Mitt Romney said I'm not concerned about the very poor Tuesday morning while discussing his win of the 2012 Florida GOP primary and the future of his campaign.
Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and current front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in the wake of his win of the Florida primary, took to the morning shows Tuesday morning.
While being interviewed by Soledad O'Brien on CNN, Romney twice expressed a sentiment that could play badly for him as he tries to escape the narrative that he is a rich businessman who doesn't understand Americans.
I'm in this race 'cause I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about 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, he told O'Brien Tuesday morning. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling, and I'll continue to take that message across the nation.
The Soledad asked about the very poor portion of his comment, saying it may sound odd to many Americans. In response, he repeated the quip about being not concerned about them, but expanded on his remarks:
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, he said. 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 my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans.
Romney, who was recently stung by the revelation that he pays a tax rate (13.9 percent) that is far lower than the average American working family, then tried to turn that conversation into a critique of President Barack Obama:
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, Romney said. These are the people who have been most badly hurt during the Obama years We have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it need 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 ones who are really struggling right now, and they need someon who can get this economy going for them.
Watch a video of Romney's appearance on CNN during which he made the controversial remark about very poor Americans below: