Mitt Romney made my job harder this morning. In an interview with CNN, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”
That must be taken out of context, right? There’s no way Romney would say something so cold. A candidate so calculating would understand that the largest barrier to his election is the perception of him as a super-rich elitist who can’t connect with everyday Americans. After the $10,000 bet and casual mention of $300,000 in annual speaking fees he must see that the worst thing he could do would be to demonstrate yet again how utterly out-of-touch he is with the mainstream.
After winning the Florida primary, GOP presidential nominee hopeful Mitt Romney explains to CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien that he is focused on a particular portion of the American population in his campaign.
Romney says, “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…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.” O’Brien asked him to clarify his remarks saying, “There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’” Romney continues, “We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor…. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus…. 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.
Mittens—listen up. You claim to be a man of faith. You donate a lot of money to your church. I think you even gave a poor lady like $50 at a rope line. Caring for a group some might call “the least of these” ought to come naturally to you. Since it doesn’t, in the name of not making my work harder, do me a solid and try the following: Don’t say, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Instead try, “I’m very concerned about the poor.” Don’t say, “We have a safety net there.” Instead argue, “History has proven that the key to prosperity is free enterprise. I want to unleash the entrepreneurial talent of the poor, the middle class and everyone else by enacting policies that incentivize innovation and reward hard work.” Don’t say, “You can focus on the poor, that’s not my focus.” Do say, “It’s time Republicans took back the mantle of concern for the poor. We are the party that ended slavery. We are the party that enacted welfare reform that turned millions of Americans from takers to makers.” Just some free advice from a young Republican trying to convince a generation not to resent conservative ideas.