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. Steve

    He said what? OK. Good for him.

    May 9, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. gs

    No way. A Republican that gets raising the minimum wage is GOOD for the economy like it was in Australia? Cool!

    May 9, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Has he changed his mind yet?.....It's been a couple of hours....

    May 9, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. steve

    I'm not really against it, it will be great for teenagers etc. But to the person supporting a family isnt the 3 dollars an hour going to get swallowed up when the companies who are adding to their payroll up the prices of their goods.

    May 9, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Luberal R Lazlows wrote:

    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?
    [A higher cost-of-living means a stronger economy. A lower cost-of-living means deflation, which is bad.}

    Why extend unemployment benefits when the employment rate is up?
    [Actually, that is exactly why you extend them, and precisely when we've always done it in the past/]

    Why do we have the highest food stamp participation rate if the economy is so good?
    [Because people can work full time, and still not earn a living wage. If Walmart paid fairly, we'd lose a million people.]

    Feast on the lies! Vote Democrat 2014!
    [We can thank George W Bush and the Tea Party for waking America up to the right wing's propaganda machine.]

    May 9, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. tallnthensome

    Romney says they are the party of better jobs and pay? Are you kidding me? No to raising minimum wage, no to prevailing wages, no on the bills for equal pay for women, no to unions, no to pensions. We all must have missed exactly all the good things for us that the GOP is for.

    May 9, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    I second that!

    Snettim Yenmor / Taerg Etihw Epoh 2012

    May 9, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Daniel

    Lies. He'll change his mind next week. Although, for now, he is making some sense.

    May 9, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Lily

    What Romney has said doesn't make any sense at all. If he is serious and really mean that the minimum wage should be raised, he doesn't need to go to any Morning Shows and talk there. He needs to pick up the phone and talk directly to his fellow republicans. Convince them, and make sure that they are convinced. What is talking now has ended to the deep water or in the air and doesn't make any sense.

    May 9, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. grumpy0ldman

    If you had sounded like this when you were running, instead of catering to the extreme right wing, I might not have voted against you.

    May 9, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Som

    If you want people to work or stay away from gov's hand out you need to raise wage atleast $15.00 per hr.

    May 9, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. TiredOfPaying

    Sometimes, Mitt Doesn't Happen. Thankfully.

    May 9, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. HalfEvilD

    "frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay"...Since when?

    May 9, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Susan wrote:

    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.
    I guess that you haven't visited a Home Depot lately. They haven't had any human cashiers in years. Except for big ticket items, everything is self-checkout on POS {point of sale} stations that are essentially tablet computers.

    May 9, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Nicole Chardenet

    It's about time a Republican took an intelligent stand on the minimum wage. Hard to justify not raising it for everyone when corporate C-suiters are taking home insanely huge comp & bonuses every year, often at companies that are struggling to stay afloat. We should encourage Republicans when one of their own does the right thing – maybe he'll do it again some day. Or maybe it'll catch on eventually in the GOP.

    May 9, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Huh?

    How does raising the minimum wage result in more jobs? Big mistake if they increase it.

    May 9, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. RSJ

    NorCal – you are so right...we live in a country so intensely divided along political party lines that there is no common ground at all. Once someone identifies themselves with one party, anyone from the opposite party automatically discounts everything they say and refuses to even listen to the other side just because of a political party label. Its time members of both political parties "divorced" themselves enough from their sick addiction to a party label and LISTEN to other points of view so we can come to some kind of consensus in this country and maybe actually get something done for once! Actually the best thing that could happen to this country is for once, we wake up the morning after an election and the country has overwhelmingly voted out party loyalists and voted in true independents with no particular ties to a party – THEN the "party robots" in Washington would wake up and realize we are sick of both parties – send them ALL packing!

    May 9, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Joe

    This dude know business inside and out. We should listen to him.

    May 9, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Peace

    Thanks god Romney was not picked as President. This man always blows according to what direction the wind goes to. He has heard Santorum talking about raising minimum wage. Is he now jumping onto it!!! Way to go Mitt!

    May 9, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. citizenUSA

    Nerts to all of you who didn't vote for Romney.

    May 9, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Claire

    Looks like he is flip/flopping again.

    May 9, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. cf

    "our party is all about more jobs and better pay"

    You wouldn't know it from their words or actions. Demonizing the poor, taking away workers' rights, siding with corporations over people, zero jobs bills since taking over congress even though that's what they all campaigned on. When even Mitt Romney is considered "too Liberal" for the Tea-Party hijacked Republican Party, you know they have a problem.

    Kudos to Romney for supporting a minimum wage increase that would help the working poor in this country. But let's not forget this is also the man who called those same working poor "the 47%" and accused them of just wanting handouts and demonized them for not paying more of their bare-bones wages in taxes.

    And then there's the whole "corporations are people, my friend."

    May 9, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. newshound

    I think he would have led this country in a balanced manner. Unlike Obama, who "fundamentally wants to change America".

    May 9, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    ""I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay,..."
    Headline should have read, "Mitt Romney takes up stand-up comedy as third career."

    May 9, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. S. B. Stein

    I can't believe he said that. Maybe he realizes that people need to eat and the current minmum wage doesn't cut it for a family. I wonder what sparked the change?

    May 9, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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