Mike Kueber's Blog

February 2, 2012

Romney’s gaffe

Filed under: Media,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 5:56 pm

The mainstream media is making a big deal about one of Romney’s rare gaffes. 

Yesterday, the headline in the Washington Post read, “With new momentum, the Republican front-runner heads west, but not before saying that he is ‘not concerned about the very poor, because they have a safety net,’ a remark that could provide ammunition to critics.” 

If you read the entire article, you will learn the full story.  During an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Romney said:

  • “I’m not concerned about the very poor, because they have a safety net,” Romney said, citing food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid. He pledged to repair holes in that safety net “if it needs repair.”  “But my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans,” Romney continued. “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.”

All of that makes sense except that Romney should not have used the term, “not concerned.”  He should have said that his main focus was not on the very poor….  Let’s hope that the Washington Post is wrong and that this gaffe is only a brief distraction. 

No such luck. 

The next day, the NY Times included the following headline – “A truncated ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor’ comment was seized on as showing Mitt Romney to be out of touch.”  As with the Post article, the Times article provided the context of Romney’s remarks:

  • Taking in the full context of his remarks, as Mr. Romney urged reporters to do, his statement seems more benign: “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 not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine.” He is most concerned about the middle class, he said. 

CBS News also joined the fray with its lead paragraph – “As the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination moved from Florida to Nevada, frontrunner Mitt Romney tripped over his own tongue.”

Both the Times and CBS News noted that Newt Gingrich was trying to make something of the remarks, saying he was “fed up with politicians of either party dividing Americans against each other.”

Rush Limbaugh probably sums it up best:

  • Everyone knows what he was trying to say, but he didn’t say it. He makes himself a target with this stuff. He comes across at the prototypical rich Republican….  It’s gonna make it harder and harder and harder to go after Obama.”

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