President Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent in the 2012 election who is considering a third bid for the Oval Office, over what he apparently sees as a sudden shift in Romney's rhetoric about economic inequality and poverty.
In remarks delivered Thursday to the House Democratic Caucus in Philadelphia, Obama made reference to a Republican presidential candidate, who he did not name, and their apparent change of heart on poverty.
“We’ve got a former presidential candidate on the other side who suddenly is just deeply concerned about poverty. That’s great. Let’s do something about it,” Obama said.
“One good piece of news is I noticed that that even though their policies haven’t caught up, their rhetoric is starting to sound pretty Democratic. … I welcome that. I consider imitation the highest form of flattery,” he added, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Romney responded to Obama's comments on Twitter, saying: “Mr. Obama, wonder why my concern about poverty? The record number of poor in your term, and your record of failure to remedy.”
Romney recently told donors and former backers that he was giving “serious consideration” to a third presidential run. His 2012 presidential bid faltered, after the Obama campaign succeeded in portraying Romney as an aloof millionaire who was out of touch with ordinary American voters.
Comments Romney made at a dinner for supporters in May 2012, where he suggested that 47 percent of voters “will vote for the president no matter what. … there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims,” were seen as severely hurting his presidential aspirations.
Budding GOP 2016 candidates have increasingly embraced concerns about income inequality in recent weeks, with possible candidates Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz all decrying levels of wealth disparity in the United States in recent weeks, according to Bloomberg.
Romney made poverty a theme in a speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday, in stark contrast to his 2012 campaign in which he had focused on encouraging U.S. entrepreneurs, rather than addressing concerns about economic inequality.