Commentary: “Poor” Little Rich Mitt

Mitt Romney’s remark about the poor speaks volumes to his ability to empathize with the poor and working class.

Posted: 02/02/2012 06:14 PM EST
Mitt Romney

Once again, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney made a seriously insensitive statement that has placed him in a political crossfire. In a recent interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Romney said rather glibly, “I'm not concerned about the poor, they have a safety net there. If it needs repair I’ll fix it.


Immediately upon drawing fire for uttering such a callous remark, Romney and his camp went on the defensive, claiming that his words were taken out of context. Romney said that "sometimes things don't come out exactly the way you'd like them to. That's not exactly what I meant to say. My focus is on middle income Americans. We do have a safety net for the very poor, and I said if there are holes in it I want to correct that."


Unfortunately, the safety net that Romney refers to has been ravaged by deep budgetary cuts that his party has made over the years. So for him to say something like that is tantamount to him saying he’s not worried about a gunshot victim because they have bandages.


But this is not the first time Romney has put his political foot in his mouth. Remember when he told a group of unemployed Florida workers that “I’m also unemployed?” Technically, he wasn’t lying. However, I submit that being unemployed with $200 million is nothing like being unemployed with nothing in the bank and wondering how or if you can support your family from day to day. For Romney to stand before those workers and say that comes off as a half-hearted attempt to connect with voters simply to gain their support and nothing could appear more disingenuous.


Then there was his infamous “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me” remark he made while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. While the Romney camp insists that his comments are perfectly harmless when placed in context of the full speech, it is really interesting that he is also the former CEO of Bain Capital, a company that has come under fire for what his critics have called “vulture capitalism.” According to democracynow.org, under Romney’s leadership Bain Capital was responsible for shutting down a steel plant in Kansas City. This shutdown led to 750 people losing their jobs while Bain pocketed millions of dollars in the process.     


As you can see, my suspicion of Mitt’s sincerity is not based on one slip of the tongue but on the amazing consistency in which Romney makes insensitive statements about the poor and working class. By now it’s clear that Romney cannot relate to the average American who is suffering under an ailing economy and isn’t the right person to run this country.


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