It was a bit of campaign ad gold for Team Obama, as they will take it out of context and deliberately misinterpret the remark. And, of course there are those on the right who will also jump on him as a provider of said gold:
But one of things Romney excels at is feeding lines to the opposition that they can take not only out of context but to the bank. Consider this gem, fresh out of the candidate’s mouth: “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”
Romney made this statement this morning on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien (h/t Mediaite). It sounds fairly brutal and uncaring, but maybe a little context would help remove some of its rough edges: “I’m not concerned about the very poor; we have a safety net there.”
To all that I say this: all of the candidates have provided fodder for the opposition. Remember the Gingrich remarks about children working in schools for a part time job? How about Rick Perry's remark that those who didn't support his initiative to give students here illegally, due to actions of their family, in-state tuition rates had "no heart"? And, of course the gaffes from candidate Barack Obama and the ongoing daily gaffes from Joe Biden. Everything is there for those who look.
Read this little bit of absurdity from a Gingrich adviser:
“Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Newt Gingrich, tells National Review Online that Mitt Romney’s comments to CNN earlier today, that he is ‘not concerned about the very poor,’ are a ‘startling reminder that Romney may not be the next John McCain, but the next John Kerry.’
“‘That comment, like so many others by Romney, is not just odd but out of touch,’ says Conway, a veteran GOP pollster. ‘He does not share a connective tissue with the average American.’”
Really? Now Romney is the "next John Kerry"?
Here, let this video explain the war on the middle class in the Obama years:
We all "care" about the poor, about those who need a hand up. What Romney must do is learn to express the conservative philosophy which is rising all boats, not just one sector of the population. We want the poor to move to the middle class, not just repair or reform the current programs now used as safety nets. Solid economic policies will do that. Throwing money at big government programs over and over again - the Democratic approach - just leads to continued dependency and dashed dreams of the future.
This is the entire statement:
“I said I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them. 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 my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans. 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 can’t find work, folks that have kids that are getting ready to go to college. These are the people 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.”
Perfectly reasonable. The real concern is that Romney will not be able to consistently talk about the Republican alternative policy initiatives to the Democrats' big government solutions. It is what he must work on. The middle class is the sector that continually gets the shaft in the economic world but the lower class folks must have hopes of moving up into the middle class and of economic opportunity.
Republicans care about the poor. We think our political philosophy is more humane and allows everyone the dignity of working towards self-sufficiency. Romney just has to learn to enunciate that better in his answers from liberal media types waiting for an opportunity to make him look like the out of touch rich guy running for president.
Romney has nothing to be sensitive about in his support of those less fortunate then himself. He contributes millions of dollars to charity. Contrast that to the Obamas' tax return? They contributed 1% of their substantial income to charity. Vice President and Mrs. Biden only contributed less than $300 to charity. Neither are considered anything but "wealthy" but everyone's standards.