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. Txsportsman2012

    The GOP can't agree on anything! My gosh!
    Why on Earth do republicans think they deserve to sit behind the Resolute Desk if they can't even herd their own cats? Unbelievable
    Ok maybe not...

    May 9, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Mmaze

    The GOP wants a country that is strictly the Haves and the Have-Nots. Period. They despise the middle because they are the in betweeners, they still make a difference, and they vote. The Republicans love to brag about how they want better jobs and better lives for working Americans, but they actually want a larger piece of the population to live in poverty, become detached, and to just give up. Then they can swoop in.... The country can't afford to let that happen.

    May 9, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Charles Hawkins

    Why is it that republicans all gain a sense of humanity after they either lose an election, are out of office or they have a relative come out as gay.

    May 9, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. bspurloc

    mittens somehow stays wet as he flips and flops all over this boat

    May 9, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. garymac

    Couldn't be further from the truth...The republican party is anti wage increase, labor, blacks, immigration, senior citizens, women, abortion, gays, veterans, gun safety and support racism....

    May 9, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. dave

    The way it usually works out is that some politcians get points for opposing, while others get points for supporting raising mw. In the end, they may raise it enough to not make that much difference to those at mw, but the politicians get the appropriate points. Increases in productivity indicates that mw should be about $20, if they get much less than $20, maybe half, employers will still be in high cotton, and the workers will still be in poverty, getting food stamps, and all sorts of welfare, and the taxpayer will continue to subsidize the high profits and salaries, bonuses, that owners and management get. They ought to make it $20, tie it to COL, productivity increases, and make it illegal to get any form of welfare if you work any kind of job, even part time. If you do qualify for welfare, you still get it, but the taxpayers sue the employer for the amount of welfare that you get.

    May 9, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Rev wrote:

    @Thomas Richard Harold
    "Who cares if it causes the loss of thousands of jobs!
    Who cares if companies opt to move their operations out of the US because of labor costs!
    Who cares if the labor costs will be pushed onto all consumers and EVERYONE effectively gets a pay cut!"

    Spot on...It is unfortunate that most people here no nothing about business or the economy.
    People understand business better than you think, and GREED even better. There are no facts to support your positions. The facts speak for themselves. We've raised the minimum more than a dozen times in the face of the same doomsday predictions, and the exact opposite happened. More people had more disposable income, and they spent it.

    Besides, if you knew anything about the economy, then you would know that the average age of a minimum wage worker is just over 35, and that nearly 2/3 of them are women.

    May 9, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Sparky

    in Related news, Willard decide to make a 3rd run at the presidency and plans on winning by pretending he cares about the people he wants to enslave

    May 9, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. John Yard

    Thank you , my lord. We humbly pray your forgiveness for the slight of 2012. May you and your fellow oligarchs walk in triumph forever. Amen.

    May 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Coffee Party

    The minimum wage was meant to be an anti-homeless and anti-starvation wage.

    It's not living up to the original design.

    May 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. CapeCod

    It appears this guy can't win with you guys...
    He supports a wage increase and you're angry...
    If he didn't support it you'd be angry....

    And please don't tell me about a guy that will flip flop...

    We have a president that has changed his position on numerous issues.

    Gay Marriage?
    Bombing other countries without congressional approval...?
    Lobbyists in the White House?

    May 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. pkMyt1

    Wow, he just put a bulls-eye on himself from all the GOP/TP folks.

    May 9, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Jules

    Didn't vote for Romney, but he is certainly correct on raising the minimum wage. I don't understand how financial conservatives don't get it – more money in the pocket, less qualify for food stamps so there is a cost reduction there – more money in the pocket, more money flows into the economy and demand increases – good for the economy and good for jobs. But of course, the GOP doesn't want this to happen while the president is Barack Obama, because they don't want anything to happen that he can get credit for. Too bad about the ACA – forever should be known as Obamacare in every election because in the not to distant future people are going to love it. It will become part of the "third rail" like Social Security and Medicare.

    May 9, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. jason

    You can only imagine how far right the GOP has nutted that even the pension thief sounds on the left of them

    May 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Luberal R Lazlows

    If the economy was going as well as the Democrats say it is:
    Wouldn't the cost-of-living be low enough that minimum wage employees can make a living?

    Why extend unemployment benefits when the employment rate is up?

    Why do we have the highest food stamp participation rate if the economy is so good?

    Feast on the lies! Vote Democrat 2014!

    May 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I will never understand how people making more money, putting it back in the economy and getting off of assistance is a bad thing. The wealthy are getting even wealthier while the middle class gets poor and the poor become destitute the way things are now. No one is trying to get rich off minimum wage but it's inhumane for these employers that have huge multi million dollar homes, expensive cars and boats, can take 4 or 5 exotic vacations a year and their employees can't even afford a piece of a car to get back and forth to work.

    We miss you Henry Ford! A true leader that wanted his employees to live the good life!

    May 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Sorry, Mitt. You dropped your Etch A Sketch in 2012 and broke it. No more resets for you, my friend. You're stuck with it.

    May 9, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Dude

    What we need is a maximum wage.

    May 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Maybe if we get him to say his name backwards Snettim Yenmor will be transported back to his home dimension?

    May 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Alina1

    Everything is getting more expensive, people should have decent minimum wage as well... The only thing why Republicans against it, is because Democrats for it....

    May 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Susan

    First, 10.10/hr is not a living wage in any US city. Minimum wage needs to be dealt with at the state level, or even locally. The sectors most affected by low wages also have low margins. Selling food is low margin. It is more labor intensive. Selling drinks have better margins. Retail, especially clothing, is low margin. That is why manufacturers look to countries with extremely low wages to make their clothing. Ben and Jerrys Ice cream is very expensive because they pay their workers better and thus have higher fixed costs. The poor are eating cheap ice cream while the elite eat B&J. See how this works?

    The low margin sectors that depend on the unskilled, often entry level jobs, will be forced to raise prices, cut staff, but mostly automate more. Technology is going to help there a lot, but then what do we do with all the unskilled labor since our high schools still see huge drop out rates especially among the minorities. The Gap recently said they would be raising their wages primarily because they can't keep help. So they maintain that a much higher wage will cut down on the constant turnover. So they may indeed save money doing so. They are also counting on good PR to bring in more business now that they are paying better. However if their competitors are forced to pay the same, the advantage is gone.

    Get ready for tablets to replace wait staff. Get ready for retail to put in more aisles that allow customers to check out without a cashier. Robots will replace humans that do all the stocking. Remember when all gas stations had an attendant?

    Btw, if you google minimum wage, fewer Americans today than previously only make that wage. So those jobs are decreasing.

    May 9, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Barry

    Amazing....I actually agree with something Romney said!

    May 9, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. tet1953

    Is Romney still campaigning or what?

    May 9, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. NorCal Curtis

    So many vile comments about a man who supports a minimum wage increase... This is why our government can no longer function, because if somebody from one side agrees with the other side regardless of the issue, the other side still has nothing positive to say. Growing up I remember being taught that if you couldn't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Now it's say every dirty nasty thing you can and if you're every called out on it tell them that your hurtful and ugly words were merely taking out of context.

    So I say good for Mitt taking the correct stand on this issue and I hope more in your party will do the same.

    May 9, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    You know Don in Albuquerque, I like the way you think!!!
    Co-signed WUP!

    May 9, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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