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Ear to the Ground

Mitt Romney Says He Is ‘Not Concerned About the Very Poor’

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Posted on Feb 1, 2012
Still from a CNN video

Taken out of context, it doesn’t come as a total surprise, and that’s the problem for Romney. It’s not the kind of sound bite the trust fund candidate wants on the record.

Here’s what Romney said in full: “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. 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.”

There’s a lot wrong with that statement. Obviously the “very poor” are not doing just fine, unless by “poor” Romney means people who make only six figures. Also, with one-third of Americans either living in poverty or on their way down, that group would have to be included in the 90/95 percent Romney claims to be focused on.

Rival campaigns will surely distort Romney’s words, cutting the governor off at “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” and that will resonate with voters because Romney is a wealthy man who wants to give his friends at the club a tax break. But even in context, the statement betrays how little Romney understands about the economy and the people who are suffering under present conditions. Either that or he’s lying. As inconsistent as the candidate can be, it’s just as easy to believe he’s simply out of touch.  —PZS

Hat tip to Political Wire.

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By Lilith, February 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

@doublestandards/glasshouses - Bingo! You have put it in a nutshell. THANK YOU! (sent from the trenches of poverty)

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By Lilith, February 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

@Surfboy, thank you for taking the time and obvious effort and care to respond. I greatly appreciate it. A rare thing in commenting.

I hear all that you are saying, and am impressed with your career. But I would like to point out that because you worked in the legal system your opinion and conclusions are based on a distorted view of the target population. The environment you worked in exposed you to a high concentration of the smallest percentage of the poor and disabled. It is like going into a dog fighting arena and declaring that there is a prevalence of viciousness in the entire dog population of the world. In other words, you have a skewed view of the whole population. The vast majority of the poor and disabled population do not need your kind of services, thus you would not meet them, and get to know them.

To say that those at the bottom end know how to “game” the system makes it sound like we are getting away with things we do not deserve and are thus doing better then the facts would seem to say. In truth the majority of those who game the system are not in need, but have learned how to take advantage of a system that is there for those who are in need. This includes low income people and the rich, such as doctors and clinics that over bill Medical and Medi-Care for millions of dollars meant for those who really need it. Those are the real gamers.

As to those who won’t or can’t help themselves, most are I bet most likely the results of the very poverty they grew up in. Nothing is that cut and dry, either or, it is complex and as deep and long as a lifetime because that is how long it takes to get to that point, a lifetime.

Now, to compare Romney to Schindler is a gross misrepresentation of both people. It elevates Romney to heights he has never been nor seen, and cheapens and trivializes not only what Schindler did, but what he risked in doing so. There is no comparison. 

What I want to say to you, and those of you of like mind,is to say that making a blanket statement as you did about the poor (which includes the poor disabled) is both a gross misrepresentation and completely unfair to the vast majority of us who are not gaming the system but simply trying to survive it. Most people I see gaming the system are those who do not need the system, they just found it easier to exploit it. “They” are not the poor and disabled, just “posers” making life much more difficult for those of us who are truly in need. To make those posers our representatives is both unfair and harmful.

Thank you again for responding. I hope to find your response here soon.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, February 2, 2012 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s the big deal?  Even Bernie Sanders is careful not to mention the poor anymore.  Sanders talks about the middle class so often the term begins to sound like a mantra with him.  Politicians accross the spectrum speak about the middle class only.  Reagan’s push to “get the poor off our backs” worked.  The poor don’t exist.

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By John Poole, February 2, 2012 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Surfboy:  Romney may have a “savior” complex and the presidency position is a
fitting and perhaps deserved destiny in his mind. As I stated earlier in this post,
he may feel society’s failures can’t be truly helped but only managed. Romney’s
savior said the same thing to his disciples.  “The poor you shall always have with

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By Lilith, February 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

@Surfboy - “It’s as though he knows how those BOTH at the top and bottom of the economy can game the system.”

What can I say living here below the poverty level because I was born with debilitating genetic disorders, yes that is plural. So does my daughter (born long before our very rare disorders were diagnoses), who has been on SSI since she was 15.

Those disabled in childhood or very early in life (like me) live on SSI, which forces 100% of us to live well below the poverty level, even with food stamps. Hence why you see so many disabled people living and begging on the streets these days.

We are still being cut back more and more to balance state and federal budgets with the straight faces of government people saying that it is not only necessary, but that “we” should be willing to tighten our belts “just like every one else”, and then turn their backs on us without any shame for what they have just said and done. I am not being rhetorical here, I have witnessed it for myself.

So, Surfboy, for there to truly be change people like you have got to stop buying the GOP bullshit about “the poor”. This is an old technique of war and nation building: Set your two most viable adversaries against each other and they will not only cripple each other, but also be to distracted to see what the real culprits are up to as they take over. The British did this all the time when nation building oh so and not so long ago, so did Hitler and the Nazis, the US in the western expansion, and so on and so forth.

Let’s see, now I must go off and figure out how long my food money will last this month .... will it be as fare as the 15th of the month this time, or not. If I go to the food bank (and they can fit my limited and life threatening food issues and needs) by law I can only get a total of $20 in food aid from all sources (food banks, friends, and such), or next month I will be required to have my SSI reduced by what ever I get over $20.00 .... Surfboy be thankful next time you grab something to “snack on” next time you open the fridge to assuage your peckishness that you are able-bodied because in a flash that could all change and then, well, then you would most likely, like most people, be standing or sitting in your wheelchair in the food bank line right next to me and my fellow SSIers. I’ll save you a place .....

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By Blueokie, February 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

The plan of both parties for those below the middle class, and remember to them the middle class is six figures, is simple.  I believe its called Soylent Red, White, and Blue.

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By keepyourheaddown, February 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

Could this clown be anymore full of shit?

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By oddsox, February 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Not a good day for Ear To The Ground when they prove Rush Limbaugh correct.

He played the Romney quote this morning, then predicted your headline spin EXACTLY.

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By John Poole, February 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Purportedly the figure (faction?) of Jesus told his disciples to not really fret about
the poor and to focus on Him since he didn’t have much time left. “You’ll always
have the poor gentlemen, but you won’t always have me.” Now, a little more oil on
the scalp please and a good foot rub would help because I’m probably going to be
in a lot of pain soon. Mitt if anointed the savior of the USA doesn’t have the cross
as his final destination but a comfy limo with plenty of SS guys protecting him.

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By mrfreeze, February 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

kerryrose - With respect, let’s stick with Mr. Romney.

1) Mr. Romney is typical of all wealthy elitists who, because they are “successful” in business, believe that they have the “magic dust” to sprinkle on all our problems and…poof….“opportunity with spring eternal (from Ronald Reagan’s morning-in-America asshole).

Americans eat this shit up…..morons that they are.

2) Mr. Romney has that revolting character flaw of so many “suits”: Humans are nothing but functionaries (no better than chairs, tables, underwear….). We are only valuable so long as we are “economically” viable. I’m sure Mr. Romney has “plans” for all of us…....(“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!)

Americans love to be objectified…....

3) Mr. Romney is NOT ONE OF US. A vote for him is a vote against your own best interest in ways you cannot fathom. Just watch him get into office and privatize EVERYTHING.

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By johnnyfarout, February 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Who for one second sees any truthiness in Mr. Bane? We all see the safety net he’s ready to fix the holes where the rain leaks in, spread about all over the Middle East and Afkhablamastan. He’s saying some trickle down surely will work wonders. He’s got that Midas touch…the touch of bane from MisterMormon Goldfinger. He’s telling us of his dream of heartbreak at rainbow’s end. He’s feeling pretty feisty in his magic underwear. He knows there’s gold in the middle class to be reaped by the brave and free like him. He’s not going to find any in the ‘very poor’, or the ‘near poor’, or the rich and fabulous…but in the remaining middle who have some IRA’s to plunder, some union busting will open that up. After all, we are Americans. He’s got it all figured out from the top down as the white horse rears up, stirring the angels from on high, with his white mitts holding fast to the reins.

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By kerryrose, February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

How concerned about the poor is Obama?

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By diamond, February 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

The man’s a joke but not a very funny one.

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By Bobi6, February 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a safety net in place? Where? Clinton destroyed the safety net.
Perhaps Romney is unaware of this which captured huge headlines at the
time. I found out the hard way. I lost ALL my money in 2009. I had some
savings and got food stamps. I am retired so I was eligible for An Old Age
pension which I believe came to $20 total. I did survive and some of my lost
money was recovered mostly due to someone;s generosity but not the
bank’s lawyers who refused to listen and scared us half to death. Old Rom
is certainly out of touch. In fact completely out of touch. Or is he really
stupid? That is a possibility too. Maybe retarded from never having to
struggle even once in his life. Whatever I don’t want him in the White House

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By Haitiana4Obama, February 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many of the families in the Head Start Program I worked at are working poor or very poor. They get cash assistance and food stamps, some have housing and WIC as well with small children. These families often have Care4Kids and visit the food bank during the month. Even with all of these “safety nets” most of them are praying for the 1st of the month by the 20th…tho­se safety nets are about to tear and Republican­s want to cut away at the string their hanging on. Aside from the women with drug-deali­ng baby-daddy­‘s who exploit the system, most of the people using these safety nets need MORE aid which is comprehens­ive and holds them accountabl­e. I don’t think “Mittens” is the right nickname for this out of touch politician­...he’s wearing silk gloves and doesn’t know real labor.

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