Sources in the mainstream media were quick to jump on Mitt Romney for saying he doesn’t care about the very poor — without placing the remark in context.
The Republican presidential front-runner was actually saying that he isn’t concerned about the very poor because they are already protected by a safety net.
In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday morning, Romney said: “I’m in this race because 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. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 to 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
O’Brien jumped in, saying: “I think there are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’”
Romney kept his cool. “Well, you had to finish the sentence, Soledad,” he replied. “I said, I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, then I will repair it.”
He added that the middle class “are the people that have been most badly hurt during the Obama years.”
The New York Daily News was one of the sources taking Romney to task for the comment, stating that the candidate “was back to putting his foot in his mouth. The interview was just the latest in a string of tone-deaf comments Romney has made along the campaign trail as he struggles to shed his rich CEO image.”
The San Francisco Chronicle said the remark is “likely to become fodder for his critics.”
The Atlantic observed: “Democrats are squealing in delight that the fabulously rich GOP front-runner has ostensibly admitted, eyes facing a live camera, that he doesn't care about the poor.”
But it did point out: “The line is tailor-made to be taken out of context, but if you read closely, Romney is absolutely not saying he has no regard for the very poor. He's saying he believes that the safety net we have is sufficient to protect them.”
Romney addressed his controversial comment later on Wednesday, Politico reported, telling reporters on his campaign plane that his statement was taken out of context.
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