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Romney On CNN: `I’m Not Concerned About The Very Poor’

As he was making the rounds of the morning talk shows, Mitt Romney made a statement that already has the political punditocracy lighting up:

In an interview with CNN Wednesday morning that should have been a Florida victory lap, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made a fumble that could give rivals an attack ad sound bite.

Asked about his economic plan, Romney said repeatedly that he was not concerned with very poor Americans, but was focused instead on helping the middle class.

Romney explained that he was confident that food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid and other assistance would keep the poor afloat — he pledged to fix holes in that safety net “if it needs repair.” He repeated past statements that his main focus is the middle class because those people, in his opinion, have been hardest hit by the recession (President Obama also has focused many of his efforts on the middle class).

But Romney’s awkward phrasing could give fuel to critics who argue that he does not empathize with the poorest Americans.

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “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 the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Host Soledad O’Brien pointed out that the very poor are probably struggling too.

“The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor,” Romney responded, after repeating that he would fix any holes in the safety net. “And there’s no question it’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor . . . My focus is on middle income Americans … 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.”

Just two weeks ago, Romney appeared to have shifted on the social safety net, saying in South Carolina, “I’m concerned about the poor in this country.” But on Wednesday, he took a different tack.

In any political campaign, he said, “you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich–that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor–that’s not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans.”

Here’s the video:

ROMNEY: You know, just let people get to know you better. The nice thing about what happened here in Florida is I got a chance to go across the state, meet with people. They heard what I am concerned about. They understand how I will be able to make things better. I think people want someone who not just throws an incendiary bomb from time to time but someone who actually knows how it takes to improve their life, get home values rising again, to get jobs again in this country, and to make sure when soldiers come home they have a job waiting for them. And make sure people who are retired don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen at the end of the week. This is a time people are worried. They’re frightened. They want someone who they have confidence in. And I believe I will be able to instill that confidence in the American people. And, by the way, I’m in this race because I care about Americans. 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 the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation. 

O’BRIEN: All right. So I know I said last question, but I’ve got to ask you. You just said I’m not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net. And I think there are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say that sounds odd. Can you explain that?

ROMNEY: Well, you had to finish the sentence, Soledad. I said I’m not concerned about the very poor that have the safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them.

O’BRIEN: Got it. OK.

ROMNEY: The – the challenge right now – we will hear from the Democrat Party the plight of the poor, and – and there’s no question, it’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But my campaign is focused on middle income Americans. My campaign – you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich. That’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor. That’s not my focus. My focus is on middle income Americans, retirees living on Social Security, people who cannot find work, folks who have kids that are getting ready to go to college. That – these are the people who’ve been most badly hurt during the Obama years. 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. But the middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now, and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.

O’BRIEN: All right. Mitt Romney, congratulations to you on your big victory last night. Thanks for talking with us. appreciate it.

Taken in context, I don’t think what Romney said is all that shocking or necessarily something he needs to apologize for. After all, as Jonah Goldberg notes, it’s essentially the same theme that Bill Clinton ran on in 1992, and focusing on the middle class is  time honored tradition in American politics. His essential point, as I take it at least, is that the safety net for the poor is working and the rich can take care of themselves, but nobody has been looking out for the middle class, who have borne the brunt of the recession that, at least as far as the average American is concerned, isn’t necessarily over. I’m not a Romney fan, but this is hardly something I feel compelled to bash him over. Nonetheless, the way that Romney said it is easy to caricature, and it plays into the overall theme of Romney’s wealth, this tax rate, and all those other issues that are sure to come up during the campaign. At the same time, I’ll admit that the whole theme could be a problem for Romney:

Out of context, the “I’m not concerned about the very poor” line feeds directly into Democrat efforts to portray Romney as an uncaring tool of the wealthy elite. You will see it in campaign commercials before the general election is over.

In context, Romney’s reasoning feeds directly into the left’s Occupy Wall Street narrative. Instead of saying that Romney cares about all Americans, Romney is essentially saying he only cares about 90 percent of Americans. The rich are doing fine and the poor are hopeless. He’ll only give his attention to those in the middle. This is just as divisive as the left’s “We are the 99%” rhetoric.

Of course, the context doesn’t really matter. As Ed Morrissey notes, the truncated version of Romney quote is what will be inserted into campaign commercials and SuperPAC ads, played endlessly by MSNBC hosts like Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow, and lampooned on The Daily Show. Many will point to it as as classic example of a “Kinsey gaffe,”  which is when a politician gets caught inadvertently telling the truth. That may or may not be true, it really doesn’t matter. For people disinclined to support Romney, it will be more evidence to support their position. For those who are inclined to support him, it will be much ado about nothing. As for the vast American middle, I’ve got to wonder if it will really mean anything, because I’m not sure it really speaks to what will clearly be the central issue of 2012, jobs and the economy.

Jim Geraghty argues that Romney could defend what he said this morning if he wanted to:

He could point out that decades of the welfare state have shown us the limits of government efforts to lift up the “very poor.” He could echo Rick Santorum’s points that the most effective way to end poverty is to ensure the poor work, graduate high school, and get married before they have children. He could point out that the Great Recession has impacted middle-income Americans most severely because they had the most to lose; life under the poverty line in 2006 is not terribly different from under the poverty line in 2012. (How many “very poor” face foreclosure? How many “very poor” have lost their retirement savings? How many “very poor” have seen their small businesses fail?) He could point out that Obama has particularly failed to create opportunities for upward mobility, and that endlessly extending unemployment benefits and expanding the eligibility for food stamps is a band-aid solution at best, and only increases dependency on government assistance. He could point out that the entire philosophy of the welfare state tends to focus government efforts and resources on the poorest, most troubled, and most needing of help, and often neglects the concerns and needs of those who work hard and play by the rules.

But is there any reason to think Romney will say any of this?

Even if he did, would it matter? The sound bite will already be there and it’s hard to respond in the manner Geraghty suggests in a campaign ad. Perhaps if this comes up during a debate or during subsequent interviews, Romney can respond in this manner and he wouldn’t be wrong if he did. However, the gaffe is out there and it will do whatever damage it ends up doing.

This isn’t the most important story of the day, much less a story that is likely to play a major role in the General Election campaign. Nonetheless, it was an unforced error on Romney’s part on a morning he should be reveling in the glow of a well won victory. He’s going to need to learn to avoid those in the future.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Well, he’ll get it from both sides. Attacks on that safety net have been a staple of the populist right. Will they let this pass?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    On the other hand, an undertone of contempt and disinterest about the poor could help the Romney campaign reach middle-income voters. Assuring the middle-class that they aren’t poor, that they aren’t struggling and don’t deserve to struggle like those people are is also a time-honored strategy.

    This is going to be a miserable election. Whatever jobs/economy message either Obama or Romney offers will hardly be believed by any sane voter. The GOP hopes that voters will simply vote against Obama. The Democrats hope that voters will vote against the absolute disconnect of the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  3. Jay Dubbs says:

    Of course to Romney we are all the “very poor.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  4. MBunge says:

    The actual revealing thing, that is if you can trust Romney believes anything he says, is his description of America as being “90, 95 percent” middle class. That might be just some bit of blather a consultant told him to repeat, but there are a hell of a lot more poor people in the country than that. That’s what makes Romney’s comment a classic Kinsey gaffe, because it might reveal what an incredibly skewed and sheltered view the man has of the nation he wants to lead.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  5. Jr says:

    Mitt Romney is a gift to Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  6. Moosebreath says:

    “His essential point, as I take it at least, is that the safety net for the poor is working and the rich can take care of themselves, but nobody has been looking out for the middle class, who have borne the brunt of the recession that, at least as far as the average American is concerned, isn’t necessarily over.”

    This point would be a lot more convincing were it not for Republican efforts to gut that very safety net, including the Ryan plan for Medicare, which Romney endorsed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  7. legion says:

    it’s essentially the same theme that Bill Clinton ran on in 1992,

    Yes, but (as Moosebreath points out) Clinton wasn’t running on a platform specifically promising to _slash_ that safety net while simultaneously shoving a greater percentage of Americans into income brackets _needing_ that same net.

    Anyone who makes less than $250k/year and still votes Republican is slitting their own throats.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  8. DRS says:

    For Republicans, “poor = on welfare”. You can be working poor quite easily in this country, if you keep sliding down the economic ladder from semi-skilled job to non-skilled job to service sector job, from full-time to part-time or seasonal work, to needing three jobs for a husband and wife to feed their family.

    I really hate the dismissive tone to his comments, as if he’s got a check-list or something the consultants gave him and he’s got to hit all the points in under 15 seconds. You just know that he doesn’t realize that these are American lives under discussion. His lack of empathy is almost machine-like now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    This is going to join I like to fire people, corporations are people, I’m unemployed, et al in the Romney lexicon. In of itself you can dismiss it or attempt rationalise it as Doug does with another of his cognitive stretches about Clinton but it all goes to reinforce a particular narrative which Doug recognises is not good news for Romney. To the extent that the election is going to be about jobs (although I think this aspect is typically exaggerated by rightwing shills like Geraghty) I’m not sure Romney has a particularly stellar record in this respect and really given that we were losing 750,000 jobs a month when the Republicans left office and are now gaining them at 150-200,000 a month do they have a particularly strong case in this respect?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  10. pylon says:

    Under the Romney Rules for political ads, cutting off the quote to just the offensive part is fair game. Right?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  11. deathcar2000 says:

    oh well, in any case we can always eat the poor, i hear they taste like really cheap chicken by-products… like chicken nuggets. Or as Mitt calls them, Soylent Poor.

    Mmmmmm the nuggets are made of people, poor people!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    `I’m Not Concerned About The Very Poor’

    Scrap Medicare/Medicaid – Vote Romney…..?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. legion says:

    @DRS:

    For Republicans, “poor = on welfare”.

    More to the point, for Republicans, poor = morally degenerate. Just look at Cain’s line on how people without jobs are “just lazy”. Remember how much applause that got from the punditocracy? As long as they can equate “being rich” with “being morally righteous”, they can pass judgement on all the lower classes & justify any kind of inhuman treatment as “deserved”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. The safety net for the poor is not working.

    Having said that, I’m not shocked that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the poor, and I’m not surprised that Romney’s declaration does not strike you as shockingly callous (well, maybe not shockingly — who could be shocked at Romney’s callousness?).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  15. Rob in CT says:

    As has been pointed out, you don’t really get to say the poor are fine b/c of the safety net whilst proposing significant cuts to that safety net.

    The actual GOP argument – reflected in all the plans, including Romney’s – is that the safety net is too generous and must be cut [while maintaining or increasing military expenditure and cutting taxes at the top].

    Anyway, you can see what he’s trying to do: appeal to the vast majority of voters (casting them as those deserving more help, as opposed to the very rich and very poor).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  16. deathcar2000 says:

    Mitt pulled himself up by his boot-straps. Self made man Mitt only started with a few million in his pocket and a dream and look at him now. Who would have thought a millionaire senator’s son, a son mind you who’s father ran for President would some day compete for the title himself. These rags to riches stories are only possible in the Greatest Country in the World.

    Dont give me any static about the poor, if Mitt can make from such humble beginings so can they.

    God bless the rich , they worked soo hard for it and deserve it more.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  17. Rob in CT says:

    Let’s be honest here: a significant chunk of this country also doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the very poor. Or does, because they think the poor are living large on their money.

    That’s who Mitt is talking to. Are there enough of ‘em to make him President? I don’t know. I hope not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  18. Socrates says:

    pylon NAILED IT.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I’m not sure this is entirely true given the precariousness of much of the middleclass and it’s dependence on unemployment pay, Medicare and Medicaid and other forms of social safety net.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. An Interested Party says:

    Once again, we see that the GOP has found its version of Mondale/Dukakis/Kerry…this election has 2004 Part II written all over it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  21. Rob in CT says:

    Doug,

    I really do understand the desire to look at this, in context, and say “hey, that’s perfectly defensible.”

    And it is, if you limit the context to the interview. If you include in the context the 2009 panic and resulting unemployment, the GOP’s positions since then, and Romney’s policy proposals, it’s not so easy to defend. The “if it’s got holes, I’ll repair them” line just isn’t believable, in context.

    I’d have believed his father, I think (that’s based on very limited knowledge), and the party to which he belonged. I do not believe Mitt, and the party to which he belongs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  22. Rob in CT says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    What’s not true? That a large portion of the country doesn’t care about the “very poor” ?

    Come on. They might care about the safety net programs THEY might use, but those people? You know, the ones who are poor because they’re bad? Nah.

    I’m not saying everybody thinks like that. I’m saying that many do. I know lots of them. And they vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  23. Hey Norm says:

    He didn’t stumble. He does not care about the poor. His tax plan raises their taxes…and he has signed onto the Ryan plan which dismantles Medicare and Medicaid. In addition he has pledged to cut discretionary spending by 20%. Think about that. 20%. Who do you think that 20% is going to impact most? It was a rare moment of honesty from Mr. Romneygecko.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  24. anjin-san says:

    @ Rob in CT

    I think you are on the right track. Playing to a nervous middle class – coded messages about lazy poor people who don’t want to work, welfare queens driving Cadillacs. It’s all stuff we have been hearing from the GOP pretty much forever.

    Basically, you have a very wealthy man telling the peons they had better be ready to fight for crumbs, and if they support him, he may show them favor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  25. Rob in CT says:

    To give you a perfect example of what I mean by middle class* types wanting their bennies but hating on the poor for theirs…

    Social security. Ponzi scheme, right? Put in by that awful man, FDR.

    From the time I was little, my parents have derided SS as a ponzi scheme, unsustainable, I won’t see a dime from it in my old age, etc. However, when they discovered that I, as a teenager, qualified for some SS benefits (due to my father being a senior citizen, thus making me a “minor in the care of a senior”), what did they do? They took the money, of course (and gave it to me, and ultimately it paid a chunk of my college tuition). Which, in and of itself, is fine (the rules are what they are, and they neither made ‘em nor broke ‘em).

    The mentality is grab what you can. The government is screwing your every day, see. If you have a chance to get some back, TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT. And then resume whining about how put upon you are. Which is precisely what they did, without skipping a beat.

    Which, in turn, is my objection. The proper response is to say hey if the system is running short of money, I know of one way to save some w/o harming those who need it most: do some means testing. If you need to save more money, ok, but first do that. And hey, maybe I won’t cry about how much I pay in taxes for a little while.

    Nah, much better to rant about Jimmy Carter again (he caused the crash of ’08, you see, along with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Barney Frank).

    That concludes our trip through the mindset of the GOP voters I know best.

    * – loosely defined.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  26. JohnMcC says:

    A “fact” that I did not check but sounds reasonable — 51 million Americans live in the precarious place between the official poverty line and 1.5 x the poverty line. The vast majority of these are working people. And the repubs have been telling us daily that govenment employees are the successors to the “welfare queens” of recent memory which makes putting teachers and firefighters into that 1.5 x poverty line part of their platform.

    Why would anyone want to make more than that anyway?! It is 1.5 x $22,350.00 for a family of four. Think what a great life you’d have if you made $33,500. And you’d have the wonderful safety net to support your family if anyone should get sick or you lose your job. Hey, relax and enjoy living in the greatest country the world has ever known!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.

    I smell bacon.

    Also:

    I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine.

    He isn’t? Then why does he want to cut their taxes even more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Okay you have iffy parents. I think this is what is called anecdotal evidence. On the other hand we have 80% of seniors where SS is more than 50% of their income and 50% of seniors where SS is 100% of their income. Are all these people feckless black indigents? I don’t think so. The simple fact is that the vast mass of the American middle class exist on the edge of penury even if they have a couple of expensive cars in the driveway. They have very few savings, little saved for retirement and live largely from paycheck to paycheck and are enormously vulnerable to any major setback losing a job or major illnesses. There’s an edge of fear in US society despite all the glitter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  29. Davebo says:

    the vast mass of the American middle class exist on the edge of penury

    OK, I call foul on the use of the word penury. Not that it’s not relevant, just that it’s obscure.

    The rest of your comment I support totally!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  30. Steve Verdon says:

    OMG this man can never be President…if he is elected why it will be fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  31. Rob in CT says:

    No, Steve.

    This man shouldn’t be President. If he is, the Republic will survive. It will be moved in the wrong direction is all.

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I know it’s an anecdote! I could give you others. Even then, not data, I know. Still, this is not uncommon, and these are the people Romney (and the GOP in general) is talking to.

    Like I said, I don’t know if there are enough of them to win him the general election, but there are quite a few of them.

    Regarding fear: sure, but that fear can be directed at the poor instead of the 1% pretty easily. The RW has been doing it for a while, and they’re good at it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. Hey Norm says:

    @ Legion…

    “…Anyone who makes less than $250k/year and still votes Republican is slitting their own throats…”

    And thus it has always been.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. anjin-san says:

    OMG this man can never be President…if he is elected why it will be fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    I think if you want to locate the hysteria you might want to try looking in the mirror.

    The Democrats I know don’t like Romney. They think he is a phony who’s motives are power and family glory. They think he truly does not have a clue about the lives of 99% of the people in this country. They think he basically stands for nothing beyond self advancement. They think he belongs to a political party that is radical and out of touch with reality.

    They also think he is intelligent and competent. They see his election as President as putting a poor leader in power at a time when we desperately need good leadership. They do remember how the last Republican followed a Democrat who gave us a good run of what was essentially peace and prosperity, and then led us to the brink of disaster. So yes, a little caution is called for before we put a President in power who belongs to the party of Bush, Palin, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, and Perry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve Verdon:

    OMG this man can never be President…if he is elected why it will be fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    Like what we have been going thru the last 3 years???? Steve, really, read yourself. You have no idea how ridiculous you sound.. I mean, when you talk about “fire and brimstone”, surely you are not talking about Dems?????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. blablabla says:

    of course, Romney is never concerned about the very poor . That is why we don’t vote for him. He can only get his votes from the 1%

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  36. @JohnMcC:

    Here’s another worrying fact:

    Most workers have saved just $25,000 for retirement

    If the Republicans succeed in cutting Social Security and Medicare for workers not quite “near” retirement, the result will be a cohort hitting age 60 with essentially nothing.

    I’d guess that at that point European systems would start to look pretty good to voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. blablabla says:

    We already know who Romney is. Someone who supports the rich and abandon the poor. Being poor is not a crime, Romney. A lot of people do not have the same opportunities as you, Romney. Be honest with yourself!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. blablabla says:

    In the US, we have so many charity organizations. Will Romney give a few dollars to Red Cross or some African American charity organizations? Please say yes …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  39. @blablabla:

    Romney is a big giver. That was in the news recently. It’s one of his better traits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  40. Rob in CT says:

    JP is right on this: Romney gives a lot of money to charity. Granted, more than half (in 2010-2011) went to his Church and I admit I’m a little dubious as to how much of that was spent on helping poor people, but that can be true of any charity (lots of them eat up too much in “overhead”). 15.5% of his 2010-2011 income went to charity ($7.1MM/$45MM). One could certainly argue that with his vast accumulated wealth he could give more, but one cannot credibly accuse him of not giving “a few dollars.”

    The problem with Romney is entirely about policy (and not really knowing where he stands on that, too, which leads to a lot of Conservatives not trusting him and a lot of liberal-leaning moderates projecting the mantle of an old-style New England Republican onto him), not about how he acts in his private life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steve Verdon:

    OMG this man can never be President…if he is elected why it will be fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    Oh boy, more reductio ad absurdum. Why do the cognitively impaired so often seek refuge in this and similar tired fallacies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. Terrye says:

    @john personna:He did not in any way attack the safety net..in fact he said he would strengthen it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Terrye says:

    @Modulo Myself: I did not hear any contempt…at least he did not lie to the poor and lead them to believe he would pay their gas bills and provide them with an endless supply of free stuff…like Obama did when he pandered his way into office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Terrye says:

    @DRS: He was not being dismissive..he was simply stating that the government helps poor people who need it..and btw there are plenty of working poor who get food stamps and help with everything from rent to schooling to child care…he did not say that poor people do not work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Terrye says:

    Mitt Romney gives 16% of his income to non political charities..and Obama..that man of the people gives about 1%..of his own money..LIke most liberals he is very charitable with other people’s money and stingy with his own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  46. corie says:

    i agree with him a little, the very poor have all this aid that, some middle class american could use but aren’t eligible for. i am having a baby and was looking into cash assistance for my maternity leave and aren’t eligible because i have a job (mind you i don’t get paid if i dont work that time) so i guess i have to haul ass until the baby comes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. john personna says:

    @Terrye:

    Really? What’s the GOP position on Food Stamps?

    (Does Romney risk being a “Food Stamp President?”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. David M says:

    @Terrye: You are wrong on the Obama’s charitable giving. In 2010 it was 14% + the nobel prize money.

    Romney may say he supports the safety net, but his policies do not. He supports the Ryan play to destroy Medicare as well as cuts to discretionary spending and massive tax cuts to the very wealthy. He’s obviously not telling the truth here, anyone can see it.

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  49. Rob in CT says:

    @Terrye:

    Hah, going off Fox I see (I know it’s from Fox, since I looked it up while debating this issue in the Romney Tax thread).

    The 1% figure was in 2000-2004, back when the Obamas were both far less wealthy and had much lower income (~$300k/yr as opposed to millions now). Their charitable giving increased to ~5% by 2005-2006. I didn’t find data for 2007-2009 (it’s probably out there but I didn’t care to spend more time on it than I already had). By 2011, they were up to 14%. 2010 was a bit odd, because of the Nobel money. He didn’t accept the money and then donate it. If you include the Nobel money, the Obamas gave away 25% of their 2010 income. If you ignore it, they gave away 6%. All while paying federal tax rates around 30%, btw (double Romney’s rate).

    Funny, accumulating a huge pile of wealth (such that you are basically immune to life’s potential pitfalls) can result in giving more.

    If I was sitting on a quarter of a billion dollars, and had income of ~$22MM a year, while paying a 14% federal tax rate, I think I could also manage to donate 15.5% of it like Mitt (total take-home = 70.5% of gross).

    Unlike Mitt Romney, I don’t have that pile of money (nor that income) and so, even though my household’s income is very nice, I’m not giving away 15% of it. I pay a higher federal tax rate than he does, and I have to save up for retirement, my daughter’s college education, and the proverbial rainy day.

    In 2000-2004, that was basically the same situation the Obamas faced – they were upper middle class moving into upper class, but they weren’t yet so wealthy as to be immune to anything life could throw their way. They are now, I suspect, or close to it. So, now they give more.

    Romney’s policy proposals are all about slashing spending (while cutting taxes at the top). Result: cuts to the safety net. That’s not strengthening it.

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  50. Rob in CT says:

    Crap. I meant no data for 2007 & 2008. 2009 was the “odd” year with the Nobel money. 2010 is the most recent. Obviously, 2011 hasn’t been filed yet.

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  51. An Interested Party says:

    …at least he did not lie to the poor…

    On the contrary, Romney lies to everyone…probably himself included…

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  52. rodney dill says:

    @pylon: First the liberals whined that Romney was a liar when he only used the “Obama called American’s lazy” part of the quote. Then the liberals had fits when it was pointed out to them that both sides did this. Now that the liberals are ‘lying’ by only using part of a quote, and they’re saying but you guys did it too.

    So I agree with you. Turn about is fair play.

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