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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Follow Rachel Streitfeld on Twitter: @streitfeldcnn

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. American

    In reality, President Obama actually cut taxes for American businesses. He wants to end the loopholes that sent American jobs overseas.

    Romney wants to keep the loopholes in place and even go back to more Bush policies that caused so many problems for our country.

    March 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Boytjie

    "We need a leader to lead us out of these mess that President Obama got us in to."

    You mean the mess that Bush got us into and Obama is trying to dig us out of – without much help from the GOP.
    More of the same? I don't think so!

    March 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Darrell

    Meriam...please take the blinders off: 24 straight months of private sector job growth under Obama, after GWB's economic policies saw the nation lose 750,000 jobs per month and go into the worst recession in Am. history. Obama is successfully turning the US economy around.

    Mitt says what he would do, Obama is actually doing it.

    March 9, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Romney doesn't even know what grits are but he likes them anyway. What a panderer!

    March 9, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    "President Obama raised taxes on businesses and Corporations that drove most businesses overseas and profits of those businesses were invested overseas as well."

    Umm, just because you heard that on Fakes News or read it on some mouth-drooler's website doesn't make it true. Proof? You can't name one specific tax raised on businesses or corporations, can you?

    March 9, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. ClarasBeau

    "I am learning to say y'all, and I like grits and things." Oh, my, how telling a moment THAT was.

    March 9, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Meriam, managing a business is NOT the same. Romney received huge federal loans to cover various cost for the Olympic Games, money he was more than happy to take, so your management theory does not pan out. He left office with an approval rating well under 40% and did not even try to stand for re-election-why? He knew his performance review was going to be bad, so he ran away. He is a glorified events coordinator, not a leader or a visionary. He cannot articulate where he wants to take this country, and if he can't do that after running for the office for over 5 years, he does not deserve the job.

    March 9, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |

    Disingenuous does not begin to describe Mitt Romney's character.

    March 9, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Texas Doc

    Romney Bot trying to say what he think the lifef orms in this region want to hear.

    March 9, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Bill in Florida

    Mitt Romney and grits are as opposite as the GOP and sane fiscal policy. Romney really will say anything to anybody if he thinks he'll get a vote or two out of it. Watch, next time he campaigns in the northeast of the Pacific Northwest, he'll deny that he ever said anything about liking grits 🙂

    March 9, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. CarrotCakeMan

    Romney is going to be associated with the most virulently anti-gay groups as long as he has Frank VanderSloot as his finance chair. VanderSloot has paid for billboard with anti-gay Hate Speech. Romney says he supports LGBT Americans–but he's working with this CREEP. Which is it, Romney?

    March 9, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. nagrom

    It absolutely amazes me that people actually enjoy his demeaning inflections. y'all If I talked and joked the way he has been joking I would be drawn and quartered for not being politically correct. I see no way that he actually appreciates the people that live in those Southern Communities. Those states have people who are raised to respect their elders and those around them. What Romney is showing is disrespect. Does he think you people talk funny? Amazing.

    March 9, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. James Wilson

    "real" Tom Paine - The federal government has and had always paid for transportation and security any time the Olympic Games have been held in the US. The 2002 Winter Olympics were no different, except that the security concerns were greatly heightened since the Games followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks so closely. Still, I love the fact that you're focusing on the Olympics, because anyone who knows the first thing about that situation appreciates the incredible turnaround that Romney effectuated there.

    As to the Massachusetts governorship, in a state that had a legislature 87% comprised of Democrats, and in the fierce anti-Bush year of 2006, it's a credit to Romney that he had an approval rating of 40%. What's Obama's approval rating in Oklahoma, South Carolina or Idaho? Much lower than 40%. Naturally Romney was not that well beloved by the liberals. The important score is his "performance review" among Massachusetts Republicans. In the primary the other day, they gave him a more than 70% approval rating. Moreover, he carried practically every single town in the state. That speaks pretty highly of his qualifications as a government executive. I assure you that neither Ron Paul nor Rick Santorum will score that well in their home states. In Georgia, Gingrich won 47% of his home state voters, while Romney came in second, beating Santorum by over six points.

    March 9, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Bubba

    "I like grits." Pandering, pandering, pandering. That's the Tea/Repubs.

    March 9, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Malory Archer

    Something I actually agree with him on. However, our common love of grits isn't enough to sway me to vote for him, and I'm sure if President Obama came out and stated that he too likes grits, little mittens would change his tune in a hurry!

    March 9, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Willie Floyd

    I've lived in the South 66 yrs. and grits are not one of my favorite foods-who cares whether he likes them or not?? Now if he knows what fried okra is-that might be different. "Ya'll come" left most of us with our great-grandparents!!


    March 9, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    We're all feeling the increase in gasoline prices, but hey, isn't that what the free market is all about? Would mittens and his ilk prefer that the President REGULATE gasoline prices? Isn't that government overreach – preventing corporations from realizing maximum profit on their product?

    March 9, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. FLIndependent

    "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."


    How utterly lame – is this all he had to "compliment" Mitt?

    March 9, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. CoJo

    if Gingrich really wants to hit Romney, he ought to try using his international knowledge vs Romney's. Romney gets pulled into playing Santorum's and Grinch's game too easily. Can you image what would happen to Romney on a world stage? He'd be playing the other country's game vs his own. Talk about always being on the defense

    March 9, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. FLIndependent

    "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."


    Exactly! This is what I haven't been able to figure out – with all Mitt's $$$, if he's so concerned about this country and helping the people, then why not do something now to contribute? Why does he have to be the president to make this country better and create jobs – he can create jobs NOW!!

    March 9, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Mike in Texas

    I have now lived in Texas for 18 years. The first 27 years of my life I lived in California. I made fun of my sister in law when I first moved here when she said "How are ya'll doing?". The irony is that over the years I now say that. I didn't "learn" to say it. Just like most others you pick up certain vernacular in the region you live in.

    Mitt is such a phony it is sad. I agree with an earlier post about Mitt. He will "like" something based on what state he is in. I am sure he has a 50 state "Like" list.

    March 9, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Woman In California

    "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."

    Yes, that's something Willard actually knows about–holding a baby and IF given the chance – he would send that same baby OFF to war while he keeps his good for nothing brats safe and sound in the White House. I hope Mr. Bryant gets shipped off to one of Willard's wars and then let's see what a warm fuzzy feeling he gets. Idiot.

    March 9, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Stan

    So the Republicans are going to blame Obama for high gas prices. Here we go again with the GOP... insulting the intelligence of Americans and we keep letting them do it.

    March 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Data Driven

    Maybe it's because today is Friday, but today I'm finding Romney's pathetic pandering rather humorous and sweet. This man's entire phoniness may end up charming voters. Sure, all politicians lie and pander to different degrees, but it takes a true artist to praise trees and grits on the campaign trail.

    So here's to Mitt Romney: long may he sit in a tree spoonfeeding hominy grits to cherubic infants. Corncobs in Des Moines, chicken and waffles in the Bronx, fish tacos in San Diego.

    March 9, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Stan

    But what does he eats his grits with. That will tell you if he's genuine or not.

    March 9, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9