Romney thinks twice after 'fire people' comment
May 24th, 2012
09:52 PM ET
8 years ago

Romney thinks twice after 'fire people' comment

(CNN) – It brought nearly immediate attacks from his rivals, and even a mocking ringtone: Mitt Romney's January comment that he "likes being able to fire people." But in an interview published Wednesday, the GOP candidate acknowledged that it is one moment that makes him "try and be a little more careful in what I say."

"I have to think not only about what I say in a full sentence but what I say in a phrase," Romney told The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, because comments are "taken out of context, you'll be clipped, and you'll be battered with things you said."

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Romney made the "fire people" comment at a New Hampshire campaign event in January while taking audience questions.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," he said. "If someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

The comment was one in a series of statements that were then used against the former Massachusetts governor to paint him as out of touch with average Americans.

Days before the "fire people" statement, Romney - who became a millionaire over his career in private equity - said there were times he was concerned for his job.

"I know what it's like to worry about whether you're going to get fired," Romney said. "There were a couple of times I wondered if I was going to get a pink slip."

And at a campaign stop in Florida last June, Romney joked at a roundtable with voters that - like them - "I am also unemployed."

Adding that he is "networking," Romney then said, "I have my sights on a particular job that I'm working for."

- CNN's Gregory Wallace and Justin Lear contributed to this report.

Also see:

Obama campaign expands Bain attack and general election ad buys

Poll: Romney takes lead in Florida

Palin endorses Utah's Hatch in Senate race

Arkansas, Kentucky primaries pose challenge for Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (43 Responses)

    he doesn't care about poor people and he likes to fire people.............ummm?

    May 24, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  2. waikikijohn

    oh yes, Mitt, now you will have to stop and think about how you really feel. Guess from now on won't know what is truth vs fiction.

    May 24, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. WDinDallas

    I like being able to fire people, sometimes it has to happen. I also hate firing people, especially when children are involved. But, when it is in the best interest for the company and especially the employees that have to work with that person.....they have to go!

    May 24, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Mitt Romney is a man I would never trust. He grew up in a world of anyones dreams, with the ease that being a multy- imillionaire gives you to take everything for granted.. As an adult he's never had a bill he coulldn't pay., never a medical problem that money was no object for a successful outcome.,,,Plumbing gone broken down...never,never a concern for the things only acquired with money.. It is impossible to think that anyone in this financial position could have a clue,of, nor even care to consider. the millions of families in our great country who don't know what it is to NEVER have worry about money..It's impossible to think that the top one percent of the men and women in the U.S.are in this position and the republican party is working to keep it that way!!!! I guess heaven will have to help the rest of us!!!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. Larry L

    Ask him about Social Security and Medicare – two programs the Ryan Plan (supported by Romney) would trash. I've seen conservatives talk about the fate of these programs but the solution is something they don't want to talk about. Regarding Social Security – simply remove the cap (about $106,000.00 per year) on the income subject to Social Security taxation. Let everybody pay some Social Security deductions on every dollar they make. Regarding Medicare – simply add a single payer option to the current plan and quit supporting just the rich, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, and HMOs.

    May 24, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Mark1

    The other problem Romney has to be careful about is if his comments are taken in context.

    May 24, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. DoNotWorry

    He's repeated the firing people remark in other arenas as well. He fired a lot of people to fill his pockets. What's the beef?

    May 24, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem with Romney is that he doesn't understand the "average person" who has a limited income. Romney has been well off his whole life so I don't know if he can understand the cost of food and fuel among other things.

    May 24, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Romney has to be careful because he slips up and reveals his true character occasionally.

    May 24, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. Robyn

    Mr. Romney promised that he would be far more careful in the future
    and he would avoid saying anything that was true or that he actually believed.

    May 25, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. ned

    And if Obama said he would fire people who didn't provide good services, nobody would lift an eyebrow.

    May 25, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  12. chuck weidemann

    Romney doesn't or hasn't had to work to make a living...only to become more wealthy. Big difference from most of us.

    May 25, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  13. gar

    He should have thought twice before running for President and propagandizing the American people with a bunch of right wing garbage.

    May 25, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  14. Emma in Baltimore

    Romney likes feeling powerful. It's why he likes to fire people, and it's why he wants to be president. He has no vision for the average American.

    May 25, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  15. OCVoterinCA

    I will never vote for this guy even if the earth was hurdling out of control and about to freeze over into solid rock my ballot would be mark for Obama and Romney name would be scratched out.

    Move FORWARD Obama2012

    May 25, 2012 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  16. Rachel

    I want to see a debate between Romney and Paul.

    May 25, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  17. GI Joe

    I wonder if he would have second thoughts after starting an all-out war with Iran.

    Probably not – he wouldn't be in danger.

    May 25, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  18. Jim

    Mitt's got the Etch-a-Sketch out.

    May 25, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  19. steveo

    The American people like to fire people too Romney. You are next.

    May 25, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  20. larry

    although he's a rich, out-touch fool i'm a teacher and there are several poorly performing people on our staff that i'd love to fire too. problem is our union makes it financially impossible to do so and it gives the rest of us hard-working teachers the bad rap we have.

    May 25, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  21. Bob B

    Romney can't stop putting his foot in his mouth. What would happen if he wins in the fall? I don't like Obama all that much, but I really don't like Romney.

    May 25, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  22. Curtis

    I'm not a fan of Romney by any stretch, but a problem with government is that it is virtually impossible to fire anyone without having a mile long paper trail. Trying to let go of unproductive federal workers (and there's a fair number of them, believe me) is a full time job in and of itself.

    May 25, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  23. Mick

    Forgive the man for holding people accountable!

    May 25, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. lgbarn

    It's not what you say as much as it is what you mean and we know Mitt Romney meant it. I will be voting for Obama.

    May 25, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  25. toby

    Obama 2012? Think about that twice.

    May 25, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
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