Mitt Romney Is ‘Not Concerned About The Very Poor’

Mitt Romney - No Apology - photo by The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

In an interview this morning with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Mitt Romney said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it … I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Poor people aren’t struggling?

After that statement O’Brien pushed back, asking for clarification to which Romney said, “We will hear from the Democrat party … the plight of the poor …. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus …. The middle-income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now.”

First, I have to call out the incorrect use of “Democrat” and “Party”. It’s the “Democratic Party”. Get it right or sound like an idiot, those are your choices.

Second, the defense of these statements – that you will certainly hear from at least some on the Right – is that Mitt Romney didn’t mean it the way it sounded. I don’t disagree with that defense but when you are one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in history and have wealth that is double the peak combined wealth of the 8 most recent presidents you might want to choose your words more carefully. His -apparent- opinion that the poor aren’t struggling as much as the middle class plays to the conservative narrative of a welfare state and people living off of government assistance. It’s the kind of narrative that has Fox News ‘informing’ it’s viewers the average person in poverty has a refrigerator and a microwave – so how bad can it be?

Romney’s statements today are unlikely to derail his campaign, but hopefully it will plant the seed of doubt in at least a few of his supporters.

UPDATE: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 – 4:21pm

Romney has responded to the reporting on his “very poor” remarks from earlier today. He reiterated that his focus is on the middle class saying, “No no no no no no no no … You’ve got to take the whole sentence, all right? As opposed to saying, and then change it just a little bit, because then it sounds very different.” Romney continued, “I’ve said throughout the campaign my focus, my concern, my energy is gonna be devoted to helping middle-income people, all right? … 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.”

It appears Romney thinks it’s ok to say he’s “not concerned about the very poor” as long as it is followed by saying he is focusing on the struggling middle class. How about focusing on all who are struggling? He says he’s “concerned” about all Americans but then says middle-income families will be the focus. And of course it’s Obama’s fault, that sentiment is a given no matter which GOP candidate we are talking about.

dks

photo by The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia via Flickr

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Election 2012PoliticsThe Isotoner Chronicles

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