Wednesday morning, on the heels of his Florida victory, Mitt Romney said he was “not concerned about the very poor” in an appearance on CNN’s “Starting Point.”
The former Massachusetts governor took on what his priorities would be as a president, saying, “[B]y the way, I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net for the poor. 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 — 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling — and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
Soledad O’Brien called Romney’s response “odd,” and asked him to elaborate on that declaration.
“Well, you had to finish the sentence, Soledad,” Romney replied. “I said I’m not concerned about the very poor that have the safety net but if it has holes in it, I will repair them. The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat[ic] Party ‘the plight of the poor.’ And there is 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. … 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.”
Romney offered the reasons why he wasn’t concerned and gave a list of programs to help “the poor.”
“My focus is on middle-income Americans, retirees living on Social Security, people who cannot find work, folks who have kids getting ready to go to college. These are the people who been most most badly hurt during the Obama years. 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. But the middle-income Americans, they are the folks are really struggling right now and they need someone who can help get this economy going for them.”