Romney on minimum wage: 'We ought to raise it'
May 9th, 2014
10:05 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney on minimum wage: 'We ought to raise it'

Washington (CNN) - In a break with many in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney says he backs a move to raise the minimum wage.

"I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Friday morning.

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"I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us," Romney added in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

These Republicans want to raise the minimum wage

Romney's comments come a week after a bill pushed by Senate Democrats to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Only one Senate Republican voted for the measure.

In recent days, two opponents of Romney during the last race for the GOP presidential nomination, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who's also considering another White House bid in 2016, both supported some kind of minimum wage increase.

Romney's growing influential role as Republican party elder

Democrats are using the issue of raising the minimum wage, and the opposition from most Republicans, as part of their income equality push as they campaign in this year's midterm elections.

Complete coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Obama: Democrats 'don't vote' in midterms

Romney was open to a minimum wage hike when he served as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007 and when he first ran for president, in the 2008 campaign. In 2011 and early 2012, during his second White House run, Romney also supported a wage hike, but he changed his stance a few months later, saying in an interview on CNBC that "there's probably not a need to raise the minimum wage."

The most recent polls on the issue indicate a strong majority of Americans supporting raising the minimum wage, with Republicans mostly divided on the issue.

GOP lawmakers point to a recent Congressional Budget Office report that found the wage hike could lift 900,000 people out of poverty but also lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs. A recent poll from Bloomberg indicated that a majority of Americans found that trade-off unacceptable.

Not running again

Romney once again shot down any suggestions that he has a third run for the White House in the works.

"I’m not running for president in 2016," he clearly stated, adding with a smile that "I think our best prospects of getting back the White House are with someone who has not run twice before as I have."

Romney gave a similar answer during a CNN interview in February with the Situation Room's Wolf Blitzer.

Filed under: Minimum wage • Mitt Romney
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    To all of the Repubs who say no to raising the minimum wage.The current minimum wage means these people qualify for govt. subsidies.In other words,this wage is nothing more than an executive subsidy.Insted of raising the prices on poducts and services,why not cut executive salaries to the nonsubsidised rate and use that mony to raise the miinimum wage.I think Mcdonalds ceo(for example) could barely keep from being homeless if you cut his pay from $9,200 dollars an hour to $5,000 an hour.It isnt free market when poor people are subsidizing youre $10,000 an hour.

    May 9, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Kristina

    My respect for Romney just went up a notch. Thanks for making the GOP look like the party for the working guy.

    May 9, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. inismagrath

    Yet more proof that Republican politicians always have two opinions: One which is a lie but panders to their base, and another which is their true opinion but tea party radicals can't abide. A party divided among itself.

    May 9, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. dk

    This is the Mitt Romney that might have had a chance against Obama – the Republican governor of a liberal state. Not version that was a puppet of the far-right.

    May 9, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. SKV

    Raise the minimum wage! This is the most Republican thing that we can do. Hike wage to $15-20, to the point that businesses will be forced to keep only the best workers and demand more output and performance from employees. That translates into demand for more advance tools and technologies. We don't need mediocrity workforce that makes little money, pays no taxes and lives off social services and government hand outs.

    May 9, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Do the math please.

    It's not going to raise the price of burgers significantly. If you pay a dozen workers $10 an hour instead of $8 an hour. That costs you an extra $24 per hour. Lets say it takes 12 employees to make 120 $5 burgers an hour. That's $600 worth of burgers in one hour. You are paying 12 employees an extra $2, so $24 an hour. That's less than a quarter price hike for each burger to give your employees a 25% raise.

    May 9, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Dawn Kiebals

    Doesn't everyone realize that everything is connected here? For instance keeping the minimum wage down has effectively kept the price of gas from going over $2.00 a gallon, healthcare copays to $5 a visit and a loaf of bread to $1.25. Never seen so much faux concern for McDonalds.

    May 9, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So is the price of everything not already going up? How is it fair that employers are making money hand over fist but the employees can barely afford rent because they're making such low wages. Actually here in MI, wages have dropped significantly. Jobs that once started out at $12 per hour are now starting around $9, yet the price of everything keeps rising. Let's just call it like it is. Pure unadulterated GREED. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We have the one of the highest car insurance rates in the country. Some people have to choose between feeding their families and paying for car insurance. But it's their fault for being poor right??

    May 9, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. never to vote republican again

    Yes, the republicans have been all about jobs jobs jobs the last 6 years. What lies they spew! They are mental.

    May 9, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Ben Ghazi

    Good ol' Mitt. Like every other issue he was for it before he was against it. Or was he against it before he was for it?

    May 9, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. vikingwoman

    Huh?! Romney's party is for jobs & better pay? This is news to me, most bloggers on this site, the nation & most of all, the GOTP! Just another illustration of Romney living in a very comfy alternate universe & how lucky we are that he's not president! Has he Still not noticed that his party is Against Everything! I almost feel sorry for these people deluding themselves to such a degree, but then I remember how much of nothing they've accomplished ( on purpose) in the last 5 yrs & I feel sorry for the people & the country!!

    May 9, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. Oakspar77777

    A raise of $0.25 per year for the next four years certainly seems reasonable and I cannot imagine that there are many in the GOP who would disagree with me.

    After all, the minimum wage should increase with inflation, otherwise it decreases in buying power. On the other hand, if it grows too quickly it drives inflation and erodes any increases in buying power while accelerating inflation.

    May 9, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Hogan's Goat

    "The Koch brothers have put more people to work in this country than Obama has."

    Obama doesn't own and operate Brawny© paper towels. He presides over Congress. Hiring millhands isn't what a president does, Honey Booboo. He presides while legislators pass job bills, but he doesn't snap his fingers and make law in secret like FOX tells you. God, you folks live in a dream. The president doesn't control gas prices or make that supermarket check out girl sneer at you either.

    May 9, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Thom Burke

    He's only able to say this now because he is no longer on the Koch brothers, Walton family, Sheldon Adelson and the likes payroll, like the rest of the GOP that still has to run for office is.

    May 9, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. john

    Thats nice but he holds no public office and said he wasn't running for anything again so what he thinks or says is irrelevant why mention him again ever???

    May 9, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. tom l

    "Maybe. Who knows? But, it could have a lot do do with taxes. It's not that Mexico's taxes are lower than ours blah blah blah blah"

    Hilarious. Mexico's corporate tax rate is 30% and the United States rate is 40%. Is that another one of your "facts" through that "lens" that you look through?

    May 9, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    Let's hear it for a maximum wage while we are at it. Rich people who own pro sports teams are all for 'salary caps' for their players. I for one believe in a progressive tax system (like Roosevelt had... you know, in our Glory Days) where the more you make the higher you are taxed (quit making it easy to stay on top of the mountain, the current tax rate creates a mesa where once you get there are you safe and there is NO risk, just reward). Anything over a million a year- 95%. Nobody will go hungry or lose their homes... they will just whine and cry.
    They already do that... so I say give them something to whine and cry about.
    If you can't live comfortably on a million a year, then you are just a greedy glutton and deserve nothing our country has to offer. I and millions of others are tired supplementing your employees with our tax dollars becuase you thing you deserve it all, and the deserve 7.50 and hour. Cook your own d a m n hamburgers and work the window.... 2 hours of that and you will be begging to pay the pittance of 10.10.

    May 9, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Hogan's Goat

    They wanted to run him because he "understood how to make money." When he explains it, they recoil in horror. And we know from hearing his video that he despises low-income 47%-ers, so when he suggests paying them more it isn't from Christian charity or pity for their families. He understands that money they have becomes his within a month, so he wants them paid more.
    Poor elephants. Their memory seems to have failed, and now they are in with the clowns.

    May 9, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Liberal...NOT

    The working poor have always been the base of the GOP. A minimum wage increase would be good for them and good for the party.

    May 9, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. John

    3...2...1...RINO (saved you the typing T-Party)

    May 9, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Melissa

    lol. "our party is all about more jobs and better pay" roflmao

    Wow, that would be called "lying". The democrats are about those things, not the republicans.

    May 9, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. sfarris

    You know your party is in trouble when......

    Mitt Romney Quote:

    "I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us," Romney added in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

    So even Mitt Romney sees the contradiction between not raising minimum wage and wanting to be the party allowing people to earn more, and so many Republicans seem to follow along like lemmings to the sea? Boggles my mind. Democrats act like lemmings as well sometimes, but certainly the Republicans are definitely doing so in this case it seems in large droves.

    May 9, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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