moving again. Don't let Santorum sell you a "Bill of Goods" ; he's had a lot of practice.

    March 9, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  20. Wendy

    Can anybody imagine rick perry s coffee come flying out of his mouth when willard said he is learning how to say y all. next willard needs to how to say

    March 9, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  21. Anonymous

    "I've never actually done any physical labor, but I have some friends who are plantation owners."

    -Myth Rmoney

    March 9, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    "I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and things," he joked. "Strange things are happening to me."
    I'd say. He sounds most strange using the vernacular, y'all.
    Do you think Romney knows the difference between grits and polenta?

    March 9, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens declaring, "I like grits," has won him the Mississippi vote. In Alabama he will say he likes hush puppies, and garner the vote there. He is a pandering fool.

    March 9, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  24. mark99er

    I read this garbage and I want to puke. He's worried about a mans health needs for his child. Maybe they should move to Massachusetts so his child will be covered since he wants to abolish his same model (Obama Care) across the rest of the country. Not once did he or any other republican candidate offer a solution on how they are going to SPECICALLY create jobs or lower the price of gas. All bullcrap and no substance, yet the republican voters listen to this spin and buy the bull. Look at your existence people of the south and wonder why you live in the conditions that you want changed. Well keep electing the same republican boss hogs that have given you exactly what you don't want but not once agreeing that they have screwed you for decades. PATHETIC!

    March 9, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How is Mittens' repeal of Affordable Health Care going to help the parents of a special needs child? The father who thinks any republican will help with the costs of education is talking to the wrong party.

    March 9, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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