Image

10:33 AM / Friday July 1, 2022

5 Feb 2012

Romney: Not focused on poor, they have safety net

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
February 5, 2012 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, confident after his Florida primary victory, ended up inviting criticism Wednesday when he said he’s “not concerned about the very poor” because they have an “ample safety net.”

 

Democrats and Republicans alike — including opponent Newt Gingrich — pounced and the GOP front-runner quickly sought to explain his remarks.

 

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Romney told reporters on his campaign plane when asked about the comments. “No, no, no. You’ve got to take the whole sentence, all right, it’s mostly the same.” He said his remark was consistent with his theme throughout the race, adding: “My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people.”

 

Despite that explanation, Romney’s comments quickly became an immediate distraction from his message that he’s more conservative than Gingrich and from the double-digit thumping the former House speaker sustained in Florida. His campaign worked behind the scenes to provide context for the comment.

 

Gingrich raised Romney’s remark at his first event since losing the Florida primary. He read Romney’s quotes aloud and they were met with boos from the crowd at a brewery in Reno, Nev.

 

“I am fed up with politicians in either party dividing Americans against each other,” Gingrich said. “I am running to be the president of all the American people and I am concerned about all the American people.”

 

As the day began, Romney told CNN from Florida: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

 

“You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus,” he said.

 

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign was quick to criticize.

 

“So much for ‘we’re all in this together,'” tweeted Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

 

Some conservative pundits also labeled it a gaffe and said it was evidence Romney wasn’t prepared to run against Obama.

 

“The issue here is not that Romney is right or wrong, but that he is handing choice sound bites to the Democrats to make him as unlikeable as he made Newt Gingrich,” said Erick Erickson on the conservative RedState blog. And Jonah Goldberg at the conservative National Review Online said of Romney: “Every time he seems to get into his groove and pull away he says things that make people think he doesn’t know how to play the game.”

Image

 

With criticism mounting, Romney flew to Minnesota and addressed a rally before heading to Nevada. He also boasted in flight about his “huge” Florida victory.

 

Gay rights protesters in Minnesota threw glitter at Romney before he took the stage, making him the latest candidate to be “glittered” by activists opposed to his position on gay rights. Romney, who opposes gay marriage, put a positive spin on the sparkle in his hair.

 

“This is confetti! We just won Florida,” he said as he took the stage.

 

Romney, whose central challenge is winning over skeptical conservatives, told reporters on the plane that the fact that he performed strongly among conservatives in Florida made sense because he’s more conservative than Gingrich.

 

“I’m not saying he’s not conservative. I’m just saying he’s not the pure conservative he would have people believe, and I think folks in Florida saw through that,” Romney said. His campaign also started airing a radio ad in Colorado on Wednesday that says “conservatives across America are supporting Mitt Romney.”

 

But Romney immediately was forced to clarify his comments about the poor.

 

Asked whether his words might strike some as odd, Romney said: “We will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor and there’s no question, it’s not good being poor, and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor.” Romney added that he’s more worried about the unemployed, people living on Social Security and those struggling to send their kids to college.

 

“We have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor,” Romney said. “But the middle-income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now.”

 

Romney has broached the subject of the poor repeatedly on the campaign trail but until Wednesday had been more careful in his choice of words.

 

“I worry about the very poor and I want to make sure that our safety net is there,” Romney said in New Hampshire in December, says the middle class are “the people I’m really concerned about right now.”

 

Wednesday wasn’t the first time that Romney, who made millions working in private equity, has been accused of insensitivity on matters of wealth. He once said “I like being able to fire people” when talking about having the ability to choose service providers. He also has declared that he knew what it was like to worry about being “pink-slipped” out of a job.

 

At a Las Vegas rally later Wednesday, Romney criticized the Obama administration’s decision to announce that U.S. and other international forces in Afghanistan plan to end their combat role in 2013 and continue a training and advisory role with Afghan forces through the next year. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta laid out the administration position to reporters while traveling to a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

 

Romney said that announcing a withdrawal date aids America’s enemies. “He announced that so the Taliban hears that, the Pakistanis hear it,” Romney said, referring to Panetta’s comments.

 

Romney went on to criticize Obama. “His naïveté is putting in jeopardy the United States of America and our commitments to freedom,” Romney said. “He is wrong.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Testimony: Trump fought security official for control of the presidential SUV on Jan. 6, demanded to be taken the Capitol as the insurrection began

June 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump rebuffed his own security’s warnings about armed protesters...

Commentary

Guest Commentary
Solutions, not excuses; People are dying every day

June 25, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Above photo: FRIENDS AND MEMBERS OF THE MOTHER BETHEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH...

Education

Community College of Philadelphia to pay off $1.4 million in outstanding student account balances

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Community College of Philadelphia announced that it will pay off more than $1.4...

Color Of Money

Americans still have financial goals, just not sure how they will reach them

June 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT If you have a vision for where you’d like to be financially...

Politics

Takeaways: Trump’s mind ‘made up’ on fraud ahead of Jan. 6

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A video exhibit plays as the House select committee investigating the...

Go With The-Flo

Sherri Shepherd’s talk show, “Sherri,” to air in place of former “The Wendy Williams Show”

June 17, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Sherri Shepherd (Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony After 13...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff