Mitt Romney: 'I'm not concerned about the very poor’
Give him his due for saying it out loud what we all knew anyway. Questions about Romney's skills as a politician though will continue to be asked after this unforced error. And of course few people will also believe his tongue wasn't firmly in his cheek when he said he's not concerned about the very rich. Why else would he try to become President?
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.”
Doubtless we'll hear the similar empty platitudes from the other side, albeit more deftly. The poor really are of marginal interest to both parties. One side takes them for granted while the other side doesn't even acknowledge their existence.