Mitt really shouldn’t talk about things. He tends to do poorly.
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “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 the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
Host Soledad O’Brien pointed out that the very poor are probably struggling too.
“The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor,” Romney responded, after repeating that he would fix any holes in the safety net. “And there’s no question it’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor . . . My focus is on middle income Americans … 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.”
This is a major, major gaffe. It’s one thing to make the standard-issue Republican argument that the poor have it super-easy because, hey, food stamps. It’s quite something else to say that you “don’t care” about the poor, and that their well-being is something for the Democrats to worry about.
This reminds me of Mitt’s “quiet rooms” gaffe after New Hampshire. He doesn’t have enough empathy to understand how his words will be heard by the non-über rich, and he doesn’t have enough smarts to learn to fake it.
Mitt is still the toughest potential GOP candidate for Obama, and still the most likely nominee. But his inability to think on his feet is going to cause him no shortage of embarrassment. And if I don’t hear “I’m not concerned about the very poor” on an infinite loop from May to November, everyone in Obama’s campaign deserves to be fired.