Mitt Romney says he cares about Americans, but not the very poor

In a stunning demonstration of his lack of empathy, tact and political savvy, Mitt Romney confirmed all of the accusations that he is privileged and out of touch with most Americans and specifically insensitive to the hardships so many Americans are currently experiencing.

I particularly love the way he suggests that the very poor are not “Americans.” And of course the great irony, as Think Progress points out, is that Romney wants to cut the very programs– which are already insufficient– he claims take care of the poor.

I’m in the race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned with 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. [..]

HOST: You just said said, ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.’ But I think there are a lot of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, that sounds odd. [...]

ROMNEY: The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor. 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 campaign is focused is 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.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • Heather

    Oh, my brain. It just exploded. Alllll over the place.

  • nazza

    What he means is that he cares more about the votes of the Middle Class. I suppose they’ve done internal polling and poor people aren’t really breaking for Romney.

  • Cate

    It’s not really that surprising, though, is it? Mitt Romney probably has no concept of what it is to be truly poor in the US, to live at or near the poverty level, and to have to jump through hoops just to have access to the safety net you rely on for survival.

    In addition to having no clue about what it’s like to be poor, I’m sure that he doesn’t think that poor people vote, and that sympathy for poor people is not a popular sentiment in the Republican party. It doesn’t make it any better for him to make comments like this, but I’m not surprised by them one bit.

    • Margo

      Yes, I don’t know why each time something like this happens it surprises me anymore. I just can’t believe its only February… what other horribly offensive things could they possibly say or do??

    • Kiki Rose

      I absolutely agree that it’s just not surprising anymore, and that is sad. I’m sure plenty of people would love to have this ‘safety net’ that is apparently so easy to access.

      I also want to know what the ‘heart of America’ is and why he thinks that poor people are not a problem of the ‘heart of America’.

  • Robert

    This sounds horrible but it’s actually a smart move by Romney to get votes. While many Americans are struggling to get by, most Americans are not in the “very poor”. He is trying to appeal to the majority of voters. The “very rich” probably back him anyways so of course he doesn’t worry about them. Unlike Gingrich who says offensive stuff without thinking about it, Romney is actually a little clever. I’m surprised democrats don’t tear down Romney more because he stands a much higher chance of beating Obama than Gingrich who I can’t see getting swing voters to like him.

  • Amy Hanna

    Romney will most assuredly NOT have my focus at all, whatsoever.
    No “hocus pocus” here!

    • Robert

      You are voting democrat anyway so Romney isn’t worried about your specific vote, just like conservatives are voting republican anyway. The majority of voters are swing voters that’s why all of our presidents aren’t 100% republican or 100% democrat. My point is Romney is trying to appeal to the swing voters which are mostly in between the “very poor” and “very rich” and don’t label themselves liberals or conservatives. Obama may have better economic plans but it comes down to who appeals to the masses come vote time.

      I remember when it was Gore vs Bush and thought for sure Gore would get elected after the great economic years under Clinton. His mistake IMHO was being too far left that enough swing voters went for Bush and turned a sure victory into a close race (close enough to steal possibly?). Anyways, I’m a swing voter and there’s no way I would vote for Gingrich or most other republican candidates but would consider Romney if he is the nominee. I’m not religious so his religion doesn’t matter to me and that is supposedly what the democrats plan on attacking him on.

  • toongrrl

    What he thinks the poor aren’t Americans?????????????????? He reminds me of Ratigan more and more