Elections 2012: ‘I am Not Concerned About the Very Poor,’ Says Mitt Romney

The former Massachusetts governor, confident after his Florida primary victory, said he is in his race for the White House in order to help the middle class.

"We have programs to help the poor, but the middle-income Americans, they're the ones who are really struggling right now," Romney said. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it,” the candidate told CNN in an interview the next day after the victory in Florida, where he rolled to an impressive triumph, capturing 46 percent of the vote to Newt Gingrich’s 32 percent after pounding his nearest rival with negative advertisements, says the National Post.

“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. I’ll continue to take that message across the nation,” he added.

Soledad O’Brien who was interviewing the candidate, urged him to comment on the claims, adding that they may sound odd for Americans who are very poor. “Well you had to finish the sentence, Soledad,” Romney replied.

“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.’ 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.”

“We have a very ample safety net,” added the former governor. “And we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it.”

He continued: “But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.”

Programs in the “safety net” are quite unstable in the period of the economic recession. Medicaid faces cuts because states are trying to balance budgets at a time when more people are using the program.

According to the Huff Post, Romney’s policies are aimed to cutting federal spending and reconfiguring the social safety net.

He suggests transforming Medicaid into a block grant program and undertaking a “fundamental restructuring of government programs and services.”

He also calls for capping spending at 20 percent of GDP and adds that he “will pursue further cuts” as spending comes “under control.”

Today reporters asked Romney about his comments Wednesday on a plane to Minneapolis. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he replied. “No, no, no. You’ve got to take the whole sentence, alright, it’s mostly the same.”

He repeated his comments considering the safety net, and added that “if there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that.”

“President Obama has destroyed the middle class. His policies have given us a stagnant economy, high unemployment, declining wages, increase in poverty, and record amounts of new debt,” said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul Wednesday.

He continued: “President Obama is so detached from what is happening in the real world that he finds it hard to believe an unemployed engineer can’t find a job.”

“President Obama calls the plight of the unemployed ‘interesting.’ Mitt Romney calls it ‘inexcusable.’ We look forward debating President Obama on how his policies have failed the middle class.”

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