Romney says wealthy donors ‘by and large…doing just fine’
July 9th, 2012
01:47 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney says wealthy donors ‘by and large…doing just fine’

Southampton, New York (CNN) – At an exclusive gathering in Southampton, Mitt Romney told wealthy donors he worries more about helping the poor and middle class rather than wealthier individuals there, including himself, who he believes are “by and large…doing just fine.”

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee broke away from a weeklong vacation with his wife Ann and their large extended family at the Romneys' New Hampshire home on Lake Winnipesaukee to attend a trio of fund-raisers in the Hamptons, the ultimate summer resort of the rich and famous.

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As Democrats continued to hammer Mitt Romney for his vast personal wealth and handling of finances that includes offshore bank accounts, the White House hopeful raised millions on prime real estate of billionaires Ron Perelman and David Koch, and former U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel.

The reception and dinner in Southampton and lunch at Perelman’s estate in East Hampton were private events and closed to reporters. During the reception in the afternoon, Romney was speaking outside when CNN and another reporter overheard his remarks to people gathered under a tent on a tennis court.

“By the way, you guys are doing fine,” Romney was heard saying at Sobel’s beachfront home. “If you’re here, by and large you’re doing just fine. And I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about those that are doing as well as you guys are, or how I’m doing, but I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor and those in the middle class that are finding it hard to make a bright future for themselves.”

Early in the GOP primary campaign, Romney had to clarify a comment he made on CNN about not being “concerned about the very poor.”

He said his words were taken out of context and explained his campaign’s focus was on the middle class, stating that there are programs to help the poor and the rich are doing well on their own.

At the Southampton reception, Romney said “Democratic friends are always taking the high road,” casting his fellow Republicans as people who don’t care for anyone but themselves.

“We all care about the poor, we want to help the poor,” Romney said to applause. “But what we want to do is not just help; we want to help people from becoming poor.”

"Wealthy people are doing fine," Romney told reporters in February. "But my focus in the campaign is on middle-income people. Of course I'm concerned about all Americans - poor, wealthy, middle class, but the focus of my effort will be on middle-income families who I think have been most hurt by the Obama economy."

Romney, who told at least 100 people in the Hamptons he believed they are doing fine, has taken President Barack Obama to task for stating in a recent interview that the “private sector is doing fine.”

Many donors who arrived in top-of-the-line luxury cars to see Romney and his wife were greeted by some 200 protesters, gathered near the dinner hosted by Koch, with a large sign that read, “Romney has a Koch problem.” A plane flying overhead carried a banner with the same message.

– CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Jim Waterman

    Perhaps, if given the chance, CNN might ask Mr. Romney to reconcile his concern for the poor with his support of the Ryan budget which would transfer wealth to the wealthy and cut safety net programs for the poor.

    July 9, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  2. labman57

    Mitt Romney doesn't worry about the problems of poor people … because there is a "safety net" … which he wants to defund … because people (including single, full-time moms) who depend upon financial assistance such as food stamps lack dignity … because you must be completely self-sufficient to have self-worth … unless you inherited vast wealth … in which case you are inherently highly dignified … because you are a person of power and authority … who gets to enjoy the sheer pleasure of firing people … which Mitt did countless times while running Bain Capital, creating huge profits … for himself and his fellow investors … at the expense of fired workers … who, as a result, often joined the growing ranks of poor people in America … which Mitt doesn't worry about.

    July 9, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  3. Myviewis

    Democrats are such hypocrites, just a few weeks ago Democrats here on CNN wrote, claimed they never protest, oh no, they would never be distruptive, show up with signs or yell as they accused, were furious at Republicans of doing to Obama. Do Democrats not realize that people see their actions and contradictions and hypocrisy. I guess Democrats once again were following the Alinsky Principles???? Hypocrites!!!!!

    July 9, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |

    With the "Wealthy" owning 42% of the Nation's Financial Wealth, while the bottom 80% having only 7%, I'LL SAY the Rich are "doing just fine". And forget about "by and large" part! Talk about "understatement"!

    July 9, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  5. 333maxwell

    In true Governor Romney form, he decided to tell the rich people he was concerned for the poor, but didn't mention a thing to the poor people about it.

    July 9, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  6. bigkahuna

    Yeah, the wealthy are doing just fine, they don't need those Bush Tax extensions like the rest of us. And yet this guy keeps pushing for tax breaks for them, what a load of bull. At least he was telling the truth about the wealthy they doing better than ever, have everything a person could want and as you can guess, they want more. And Romney is just the man to give it to them. Worry about the middle class and the poor by giving more tax breaks to the rich, this guy is real creep.

    July 9, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  7. 2020

    Of course, Romney and his gang doing more than FINE. And Romney vows to do more for them too.

    When did you find evidence that Romney think about middle class? He only thinks of firing these people, and enjoy doing it. With his outsourcing offshoring skills, he could offshore Americans to China or India to work.

    His Macao Casino donar may help Romney hiring American to rub toilets in his Macao Casino.

    July 9, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  8. Thomas

    Mitt have given so little and wants so much more.

    It's hard to believe that such a nerrow minded indavigual can become so influentual .

    July 9, 2012 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  9. Paulio

    Well, if you believe Rmoney when hey says he cares about the poor, you're either misguided, gullible, or desperate to justify your vote. If instead you understand that Rmoney cares about the wealthy and isn't concerned with middle- or lower-class people, congratulations, you're intelligent. What else needs to be said? This man never met a person that he couldn't exploit to his own benefit. He is a parasite.

    July 9, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  10. Phil Thomas

    I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor and those in the middle class that are finding it hard to make a bright future for themselves.”

    Nice Backdrop, A dinner sponsored by the Koch brothers. I think unions serve a purpose but get real the dinner in his honor is sponsored by Union Busters, the same middle to working poor your so worried about will be losing pensions, health care. I don't think union's are prefect but I honestly think before any one in Congress can go after the pension of any american they should give theirs up. This is nothing but a sound bite, they are hoping gets picked up by the Media which clearly worked but your actions speak louder than your words

    July 9, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  11. 0rangeW3dge

    is that a flip?, or just a flop?

    I thought he wasn't worried about the poor a few months ago....

    "just turn it upside down and it will erase everything, then we'll go on sketching until November"

    July 9, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  12. AJ

    Romney would be a Koch puppet not a President.

    July 9, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  13. NoKidding

    WHAT???? Now he talks like a Democrat!! The guy has no shame!!!

    July 9, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  14. Iamnotfooled

    Well he has to say that. He sure can't say," I'm worried about you my rich friends, and how I can make you richer." I'm trying my best to lower your taxes, by raising theirs. Don't worry I'll take from them and give it to you."

    July 9, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  15. Chris

    Its nice to know that Romney says the rich are doing just fine as he explains that to them in an exclusive, private gathering in Southampton.

    July 9, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |

    There he goes again,copying our great President Obama.

    July 9, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  17. Marie MD

    Nice of the bishop to remind us that he and his millionaire/billionaire friends are doing fine since they do not seem to be feeling any of the pain that started back in 2007 or 2008.
    WHERE ARE THE BISHOP'S 2011 TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????? WHAT IS HE HIDING!!!???

    July 9, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  18. Bob

    Romney cares about the poor? OH PLEASE!

    July 9, 2012 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  19. Debra From Georgia

    Romney we have not forgot that you said "I am not concern about the very poor". Don't try to clean it up now with your corporations are people too

    July 9, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  20. carrotroot

    Romney is clearly mocking the middle-class. You don't go to a group of people who view everyone below them as serfs and tell them with a straight face you care what happens to the poor.

    July 9, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    ........I do not care American middle class, but my wealthy Donners are doing fine, I told them to stash excess money in cayman island ans Swiss accounts.

    July 9, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  22. Larry

    He wants to help the poor and middle class? The why does he support a budget plan that would raise my taxes and lower the taxes on his rich buddies. Why does he want to end most business regulation allowing for lower taxes on corporations less epa regulation less financial regulation lower paying jobs with little to no benefits then take away the public aid people would be forced to seek out? How would all of this help us?

    July 9, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  23. Sue

    So, let me see if I understand this..CNN apears to have a problem with Romney attending fund raisers held with wealthy, "rich and famous". Yet, I do not remember reading any such articles when Obama attended fund raisers with Hollywood's wealthy, "rich and famous". This reason and many others, is why CNN now has the dismal/laughable ratings that it does.

    July 9, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  24. Marry

    Now honestly, isn’t this funny? If he meant what he just said, there would not be another $$$ coming his way! But his donors and Romney know: A deal is a deal if it makes lots of money for them all! So they are not worried.
    But we should be! We should be very worried about Mitt and his cronies!

    July 9, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  25. Core republican Values

    Core republican Value #5: Greed is a beautiful thing, because it makes me even richer. For the bible tells me so.

    July 9, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
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